Riders and dignitaries headed down to the 2019 BMX National Championships to take place in the official opening of the Greater Shepparton Regional BMX Track today.
The nation’s best riders were the first to try out the $635,000 redevelopment which includes the first Victorian eight metre starting hill, all new track lighting and the newly named Leigh Egan First Corner.
In July 2018 Shepparton’s Leigh Egan was the second person ever to be inducted into the Australian BMX Hall of Fame. Known as ‘the master’ on the track, Leigh was the first Australian to win an Open Men’s World Title in 1984 as well as winning dual World Titles in the same year.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Kim O’Keeffe said this was a perfect moment to celebrate a local sporting star.
“Shepparton has a rich history of sporting achievements which we are very proud of, Leigh Egan has done wonders for the sport of BMX, building a culture in our region as well as representing Australia in major events,” Cr O’Keeffe said.
“The timing of his Hall of Fame induction and the Shepparton BMX Track upgrades was the perfect opportunity to honour his great sporting career.
“We hope many local and visiting riders get to experience the improved track and are able to test their skills and achieve new accomplishments.”
BMX Hall of Fame Inductee Leigh Egan said it was a great attribute to add to his career.
“It is an honour to have a role in shaping the way the sport of BMX is seen and played in the local community today. I have been fortunate to have the opportunities to participate in a sport I love on a number of professional levels,” Mr Egan said.
“It’s impressive observing the support the club has today and the new track will do wonders for children growing up in the sport and also the town, being able to attract elite athletes to travel to the club.”
Shepparton BMX Club President Cameron May said he was excited for what the future holds for the club.
“The works to the track mean a great deal for our club, our riders are now able to train on a state-of-the-art track all year around, improve their skills and be able to compete against the top qualifying athletes in the sport,” Mr May said.
“It’s also an incredible feature to have for our region and gives us opportunities to host elite events such as the nationals now and the BMX Supercross World Cup next year. All our members are grateful for the work which has been made to our club’s facilities.”
Council would like to thank the Victorian Government for their contributions to the upgrades, the local contractors who were employed on the project, as well as the Shepparton BMX Club for their significant financial and volunteer hour contributions.
The weeklong event has seen an impressive 1,547 entries and more than 3,000 athletes and their support teams make their way to Shepparton for the 2019 BMX National Championship.
The event has a significant positive impact on our local community, with around 75 per cent of visitors travelling from outside of Victoria, many of our hospitality and accommodation services have been booked to cater for our BMX visitors this week, with an average length of stay in town expected to be seven nights. It is estimated more than $3.8 million will be injected into our local businesses, helping support local jobs and helping keep our economy strong.
Council has been working with BMX Australia to coordinate activities for the riders and their families to enjoy our thriving region, such as Tuesday’s rider Meet and Greet opportunity which saw elite riders, Leanna Curtis, Brandon Te Hiko, Olympic athlete Luke Madill and local rising star Hayden Fletcher appear in the Maude Street Mall for photos and a Q&A session.
Another great addition to the national event is the partnership of Council, the Shepparton Motor Museum and the Australian BMX Museum to host an exhibition featuring BMX world class memorabilia which further encouraged visiting families to experience the many great attractions our region has to offer.
Locals were given the opportunity to participate in BMX excitement as well, creating unique Art Bike pieces to be displayed within the Central Business District, which will be moved to the Motor Museum exhibition at the completion of the national competition.
“Having the opportunity to host the 2019 BMX Australia Bad Boy National Championships has been another great opportunity to showcase our world class facilities which makes Shepparton a leading event and sporting city,” Cr O’Keeffe said.
“Our local BMX club and their riders deserve applause for their support and professional representation of Shepparton. We wish all the riders the best of luck during the remaining competition and welcome them back for the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup to be held in Shepparton in January 2020.”