Mo­tocross en­thu­si­asts look­ing to gain trac­tion

Or­ga­niz­ers at prov­ince’s only track hope to change pub­lic per­cep­tion of their sport

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY JOHN BROWNE TRANSCON­TI­NEN­TAL ME­DIA

There ap­pears to be neg­a­tive per­cep­tions of mo­tocross that the lo­cal dirt bike rid­ers will have to over­come to see the sport grow in this prov­ince.

Jonathan Ruby, who has been com­pet­ing in mo­tocross for four of his 32 years, says he be­lieves the sport would grow tremen­dously if more peo­ple un­der­stood mo­tocross and how it op­er­ates.

Right now, the par­ti­pants com­pete a t t h e p r ivately- owned Riverview Mo­tocross fa­cil­ity in But­lerville, which is part of the Town of Bay Roberts. The course is in its sec­ond year of op­er­a­tion and in­cludes a park with camp­sites avail­able to rent.

It’s the only place for mo­tocross in the prov­ince since the track on Bell Is­land was aban­doned two years ago.

Ruby, who is from Goulds, said it was dif­fi­cult keep­ing the in­ter­est up hav­ing to ferry across to Bell Is­land for com­peti­ton. He said the new track is more ac­ces­si­ble.

This sea­son, the Riverview MX track opened May 18 and races are held twice a month from June 8 to Sept. 20.

He said com­pe­ti­tions draw 70 or more par­tic­i­pants each time out. The sport, he noted, is open to all ages and there have been peo­ple from age five to 60 tak­ing part this year.

“It’s a fam­ily sport, re­ally,” said Ruby, who notes he’s seen it grow ev­ery week. He said it could be a lot big­ger ac­cross the prov­ince if more mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties would co-op­er­ate.

“Given the space we have in this prov­ince, I can’t un­der­stand why we don’t have any more,” he said. “You go to any other prov­ince and there are many dirt bike tracks. We could have a provincewide cir­cuit.”

He said there was a move to build a track in Con­cep­tion Bay South, but the lo­cal coun­cil , “pretty much shunned us. It was the same in the Goulds. You couldn’t put a track there be­cause ev­ery­one would com­plain.”

“Peo­ple don’t un­der­stand what it’s all about. It’s a fam­ily-ori­ented sport where young peo­ple, as well as old, are given a safe place to ride in an en­closed area.”

He be­lieves peo­ple would change their mind about the sport if they saw it and read more pos­i­tive things about it.

“They see some peo­ple rid­ing dirt bikes on the road and they think it’s bad, but in a track en­vi­ron­ment, if you are seen driv­ing your bike to the track or away from it, they are banned ( from com­pet­ing).”

Ruby said most peo­ple don’t un­der­stand how strict the rules are when it comes to the lo­cal mo­tocross course op­er­a­tion (see pull­out). He said there are very strict reg­u­la­tions for those us­ing the fa­cil­ity.

He said there used to be a New­found­land and Labrador Mo­tocross As­so­ci­a­tion, but he says he’s not sure if it still ex­ists.

There are a va­ri­ety of clas­si­fi­ca­tions from 50cc to 85cc and su­per­mini-size bikes in­volved.

There are also var­i­ous age and level cat­e­gories in­clud­ing ju­nior, in­ter­me­di­ate, plus-30, plus-40, ex­pert, open and ladies.

jbrowne@thetele­gram.com

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