$2-mil­lion price tag

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Hor­sham would need to find about $2-mil­lion if it re­sponded to in­ter­na­tional en­thu­si­asm to host a world se­nior cham­pi­onship mo­tocross round next year.

That’s the price tag for bring­ing the world’s best mo­tocross rid­ers, along with their teams and sup­port­ers to Aus­tralia and the Wim­mera for an MXGP.

Hor­sham Mo­tor­cy­cle Club pres­i­dent Kenny Watts said in­ter­na­tional of­fi­cials, im­pressed by Hor­sham’s stag­ing of world ju­nior ti­tles at Dooen, had sounded him out about the po­ten­tial of ‘step­ping up’.

“They were im­pressed – so much so that they told us they are ea­gerly await­ing an in­vi­ta­tion to re­turn,” he said.

“Pro­moter Youth­stream and FIM of­fi­cials all spoke glow­ingly about our event and stressed a de­sire to bring its big brother – an MXGP, part of a 20-round series around the world – to Hor­sham.

“The trou­ble is, while we’ve had such an amaz­ing world ju­nior event, we would need every bit of $2-mil­lion from gov­ern­ment and-or other sup­port agencies and busi­nesses to make it hap­pen.

“In say­ing that, what we’ve learnt from the week­end is that the eco­nomic spin-offs eas­ily jus­tify that sort of in­vest­ment – not only for the Wim­mera, but for Vic­to­ria and Aus­tralia.”

The world ju­nior ti­tles fin­ished at Dooen on Sun­day but the eco­nomic im­pact has con­tin­ued as peo­ple use the oc­ca­sion to have ex­tended Aus­tralian hol­i­days.

“Some peo­ple are stay­ing a while and con­tin­u­ing to spend money. For ex­am­ple, word is that one of the smaller na­tional teams at the ju­niors went to a Hor­sham ho­tel for din­ner and spent $800 in one hit. That gives a bit of an idea of its worth,” Mr Watts said.

Es­ti­ma­tions are that the 2018 FIM Ju­nior Mo­tocross World Cham­pi­onship con­ser­va­tively gen­er­ated more than $1-mil­lion for the re­gional econ­omy de­spite the State Gov­ern­ment in­vest­ing only $80,000 in the event.

More than 4000 fans flocked to Dooen Recre­ation Re­serve on Sun­day to watch the high-level ju­nior mo­tocross rid­ing fi­nals un­fold.

The crowd was slightly less for pre­lim­i­nary rounds the day be­fore but a world­wide au­di­ence for both days was in the mil­lions as 15 me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions broad­casted the Hor­sham ac­tion around the globe.

About 100 vol­un­teers and of­fi­cials were in­volved in stag­ing the event, the first time the ti­tles had come to Aus­tralia.

Mr Watts said Hor­sham Ru­ral City Coun­cil had been aware of the event’s sig­nif­i­cance and pro­vided out­stand­ing sup­port and ACE Ra­dio had also been a strong sup­porter.

“The truth is we could run a big­ger se­nior event within 12 months if the fund­ing was as­sured, but that’s a big call. From a re­gional tourism per­spec­tive it would more than pay for it­self,” he said.

“In the end, all we re­ally want to do as a club is en­cour­age more peo­ple to get in­volved in mo­tocross rid­ing.”

The cham­pi­onships in­volved rid­ers and teams from Aus­trala­sia, Europe, Asia and the Amer­i­cas.

Aus­tralian Bai­ley Malkiewicz, fa­mil­iar with the Dooen cir­cuit, won the blue-rib­bon 125cc class.

Caden Braswell won the 85cc class and Braden Plath a 65cc class.

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