Club gears up to raise cash for classy track
After three years on the drawing board, the New Plymouth BMX club is on the home stretch, chasing down $700,000 to make their international track at Hickford Park a reality.
The nationally respected club got the green light to build the track in Bell Block in August, after three years of planning and design work on a facility to replace the ageing and outdated track it has used for the past 34 years at Marfell.
Even before it is built, the track was already attracting attention, New Plymouth BMX club president Blair Riddick said.
"BMX New Zealand has indicated we should be applying for the nationals as soon as possible if we get the money to build this. They are seriously interested in this facility, " he said.
Riddick said the club had already raised $20,000 itself and the Taranaki BMX Trust had been set up to raise as much as $200,000 more through sponsorship packages, fundraising and grants.
"This is a one off. Once it's built, it's built. We won't be coming back every year for more money," he said.
It is hoped construction of the track beside the Hickford Park velodrome can begin in November and be finished by the end of the year.
At this stage it would be the only international-standard track south of Cambridge and he said it would attract riders from all over the lower North Island.
"And if the nationals are going to be held there, there will be people coming every weekend for the whole year before to practise on the track. It will brings people into Taranaki every weekend," he said.
The lack of a world-class facility has often been raised as a hindrance to the sport in Taranaki and the track has the support of South Taranaki BMX clubs.
The Taranaki BMX Trust will be chaired by businessman Neil Cowley. Taranaki regional BMX and South Taranaki BMX co-ordinator Mike Reader, Riddick, Angela Corbett, Nigel Dixon and accountant Bruce Richards are also on the trust.
The track will be used for club nights and annual races, and would cater for local, national and international events. Members of the public will also be free to use the track outside of these events.
Taranaki Daily News