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Ellis Thomas Downs & A.O. Shirley Ground damaged by floods

- Assessment of Ellis Thomas Downs to be made today, August 11, 2017
Both Ellis Thomas Downs (left) and A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground (right) have been hard hit by the recent flash flood to hit the Territory. Photo: VINO
The entrance to the A.O. Shirley Ground from the Botanic Gas Station has been reduced to a swamp. Photo: VINO
The entrance to the A.O. Shirley Ground from the Botanic Gas Station has been reduced to a swamp. Photo: VINO
The track surface of Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay. Photo: VINO
The track surface of Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay. Photo: VINO
The ghut which became blocked and caused the water to divert to the track at Ellis Thomas Downs. Photo: VINO
The ghut which became blocked and caused the water to divert to the track at Ellis Thomas Downs. Photo: VINO
A photo of an inundated Mundo track on August 8, 2017 was circulated on social media. Photo: Provided
A photo of an inundated Mundo track on August 8, 2017 was circulated on social media. Photo: Provided
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Call it Force Majeure, an act of God, or Mother Nature’s Revenge, but the flash floods that brought misery to so many also laid claim to sporting arenas without fear or favour.

Whilst many were impressed with the hi-tec facility at the new football field in East End/Long Look, which remained unscathed due to superior drainage, the A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground and Ellis Thomas Downs have been left in a state of complete carnage and facing possibly long-term damage.

Ellis Thomas Downs was of course at the forefront of the news as the rains caused the cancellation of the August Festival Race Card on August 8, 2017, but still nothing compared to the loss of houses, businesses and other property faced by so many.

None could have foreseen the amount of rain that deluged the Territory and Sea Cows Bay was as badly hit as parts of Purcell Estate and Road Town itself as the ghut, which had been coping admirably, finally blocked up with branches and boulders, causing the water to find a new path across the track by the Winners Circle and beyond.

The concourse flooded, the fences broke, the track got saturated with debris and in a flash became a swamp.

Assessment of horse track today, Aug 11

The damage itself will be assessed today Friday August 11, 2017 by officials, but as the waters drained away the only discernible long-lasting damage is to the inside fence and support structure as well a need to clean the sand, add new and then ensure everything is raked and remaining stones removed to ensure the safety of the horses.

The inside fence base supports will also need attention as by their design they retained the sand and the water for as long as possible before giving into the force of Mother Nature.

Mondo track now a dirt track!

The A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground also got its fair share of damage, with the entrance way across from the Gas Station completely washed away and large portions of the Mondo track, “Big Blue”, now resembling a dirt track.

A power wash and all should be good, but the erosion caused by drying silt could further damage the longevity of the Mondo track.

It is the hope that the track will be back in best shape for the new athletic season and the highly anticipated Twilight Invitational, which is scheduled to make a return next year.

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