COVID-19 stalls 2020 junior motorcycle club season

Richard Humphries Dsc 1191 TBW Newsgroup
CHALLENGING TIMES: Mount Gambier Junior Motorcycle Club president Richard Humphries is hopeful of finding his riders a new home despite the continued challenges such as the recent suspension of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Picture: THOMAS MILES

DESPITE being forced to delay the start of its 2020 season due to COVID-19, the Mount Gambier Junior Motorcycle Club has moved a step closer to its painful search for a permanent facility.

It has been almost two years since the club last raced at the iconic McNamara Park and a new home remains elusive.

But after seven years of trying, president Richard Humphries believes the committee may have found a potential area of around 40 acres.

“It is promising,” he said.

“We have been out there as a committee and it is very suitable for what we need.

“It is in a natural valley and there are many trees around to keep the noise down.

“We have been chasing it for about two or three months, so we are just waiting to hear back from the council to say if we can pursue it or not.”

However, there is still a long way to go, with no guarantees at this stage.

Another piece of positive news for the embattled club was a significant rise in expected participants.

Although the 2020 season will not begin at its scheduled date later this month, the club anticipated to have close to double the amount of riders than last year.

Humphries said the field had already risen above previous expectations after aligning the club with the Australian Motorcyclist Association.

“With our new AMA field, we were hoping to get over 100 riders at least,” he said.

“At this stage we could get anywhere between 100 to 150 riders, which is close to double than last season when we were getting around 70 or 80.

“But until we run an event, we cannot really say.”

Despite the recent positive steps and motorsport remaining a popular hobby in the region, the club continues to find regular obstacles.

Humphries said the committee has still struggled to lock down a venue and seeks support from the wider community.

“We are speaking to people, but we are just not getting any answers,” he said.

“Every time we find somewhere that we think could work for us, we just get another hurdle.”

What made the process even more difficult was the announcement to cancel the start of the new season for an indefinite period.

The first event of 2020 was scheduled to be held on April 19, but racing will not begin until the threat of coronavirus has evaporated.

Humphries said it was a tough call to suspend a year which promised so much.

“From a committee point of view it is a bit devastating,” he said.

“We have put in a lot of hard work already this year to be organised with AMA and now we are unsure if we are going to get a season in.”

Humphries understands the motocross circus does have its drawbacks, but has called out for anyone who is interested in leasing some land in the region, which will be a welcome boost for kids all over the Limestone Coast.

“We know we are not going to please everyone, but we only run eight to 10 meetings a year on Sunday afternoons, so we are not making noise everyday of the week or late at night,” he said.

“We just need a break.

“It is not just helping Mount Gambier, but also surrounding areas like Millicent, Penola and South West Victoria – they are all looking for somewhere to ride.

“It is not a cheap sport, but we are trying to make it affordable as we can to get more riders to enjoy what we love doing.”

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