MARTIN Collins, the inventor of Polytrack, recently paid a visit to Port Elizabeth to carry out a routine inspection of the newly laid Polytrack at Fairview and expressed his satisfaction with the surface.
Collins and colleague Peter Morrison carried out a thorough inspection of both the synthetic track and the “Gallopmaster” machines used to prepare and maintain the surface.
He was totally satisfied and explained that the extra kickback being experienced recently was due to the exceptionally hot weather, which resulted in the temperature of the track soaring to as high as 48 degrees Celsius on some days in January.
The finish to a race on the Polytrack at Fairview.
These extreme temperatures cause the wax coating of the surface to lose its viscosity and this in turn generates more kickback than normal.
Collins said that watering the track on extremely hot days was the only way to reduce the temperature and thus maintain the viscosity of the wax.
Following his visit, Phumelela has sourced a water tanker to enable the track to be watered when necessary. In addition, the pop-up sprinkler system at Arlington will be redeployed at Fairview for use on the Polytrack. This will take some time and the water tanker will be relied upon in the interim.
Several jockeys who have ridden on similar surfaces overseas agree that more kickback on hot days is normal with synthetic tracks.
Related article: Mike de Kock urges Polytrack maintenance.