The three-year search for the Mount Gambier Junior Motorcycle Club to find a new home has stalled many times, but the final corner could be approaching soon after a recent breakthrough.
The club is moving at top gear as it prepares to relaunch the 2021 season this weekend at Manga Road, while working around the clock to secure a successful future.
Since it was not possible to continue racing at McNamara Park in 2018, the club has constantly searched for the perfect patch of land to host two-wheel action and it has never been closer than now.
Mount Gambier Junior Motorcycle Club committee member John Conti is leading the hunt for the perfect patch of land and said a development application had been lodged to build two motocross tracks and club rooms on 57.5ha of land down Glenelg River Road located at Caveton.
However, there is still a long way to the finish line with many factors making the introduction of a motocross track far from simple.
“The club has submitted a Development Application in June and put through to the planning SA portal,” he said.
“But there is still quite a way to go and a lot to assess.
“The natural layout of the block really appealed to us and there are not many tracks in Australia with this sort of geomorphology.
“The onus is on us to show the local residents, community and the council we can be responsible citizens in terms of looking after the site and particularly the environment side of things.
“A number of assessments and reports need to be further submitted, but to get to this point is a big step from the really strong committee that has so much passion.”
Without a home, the MGJMC has hosted races at various makeshift paddocks around the region.
But the introduction of a dedicated 1.95km race track, plus a secondary 400-metre children’s circuit and pit area would breathe new life to the sport.
Conti said the high-quality facility planned to be built by professional motocross track construction company Protraxx could attract some of the best riders around Australia to the region and do great things for the sport.
“We are really fortunate to have great relationships with farming families who have let us race on their properties, but you do not get the technical capabilities of motocross racing until you have a dedicated track,” he said.
“It needs specific types of fast and slow corners with burns and technical parts such as whoops.
“Unfortunately, our young riders do not have the same opportunity as others to take them to the next level, so they need a proper track.
“We have had some past multi Australian champions such as Brad and Wade Thompson, who grew up riding at McNamara Park, so we need these sorts of facilities to produce future national champions.
“That is why we have the intention to build a national level motocross track and we could even look at hosting state and national events.
“It could not only bring riders from Australia, but even overseas which would be great for the local area and put us on the world stage.”
Another significant step recently made by the club last week was allowing the community to have its say on the prospect of a new track in the countryside.
The final opinions were handed in last Monday and a lot of talking points were raised, which Conti said the club would address.
“There was a period of public consultation and feedback and we received a pretty high number of public comments,” he said.
“We had around 250 which is pretty huge.
“There’s obviously a lot of support from the local community, but also from people in motorbike clubs far afield.
“There are also further local concerns which we need to need to address in order to move forward on the application.”
With the breathtaking experience of watching and listening to two and four stroke engines fly around a paddock not everyone’s cup of tea, three concerns have been raised by the public – noise, road safety and traffic management and the impacts to the local environment.
Conti said the club had brainstormed strategies to tackle the hurdles.
“We have been speaking about these concerns for some time,” he said.
“We think we can easily mitigate the road safety issues and we have hired some independent contractors to conduct a noise assessment.
“The site is in a natural bowl surrounded by vegetation which could mitigate some of the noise levels.
“An independent consultant will also come down for an environmental assessment.
“We have some strategies such as offset re-vegetation on the site and creating new environments for wildlife offset areas which could also be a multi usable space for the wider community.”
A more immediate focus for the club will be the fifth round of its 2021 Limestone Coast Motorcycles and Small Engines Grass Track Series.
After almost two months off, the bikes will hit the dirt again this Sunday at Manga Road from 8am.
The action will not stop for the 100-plus riders with another race scheduled for the following weekend.