Motocross enthusiasts looking to gain traction
Organizers at province’s only track hope to change public perception of their sport
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.