Wheels in motion to bring bikes back

Wheels in motion to bring bikes back

Renewed attempts are being made to bring motocross action and the Mount Gambier Junior Motorcycle Club back to the annual Millicent Show each November.

Staged over Friday and Saturday, the competition has been a highlight of each Millicent Show for almost 30 years and attracted hundreds of competitors from as far away as Warrnambool.

However, insurance-related issues grounded the motorbikes in 2022 and 2023.

Millicent Show Society Brett Keatley expressed an upbeat view about the possible return of competition to Millicent in 2024 when it held its annual general meeting at the showgrounds on Monday night.

According to Mr Keatley, further conversations were needed with the Mount Gambier Junior Motorcycle Club throughout the coming year.

“Their insurance cover does not meet the specifications,” Mr Keatley said.

“We may need to modify the motocross track in Millicent and some track improvements may be necessary.

“Some grants may be available to do this work.

“It could mean that a change of formats will be necessary such as not racing under lights.”

Show Society treasurer Sally Fennell said the lack of motorbike action in 2023 did not have a huge impact on gate takings as they were only slightly down on 2022.

In presenting his first presidential report, Mr Keatley said there were many positives from the last 12 months with many contributions to the bottom line coming from the fortnightly markets and the RV camping facility.

Mr Keatley said the bottom line was adversely affected by significant outlays for insurance, water leakage and power infrastructure.

“The 2023 Milicent Show went well; I appreciated the efforts of many volunteers and the community enjoyed it,” he said.

Regarding improvements, a roof is to be erected above the outdoor stage while power boxes across the grounds need to be replaced.

In a departure from tradition, the annual balance sheet of the Millicent Show Society was marked “confidential” and Mr Keatley asked the 23 other members present to honour this request.

An SE Voice reporter and Millicent Show Society member queried this change of policy.

Ms Fennell said the regulations which covered the financial reporting obligations of such not-for-profit groups only required them to submit a profit-and-loss statement to the authorities.

Ms Fennell said a profit of $13,500 was achieved due to increases to RV use, fortnightly markets and greater income from trade stalls.

She said the main increases in costs were due to insurance premiums and water usage.

The meeting expressed its regret at the deaths in the past year of Ada Gurney, Valmai Clark and Edwin Lea who had all been strong supporters of the Millicent Show.

Ms Gurney was also a patron and a number of other locals are to be sounded out on the possibility of accepting this honorary role.

Wattle Range Mayor Des Noll assumed the chair for the election of officers.

He thanked the committee and volunteers for putting on a worthwhile show in 2023 and said it was a credit to all.

“The lack of motorbikes has not impacted substantially on the Millicent Show,” Mayor Noll said.

All officers were filled and went unchallenged with one exception.

Life member and past president Jim Garner was successfully challenged for the position of junior vice president by Brock Keatley.

The secret ballot was decided by a margin of 13 votes to nine.

The incoming junior vice president is the 22-year-old son of Brett Keatley.

His mother Tina is the assistant secretary/treasurer while his sister Grace Keatley was the Millicent Show Society secretary not long ago and also convened the Animal Nursery.

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