Dedication, teamwork and an unwavering love for BMX is what brought this club back.
COVER PIC: The Tamworth City BMX Club members posing at their club. (Pic courtesy of the Tamworth City BMX Club Facebook Page)
The Tamworth City BMX Club was once a major club back in the North West Slopes region of NSW. With a membership count of over 100 and the responsibility of hosting state series competitions, the club was a high flyer.
Yet for some unknown and unforeseen reason, membership numbers began to dwindle and the club itself became dormant. By 2016, the thriving BMX club was a mere shell of its former self.
Emma Cooper was a Queensland BMX mum, who made the trip across the border into NSW in 2016. Settling in Tamworth, Cooper reassured her son that they would be on a BMX track as soon as possible.
“My little boy loved his BMX racing and when we first came to Tamworth, he was very upset to be leaving his Queensland friends. I told him don’t worry, there is a club in Tamworth and everything will be fine,” Cooper said.
“We turned up and at first we thought that it was the old track.
“It was an absolute mess. There was waist high grass all around it, the berms were weathered, and the gate wasn’t working.”
The club was situated on council land, but unfortunately due to the lack of membership, no one was maintaining it. It appeared the Cooper clan would have to look elsewhere.
“There wasn’t any racing in Tamworth, so we had to go somewhere else and the closest club was the Maitland Tenambit BMX Club… three and a half hours away,” Cooper said.
Cooper knew that Maitland wasn’t a permanent solution for her family and reached out to the dedicated families in the Tamworth area who believed the disintegrated club wasn’t extinct.
There were three main families in 2016 who have stood by their club since its decline and wanted to return it to its former glory.
“With my husband joining me, we had Brett and Dan Morris, Paul and Jack Davis and the Whalan’s who have been absolute mainstays,” Cooper said.
“In the summer of 2016, my five-year old would ride Tuesday’s and Thursday’s but unfortunately the gate didn’t work. So, one of the parents brought a portable start gate and we would go one at a time.”
The parents every now and then would bring their lawn mowers to the club and work hard on making the track look appealing. Slowly but surely, people would see the riders and make their way over, interested.
To start a BMX club, you need a team of dedicated individuals that share a strong amount of determination to achieve a common goal.
After track inspections, coordination with the local council and the state and national associations, Tamworth City BMX Club officially re-joined the BMXA family in April 2018.
With the board re-established, Cooper was made the club secretary and the team went about its rebuilding phase.
“We have started from complete scratch, with a handful of families quickly becoming very involved with the running of the club,” Cooper said.
“We have finally cleaned up the cobwebs in the canteen and are consistently doing working bee’s especially.”
A problem the club is currently experiencing is the lack of bikes they can provide. Several years ago, the club was broken into and their stock of whips was stolen.
This has caused some distress as the club is attracting more and more BMX souls to the track, including a lot of members from the Indigenous community who have heard about the club through their local newsletter.
“The main source of promoting the club is from word of mouth. We have a lot of people just drop in on the off chance and we have gotten involved with the local cycle community to help promote our cause,” Cooper said.
The Tamworth club is slowly making its ascension and its dedicated members have been doing their part on the track to help put it back on the map.
Throughout the 2018 BAD BOY BMX Australia National Series, Jack Davis (16-boy’s) and Dan Morris (17-24 cruiser men) competed against the rest of the country in top tier racing.
At the conclusion of the series, Morris was second in his class on the overall standings, while Davis was third.
The pair also came away with silver medals at the 2018 NSW State Championships. Joining them were Zac Whalan in the 11 boy’s (fourth) and lifetime club member, Mark Stone, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy.
Take a look at his special story below.
Highlighting their 2018 was the BMXA National Championships in Bunbury where Whalan, Davis, Morris and Stone all finished with a plate. Read the full report from the Northern Daily Leader – HERE.
Soon the club will be in a position to run an event, with volunteers, first aid and accredited coaches becoming a priority for the club. But before that happens, the track needs a make-over.
“The first thing we have to do is get the track fixed,” Cooper said.
“The berms are in shocking conditions and to help increase our membership, we really need to re-bitumen it and produce some snazzy hot fix solutions.”
There has been a lot of support from their distant neighbouring clubs, who are eager to see the club return to its former days and again be able to race in Tamworth.
There is no denying that family is the key theme of the Tamworth City BMX Club and with that in mind, the club is sure to be back on its feet.
“We are a family focused club who are not just about the big riders. We want to focus on everybody from my young boy in the sprockets to our 40+ riders like Stoney,” Cooper said.
“If we can continue to generate momentum and provide a lovely welcoming environment, I see no reason why we can’t be what is was in 2012.”
Take a look at what the club was like back in 2012.
If you want to join this special club don’t hesitate to head down to their track. Details below.