BMX riders to hit track
MORE than 500 racers will compete in the South East Queensland BMX Championships when they hit Gympie this weekend.
Due to the high number of entries, this weekends' racing event at the Cooloola BMX Club's track will be one of the biggest zone championships held in the state.
President Chris Rodighiero said the sport was growing and it was reflected in the size of the events.
"The popularity is increasing, there's no two-ways about it," he said.
It's the second time the club has hosted the event, which will bring the best of the best from south-east Queensland to the Gympie track to compete.
Riders from Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Brisbane would make their mark at the track.
Rodighiero said the track was in top condition in the lead-up to the racing but he had to work hard to have everything ready in time.
"It's been like I've been living here," he said.
"We'll be busy here until the moment the event starts."
Rodighiero said the track was always maintained well and a new roof over the start gate would allow for the event to go on unhindered if this weekend brought rain.
"We always get the track as perfect as we can get it," he said.
"It's very important [to have a roof] as things can get very slippery there when it rains and the equipment at the start gate can't get rain on it."
The competition between 524 entrants would be spread among 48 races in six motos, followed by semi-finals and finals.
It's a big event to organise, but Rodighiero said club members had rallied to help.
"The club has been good to help, the event's in benefit of us all and the club has been really good in that respect," he commented.
Rodighiero said the pro open men's competition would hold eight heats alone and would include Olympian Jamie Gray.
"The pro open men's will be big," he said.
The titles would also facilitate selections for the South East Queensland zone team that would compete against the best of the best chosen at other zone titles events held across the state.
Rodighiero said the riders would be chosen not only on finals results but through performances in heats.
"Riders often say, 'everything we do is for that 35 to 40-second perfect lap'," he said.
The opening ceremony for the titles will be lead by Mayor Ron Dyne and will begin at 10.30am on Saturday.
Gympie State High School bands will provide entertainment for competitors Saturday night and Rodighiero said the club would use the performance as an opportunity to "pass the hat around" to raise money for the music students' trip to Tamworth.