THE FUTURE of Ringwood Raceway is “in the hands of the gods” as hundreds of people express sadness and anger at the news it is set to close for good.

Raceway director Craig Robinson has described the community’s response to the popular motorsport facility’s upcoming closure as both “overwhelming” and “unsurprising” while still holding out hope it can continue.

As reported, the established car racing track off Matchams Lane is set to host its last ever event on the weekend of Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7 amid major plans to turn the site into a retirement village.

Following a large response on social media, Mr Robinson told the Echo: “It has been overwhelming but also unsurprising because we know how many people have supported Raceway over the years.

Salisbury Journal: Ringwood RacewayRingwood Raceway

“At the end of the day, the many families we’ve welcomed will have loads of memories of the site and it’s those memories we hope will get people to support us.

“The planning application is still open, so people do have the chance to have their say.

“But we have been served notice and it seems we’ve come to the end of the road. For our racing family and the community we’ve fostered, it is now in the hands of the gods. I’d like to say if [the application was rejected] we’d talk with the landowners and perhaps continue on, but we can’t control that right now.”

One issue raised by Mr Robinson and others on social media was where the local fans and racers would go if the site were to be replaced.

Salisbury Journal: How the views above Ringwood Raceway could change. Pictures: Inspired VillagesHow the views above Ringwood Raceway could change. Pictures: Inspired Villages

At a public consultation over the plans in October last year, spectator Jay said: “A lot of our riders have mental health struggles and driving is their escape route, it's their release and their way of socialising with like-minded people.”

These thoughts were seconded by Mr Robinson, who added: “Racing is in our blood, as a kid I grew up with it and that is the same for many others.

“For racegoers, the nearest track is around 80 miles away. Lots of people have invested time, effort and money into their machinery and now, realistically, they'll have nowhere to go.”

If approved by Dorset Council, the proposal would see up to 330 age-restricted apartments and cottages, plus communal and care facilities, built at the site.