World stage

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Re­gional lead­ers have queued up to urge peo­ple to make the most of a rare op­por­tu­nity this week­end to pro­mote the Wim­mera and broader re­gion to the world.

They agree the 2018 FIM Ju­nior Mo­tocross World Cham­pi­onship in Hor­sham, the first time the ti­tles have been in Australia, rep­re­sent a rare op­por­tu­nity.

Hor­sham mayor Pam Clarke and Wim­mera De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Ralph Kenyon said broad in­ter­na­tional me­dia cov­er­age of the event guar­an­teed price­less pro­mo­tion for the re­gion.

While Cr Clarke stressed a need for Hor­sham dis­trict peo­ple to take on the role of re­gional am­bas­sadors, Mr Kenyon spoke of the im­pact host­ing such an event could have on fu­ture de­vel­op­ment projects.

Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy also spoke about the vol­un­teer ef­fort and pas­sion that had been re­quired to bring such an event to the re­gion.

All echoed the sen­ti­ments of Hor­sham Mo­tor­cy­cle Club pres­i­dent Kenny Watts, who en­cour­aged peo­ple to im­press a global au­di­ence of mil­lions by pack­ing out spec­ta­tor ar­eas at Dooen Recre­ation Re­serve.

“We need to be there in force. We want to get 5000 peo­ple out there so the at­mos­phere matches the qual­ity of the event,” he said.

“Our mes­sage to the Wim­mera com­mu­nity is don’t let a chance to see some­thing like this slip be­cause we will never get the op­por­tu­nity again to host the world cham­pi­onships.

“It is the rarest of op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple to see the bur­geon­ing su­per­stars of in­ter­na­tional motorsport – in Hor­sham.

“We’re go­ing to be beamed all around the world and the name ‘Dooen’ will be­come syn­ony­mous with mo­tocross and the best ju­nior mo­tocross rid­ers on the planet. It is go­ing to be worth be­ing there.”

Mr Watts said the event, es­ti­mated to be a $500,000 en­ter­prise, had been four years in the mak­ing.

“It’s go­ing to be awe­some. Can you please pinch me so I know it’s not a dream,” he said.

Mr Kenyon said the event, on Satur­day and Sun­day and fea­tur­ing 120 rid­ers from 23 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, was a pro­found op­por­tu­nity for the Wim­mera to gain recog­ni­tion on the in­ter­na­tional stage.

“It raises our pro­file with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and says we are ca­pa­ble of host­ing in­ter­na­tional events,” Mr Kenyon said.

“It re­in­forces the abil­ity of the re­gion to be no­ticed and be taken se­ri­ously when mak­ing sub­mis­sions or putting pro­pos­als for­ward for in­ter­na­tional-scale events.

“It’s great for Hor­sham to have a fa­cil­ity that can make it onto a world stage and em­pha­sises the im­por­tance of hav­ing good in­fra­struc­ture at a lo­cal level to al­low events to hap­pen.

“It also pro­vides us with an ex­am­ple the role vol­un­teers play in mak­ing things hap­pen.”

Cr Clarke re­flected on the abil­ity of Hor­sham Mo­tor­cy­cle Club to win such a pres­ti­gious event.

“What a won­der­ful thing it is. This is a rel­a­tively lit­tle sport­ing club – a club that works in­cred­i­bly hard,” she said.

“To get so many Aus­tralian and state cham­pi­onships is an achieve­ment in it­self, but get­ting a world ju­nior cham­pi­onship and break­ing new ground for Australia in the process is just amaz­ing.

“This is not just big for Hor­sham, but also the re­gion. We must en­sure we are very wel­com­ing. We need to be the most wel­com­ing place in the world for these vis­i­tors so they feel com­fort­able.

“We’re ask­ing ev­ery­one to be am­bas­sadors for Hor­sham, the Wim­mera, Vic­to­ria and Australia. This is an hon­our and some­thing we must em­brace.” Cr Clarke said the cham­pi­onships pro­vided an ex­am­ple of why peo­ple or­gan­is­ing events or plan­ning projects in the re­gion should al­ways aim high.

“I think we some­times limit our­selves too much when the re­al­ity is we run events here ex­tremely well,” she said.

Ms Kealy said it was a credit to the com­mit­tee and vol­un­teers who man­aged to trans­form a lo­cal mo­tor­cy­cle track to a world cham­pi­onship cir­cuit.

“It’s as­tound­ing – the stuff of movies. The amount of work that has gone into at­tract­ing the event to the re­gion, the in­tense lob­by­ing, the count­less hours, the op­er­a­tional chal­lenges – it’s stag­ger­ing,” she said.

The cham­pi­onships in­volve com­peti­tors racing for their re­spec­tive coun­tries as well as in­di­vid­ual hon­ours in 125cc, 85cc and 65cc classes. Some of the teenage rid­ers in­volved are al­ready house­hold names in in­ter­na­tional mo­tocross.

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