Campey Turf Care Systems has supplied York Racecourse with an Imants Shockwave and Rotoknife as they continue to adopt new methods in a bid to maintain their course in the best condition possible.
Significant drainage works were carried out in 2008 to assist in removing surface water from the racing surface, which is situated on a floodplain, fed by the river Ouse. With the work being completed nine years ago the attention of head groundsman, Adrian Kay, has continued to focus on maintaining and improving the drainage system.
Both machines, which were supplied by Campey dealer CLS Selfdrive, are working in conjunction with a Koro Top Drain that is already being used at a depth of 25cm to trench, removes spoil, injects sand and re-compacts in the same operation. The use of the other two machines gives a greater ability to move surface water, whilst providing greater compaction relief.
Having trialed the machines in September before receiving their own in November, the current process is to learn the full potential of each machine, and use their respective de-compaction and aeration capabilities to maintain the surface and subsurface within the race tracks profile, and to keep them interlinked where possible.
"We know through the technical specification of each machine what they can do, and we're confident that we can put those technical advances into practical use. I'm looking forward to seeing the benefits throughout the course," Adrian explained.
"The main reason behind purchasing the Rotoknife is keeping the surface open and clean. That allows the oxygen to get in, but it also helps prevent thatch build up, and any machine that offers those qualities is something that we're in the market for, and something I felt we needed to look at.
"When it comes to the Shockwave it's more how the linear decompaction works with the new drainage profile that we have incorporated, and keeping that route from the surface down to the subsurface clean and open.
"We are also de-compacting with the Shockwave which has the obvious benefits on the track, it can coexist by assisting with the gaseous exchange and aeration we get with the Rotoknife.
"Over time we will learn how and when to use the de-compaction side of the Shockwave. I've already used it on various areas of the track and the benefits of doing that are there to see."
The introduction of the of the Shockwave and Rotoknife comes as part of a continually evolving process, and is something that Adrian is intent on continuing, as he works to keep the entire 10-hectare site in the best condition possible.
Adrian concludes: "Using all three in combination along with solid tine decompaction means the surface is getting the best chance possible to filter water and air through to the subsurface drainage system. These implements and processes all come together, that will allow us to provide a safe and consistent racing surface throughout the season and in the process reducing the risk of abandonment."