BMX show helps open school’s track

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - LAWRENCE GULLERY

Kiwi kids love rid­ing their bikes to school.

But for many who live in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, fam­i­lies rely on the bus to trans­port their chil­dren to school ev­ery day.

That’s the case for most kids at­tend­ing Wal­ton School.

But thanks to the hard work of staff and par­ents, their young pupils now have the op­tion of ex­er­cis­ing their pedal power while at school.

BMX track de­signer Paul Lang­lands from Cam­bridge helped de­sign the school’s new cy­cle track which was of­fi­cially opened on Satur­day.

Prin­ci­pal Jeremy Kurth said the track was con­structed in Oc­to­ber and the fin­ish­ing touches made ear­lier this year.

‘‘The kids have al­ready been us­ing the track and some of them had been turn­ing up with their own bikes to use it.

‘‘But we’ve got some bikes here at school and the idea is to keep them in a con­tainer, so kids can use them dur­ing the day.’’

Kurth said about 90 per cent of the school’s 122 pupils used the bus to get to school and so hav­ing the bikes stored on site would be a bonus.

‘‘It’ll mean that kids won’t have to bring their bikes to school.’’

The track cost about $3000 to build. Mata­mata com­pany J.Swap had pro­vided most of the ma­te­rial to shape the track while Bikes in Schools had also spon­sored 20 hel­mets for the school to use.

Kurth said the ben­e­fit of be­ing a ru­ral school meant there were ’’a lot of fa­thers with trac­tors, who knew what they’re do­ing’’ and were able to help con­struct the track.

‘‘It was sup­pose to take about five days to build but was done in about two.

‘‘The track also uses a part of the school’s ground we weren’t us­ing a lot be­fore.’’

Deputy prin­ci­pal Kane Fraser led the cy­cle track project for the school.

‘‘Our hope is that peo­ple will also come along and use the track, we re­ally want to open it up to the pub­lic.’’

Lang­lands helped de­sign the jumps on the track and was a big draw­card, along with friend, BMX dirt rider Nico Groe­nendijk, at the open day.

The pair per­formed a ‘‘Freestyle Fes­ti­val BMX dis­play’’ after putting the new track to the test along­side kids, staff and par­ents on their bikes.

A ramp was set up for a spe­cial freestyle BMX dis­play at Wal­ton School. Rider Nico Groe­nendijk falls down to earth dur­ing the per­for­mance.

PHO­TOS: LAWRENCE GULLERY

Wal­ton School kids test their new cy­cle track with its de­signer, Paul Lang­lands. More pho­tos on page 23.

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