End of era for BMX rid­ing

Eastern Courier - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - VAUGHAN YOUNG

The BMX cy­cling track on Pi­geon Moun­tain that has ex­isted since the early 1980s has been re­moved, to give land back to lo­cal iwi.

BMX NZ ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Dion Earnest says there were plans to up­grade the track, but the in­tro­duc­tion of the Auck­land su­percity put a stop to it.

‘‘This change in turn also in­cluded the process to re­turn the vol­canic cones back to iwi own­er­ship,’’ he says.

Orig­i­nally based at the foot of Pi­geon Moun­tain, the club was moved to Auck­land Coun­cil-run Lloyd Elsmore Park in Paku­ranga a few years ago, which best suits its mem­bers.

‘‘After long ne­go­ti­a­tions, the Lloyd Elsmore Park site was agreed on,’’ Earnest says.

‘‘From there the move was made and the club built a new na­tional-spec fa­cil­ity.’’

The de­mo­li­tion of the Pi­geon Moun­tain track hasn’t left grass­roots BMX in dan­ger and there are no se­ri­ous neg­a­tive im­pacts on the sport, he says.

‘‘The move away from the site has given the com­mu­nity, the club and the sport so many more pos­i­tives.’’

Earnest is thank­ful for what the Pi­geon Moun­tain track gave to his fam­ily and other lo­cals.

‘‘My 11-year-old daugh­ter is now a three-time BMX world cham­pion as a re­sult of start­ing BMX at the moun­tain.’’

As the biggest BMX club in New Zealand, a num­ber of na­tional, Ocea­nia and world age- grade cham­pi­ons crafted their skills at the moun­tain track.

Moun­tain Raiders pres­i­dent Kevin Jago says the new Lloyd Elsmore Park fa­cil­i­ties are great, but he hopes some­thing comes from the Pi­geon Moun­tain site.

‘‘I just hope they do some­thing nice with the area so peo­ple can en­joy it again.’’

Scott De Silva, the man­ager for Tupuna Maunga, a coun­cil di­vi­sion re­spon­si­ble for look­ing after Auck­land’s vol­ca­noes, says there are ma­jor plans to op­ti­mise the space.

The plan is to repli­cate what used to be onO¯huiarangi Pi­geon Moun­tain, he ex­plains.

‘‘The site is go­ing to take the form of his­tor­i­cal ter­rac­ing, so there will be a num­ber of large ter­races.’’

For Earnest, the de­mo­li­tion of the track is a sad time, but he be­lieves the new Lloyd Elsmore Park track lessens the blow.

This was first pub­lished by Te Waha Nui, the on­line pub­li­ca­tion of AUT’s jour­nal­ism course, and is re­pub­lished with per­mis­sion.

SUP­PLIED / MOUN­TAIN RAIDERS BMX

The BMX track at the foot of the Pi­geon Moun­tain vol­cano is mak­ing way for the re­cre­ation of tra­di­tional ter­rac­ing.

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