A BMX rider at the Sunbury BMX Club.

BMX club is riding high

Sunbury’s BMX club is being transformed with a new electronic starting gate for riders, sections of its track are being upgraded, and floodlights are on their way to give the venue longer opening hours during winter.

Club treasurer Paul Bryant says work is being funded with money raised by club members, and a community grant being run by state and local government in conjunction with a construction firm.

“We made an application for a grant last year and were told this year we were to receive $150,000,” says Bryant.

He says $60,000 is being spent on a new start gate to replace an old one that attracted complaints from neighbours about the noise.

“The old gate used to run with compressed air, and each time it dropped it slammed down with a ‘bang, bang’ every time a race started,” he says. “But the new gate is electronic, and so will be virtually silent. We imported it from Europe.”

Work began on the new gate within hours of the club’s final meet of the year. Bryant says it will also be safer for riders.

“The old gate popped up and riders could fall under it and be injured when it came down,” he says. “This new one flips down underground.”

Bryant says grant money is being used to improve the corners of the club’s course with a Bitumen surface, replacing dirt sections that became muddy in wet weather. Extra storm water drainage is also being installed.

“Bitumen will stop the weather eroding the corners, will reduce maintenance, and brings the track up to a more professional standard. We are one of the last tracks in the state to get Bitumen corners.”

As for the floodlights, the club has been lobbying Hume Council for years, says Bryant.

“We ended up on a list to get lights in three years’ time, but it was decided to do all the upgrade work in one go. Hopefully by March we will be up and running with everything in place,” he says. “The flood lights mean we will probably be able to run races until 10pm, which is better than the 5pm in previous winters.”

In November, the council announced it would spend $700,000 upgrading the club’s facilities.

Bryant says that pre-covid Sunbury BMX Club was the second largest (by club members) in Victoria.

“Covid hit us hard, and during covid two new clubs started up in areas where our members come from,” he says. “We are probably sixth in terms of size in the state. But with the work that’s happening at the track, we are rapidly heading toward being one of the best equiped.”

Sunbury BMX Club is in Cornish St and welcomes new and returning riders, it has try-out days, and full details are on its website at sunburybmxclub.com