200 riders - no track
By ALISON HOUSTON
AT a time when Australians are making a huge name for themselves on the world motorcycling stage, Murwillumbah District Motorcycle Club has been left homeless.
Club president Sam Hurley says the club, which has operated out of the Murwillumbah Showgrounds for about eight years, has been told its lease will not be renewed.
That leaves the club's 200 members, aged from four to 54, with nowhere within three hours to race.
"The closest riding park is at Gatton, at Black Duck Valley," Hurley said.
The loss has hit particularly hard because there has been such a groundswell of interest in motorbikes due to the success of Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen in %MotoGP, and even more so Chad Reed, Michael Byrne, Brett Metcalfe and Andrew McFarlane in the Supercross series in the US.
"It has definitely given the kids a lot of motivation," Hurley said.
"There are that many kids that have dirt bikes, but there's nothing in this area now to cater for them or the big kids either."
The problem is some other showground users claim the club has not fulfilled all its obligations this year.
That includes keeping within agreed boundaries, not increasing the size of jumps, and carrying out repairs of the area within 48 hours of events, for use by equestrian and polocrosse groups. However Hurley, who has been a club member for about 15 years, says the club has done nothing different this year to past years, except bringing in some dirt to %rebuild the jumps, repair ruts and fix up the track. He is convinced the demands of Speed on Tweed have played a part in the decision not to renew the club's lease.
However he said the club was grateful to the Showground Trust - which attempts to balance multiple use of the grounds to benefit the whole community - for giving it a home over past years.
The club is now appealing to any land owner who might have a suitable tract of land which it could use for races and a few practice meetings each year.
"We don't need a lot of space - probably an acre or so - but it does need to be on a fairly big piece of land so there is a buffer zone and we don't disturb any neighbours," Hurley said.
Ideally, the club would like to establish a permanent site where it could hold more than five fixtures a year, and where the kids could practice regularly.
For that, of course, it needs council support as well. And with council currently fighting youth problems in the streets of Murwillumbah, this could be a great way to help keep kids occupied and out of trouble. Call Hurley on (07) 5523 2266.