ShockWave Key to Quality at Award Winning Hamilton Park Racecourse ..

Track quality was a primary reason for Hamilton Park Racecourse Grounds Teams’ award-winning 2023, and their use of the Imants ShockWave from Campey Turf Care Systems played a key role.

Head Groundsman Mark Bemrose and his team of Darius Spis, Fraser Holmes and Raymond McClaren won the Racecourse Association (RCA) Flat Racecourse Grounds Team of the Year 2023 for their exceptional work and high-quality presentation of Hamilton Park.

In South Lanarkshire, rain is always a challenge, and getting the most from drainage is crucial. For Mark, a combination of the linear aeration from the ShockWave and spiked aeration produces a better routing system and aids drainage, helping to produce a high-quality surface.

After initially hiring a machine, Mark decided in April 2024 that it was time to purchase his own, and the benefits quickly showed themselves.

“For me, it’s trying to fit the maintenance plan into the fixtures,” Mark explains. “The winter we’ve just had has been the wettest on record, and it highlighted the importance of being able to get out with machines when the opportunity is there.

“From hiring the ShockWave, we knew what a great job it could do, but having our own gives us a better chance to treat specific areas and use it on the whole track when the opening is there.

“Recently, we had a really bad patch that was consistently wet, so I went across angles over the existing drainage to open up the linear drains underneath and what a difference it made. Within three days, you wouldn’t have known there was an issue at all.

“There is no visible surface disruption, and with us having a longer sward at three and a half inches, the lines disappear very, very quickly. That’s important when we’re busy and have regular races because there is no risk of us causing any instability, and by using the ShockWave after races, we can decompact the hoof prints.

“With our own ShockWave, when we’ve got time during the racing calendar, we’ll get on and do the whole racing surface, which is four and a half hectares. It takes three days to do the whole track, which is a long time, but it is worth it with the results we get.”

Hamilton Park hosts 19 fixtures a year from May until the end of September, and, going into June, there will typically be a race every week. Between racing and the weather, Mark is only afforded little room to manoeuvre, making reliability and back-up service important.

Through Campey Product Specialist Richard Heywood and Scottish dealer Double A, Mark has a back-up system he knows he can depend on.

“Back up to me is a main priority because if we break down, we need somebody out straight away,” Mark said. “This machine is very operator-friendly and easy to maintain, and when you use it, you’re not getting jumped about, so you know the machine isn’t either.

“The whole process with Richard and Double A has been seamless from ordering the machine to the installation, so I’m confident anything we might need will be dealt with quickly, and that’s really important for me.”

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