“There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away
And had joined the wild bush horses – he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.”
Andrew Barton Paterson
I saw it fitting to start with a part of a Banjo Paterson Poem as I feel that we are losing a little meaning in our sport at the moment. In Victoria, our state titles seem to finish in June, and for our Junior competitors, I feel this is an issue as our Juniors don’t have race experience at a higher level than regional racing as Victoria has 1-2 Open Events a year (2019 we had 3).
When I started following the sport, I was educated in ‘ride with fast people get faster’ and the ‘only way to gain race experience was to race.’ Racecraft can be practised, but cannot be practised under race conditions unless you are in race conditions.
The same reason why I feel our motocross kids either excel at school or get into trouble a lot at school. To ride a bike the brain has to process a lot of information, then place the bike and the brain under race conditions the commands are processed at a larger and faster rate. At school, kids either do well at work and have enough material to keep them amused or, they do well at work become bored socialise with others which some teachers don’t like.
Event Competition, it is great for riders to be able to choose which events they would like to do even if they clash. I would actually like to try a Pony Club or Go Kart schedule model for motocross, as in the last Sunday of every month there is a club meeting, that leaves 3 weekends for other events, state champs, regionals, nationals, but for this to actually work everyone would have to support it. For example, if I am interested in Go Karts or Pony Club as a spectator I can go to my local club and watch. We have little to no spectators at motocross, it is usually family or close friends that attend race meetings. Our sport needs to grow a following and with that comes fans, merchandise sales, product sales and then outside sponsors and hopefully some mainstream television/media coverage. At the moment it seems like everyone is doing their own thing and not help grow the sport.
From memory, now don’t trust this it seems hard to find dates to research. I think it has been 15 years that the Junior Australian Motocross Championships have been held the September-October School Holidays. I think Oakland Junior Aussies could have been mid-year which I think was 2001, and Maffra 2002 not sure when it was but it was very wet, so one can assume it was mid-year. My first Junior Aussies as media was in South Australia the original South Coast Junior Motorcycle Club my image metadata placed the event 30th September to 4th October and has been that holiday period ever since.
There are a few rumours floating around to why the date change, I believe the date change has been to support the Supercross. From memory again (remember don’t trust it), Spokes Promotions used to have an awesome Supercross Schedule back in the days when each major city stadium had an indoor supercross race, I think their last supercross meeting was in 2002. That would make 2003 the year SEL took over the supercross and they didn’t have any Junior Classes as Spokes Promotions did. I always thought this was the reason why Supercross stopped growing in this country, but while writing this blog, maybe it was the clash of the Junior Australian Motocross Championships. Therefore it will be interesting to see what happens with the new date on various angles especially entries and weather conditions.
The date change debate has sparked on a few social media feeds, as the date also clashes with the yearly Hattah Desert Race (the only national desert race that I know of which caters for junior athletes) with Juniors racing on Saturday of the 3-day event and the junior numbers have been improving every year with the pits being extended to fit more riders. The views of different disciplines have been mentioned various times, I understand this view and event choice view, I just hope that either Hattah or the Junior Aussies do not suffer from lack of numbers because of the event clash.
I also fear that the Junior Australian Championships being moved to the middle of the year will see the end of International Athletes entering the Junior Aussies with the Junior World Championships being held at a similar time and only a few weeks shy of America’s biggest Amateur Motocross event Loretta Lyn’s Motocross. This will also affect the Australian Junior World Motocross Team Selection with athletes being forced to choose either World Championships or Australian Championships.
Change is good as a holiday I feel, and if the date change doesn’t work I hope that the powers that be see this and change the Junior Aussies date back to later in the year.