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arbour City BMX Club have their eyes set on hosting national level BMX competition in the coming years, and at their arsenal will be a newly minted track, thanks to $350,000 of government investment

Harbour City BMX Club have their eyes set on hosting national level BMX competition in the coming years, and at their arsenal will be a newly minted track, thanks to $350,000 of government investment in the local sporting club.

In April, the club based in Gladstone, Queensland was one of the Aussie BMX club’s ravaged by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the damage occurring just a handful of months after the track had undergone upgrades that consumed almost 300 man hours.

In the short time that followed the club sprang into action and had Mayor Matt Burnett and member of Gladstone Glenn Butcher MP on site to survey the damage. The visit would prove pivotal in the future direction of the club, with Track Director Sheldon Cosford revealing the details of what is in store for their 131-strong membership.

“Led by club President Bruce Crow, we applied for two grants and the one we have received is a part of a program to stimulate work within the area. We had been encouraged to apply for that one so we could also assist local contractors,” Cosford said.

“The funds mean that we can have a new start hill, new gate, improved lighting, we can fully seal the berms and lengthen the track so that everything complies with a national standard.

“We will be able to use the hill behind the track, and with the natural elevation the first two straights will run slightly down hill, and the length of the last two straights will give us a full-sized track.

“It’s going to be a better training facility, it will help our members be more competitive and we hope it attracts new riders to our club!”

The finances bestowed upon Harbour City are considered a ‘not for profit club upgrade’, and is one of four of this kind among the nine projects awarded under the Queensland State Government’s ‘Work for Queensland Projects’. It means that the club will not only be benefitting their members, but also the local economy at the same time.

“The way this grant works is that it is contracted to the club, not the council, so we can pick our own constructors and utilise the local community,” Cosford continued.

“When we make upgrades to the track to bring it up to a national standard, we are also going to put in measures to make it flood proof as well. There will be proper drainage that diverts the flow of water around the track and prevents it from crossing the track. Having sealed berms will also help with this.

“During the construction period, we are sure that we can keep the track open for training to a certain extent so we can continue to do things like run gates. The whole construction should only take 12-14 weeks if the weather is kind to us.”

While the club will lead the charge when it comes to construction, they have enlisted the help of well-known track designer Brett Barnes to help with the design of their new facility.

Barnes was the architect behind the track built for 2008 Olympian Luke Madill in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics, and has also constructed other venues including Sawtell BMX Club, Pine Rivers BMX Club and Satellite City BMX Club – a newly named host for the 2018 BMXA National Series.

The hope is that Barnes’ depth of knowledge and time spent developing top-level tracks will open up opportunities on the national scale for Harbour City.

“We’ll meet with Brett in early October, and then from there we’ll start looking for contractors,” Cosford affirmed.

“As a minimum, we would like to try and attempt to host a national series round in the future, and host that every year or second year.

“Our local government have their eye on bringing bigger events to Gladstone, and the National Series will go everywhere in 2018, so why not us too in the future?”

Other not for profit upgrades were awarded to the Western Suburbs Swimming Club ($220,000), Gladstone Kart Club ($200,000) and the largest sum to the Marley Brown Oval Multi Purpose Facility ($987,000).