Predictions of Horsham’s population swelling by up to 5000 at a major motor sport event next month have prompted organisers to urge businesses to make sure they prepare for the occasion.
Horsham Motorcycle Club spokesman Kenny Watts said there were clear indications that a major influx of people would accompany KTM Australian Junior Motocross Championships at Dooen.
Mr Watts said entry numbers for the event, from September 30 to October 6, were climbing rapidly and he expected the final tally to be between 600 and 700.
“Interest is really starting to pick up. It is going to be big,” he said.
“New Zealand has already registered about 30 riders who are coming to work out who will compete in world titles next year and we’re constantly fielding questions about accommodation and services.
“Estonian Marco Bettic, who won world and national titles last year, entered on Monday morning and we’ve also had discussions with an Indonesian contingent trained over there by former Ararat rider Lewis Stewart.
“It’s important to remember this is the largest junior motocross event in Australia.”
Adding to the occasion is the International Motorcycling Federation, the controlling body for international racing, also declaring an Oceania Challenge between Australia and New Zealand as part of the event.
Mr Watts said Horsham district people needed to be aware of how busy the Wimmera centre would become with the arrival of riders, their teams and supporters.
“There will be between 3000 and 4000 people directly involved in the event and we expect numbers to swell up around the 5000 mark on the Friday,” he said.
“Visitors are going to be in the region for perhaps nine to 10 days and they will be going out for tea most nights and spending money.
“It’s going to be a massive economic boost for the region.
“We suspect this has sneaked up on everyone and we don’t want the hospitality business community in particular underestimating the influx of people and trade.”
Mr Watts said an issue emerging in the build-up was a need for appropriate accommodation for overseas riders and teams.
“Many people who can’t get motel accommodation are planning to camp out and places like Wimmera Events Centre will be a hive of activity. But overseas visitors won’t be able to bring camping gear with them, so we’re looking for places for them to stay,” he said.
Mr Watts said Horsham and the wider Wimmera had earned a welcoming reputation from 2013, the last time the club hosted the national junior titles.
“There were many comments about how friendly and helpful everyone was and this has helped us establish these events. So it would be great if we could do that again,” he said.
Horsham Motorcycle Club officials will meet this weekend before closing and working on the Dooen track in preparation for the titles.
The club is using the national junior titles to generate money to run world junior titles at Dooen next year.
Mr Watts said anyone who could offer appropriate accommodation for overseas visitors could call him on 0419 313 207.