DOOEN Recreation Reserve is abuzz with activity as some of the Asia-Pacific region’s top motocross riders battle for glory.
The 2013 KTM Australian Junior Motocross Championship kicked off in Dooen on Saturday.
More than 540 riders – aged between eight and 16 – had an opportunity to break-in the course over the weekend with practice laps and qualifying heats.
Racing begins at 9am on Monday, with heats one and two of the 125cc 13 to under-15 division.
The competition has attracted competitors from New Zealand and Sri Lanka in addition to some of Australia’s most promising junior motocross talents.
The Victorian Junior Motocross 125cc and 250cc champion Wayde Carter of Melbourne will defend his titles, while Victorian girls champion Emma Milesevic will hope to secure back-to-back under 12 to 16 female titles.
More than 20 hours of racing are scheduled for the week until Friday.
Events begin at 9am each day.
Horsham Motorcycle Club president Kenny Watts said up to 500 people were at the track on Sunday morning.
More than 2000 people are expected to visit the Wimmera to watch the event.
Entry is free on all days except the finals on Thursday and Friday, when Mr Watts said the club would accept donations to the Wimmera Against Cancer in Kids group.
“The track’s looking real good,” Mr Watts said.
“And there are people everywhere.”
He said the Wimmera had never hosted a sporting event of the tournament’s calibre.
“It’s a massive deal for the region,” he said.
He said Australia boasted the best motocross riders in the world.
“Australia is leading the world’s main motocross championships,” he said.
“We’ve got some great riders here at the moment – you’ve only got to look at it.”
Among them will be Wimmera riders Jack Mentha and Mr Watts’s son Cory, who will be competing in the Junior Lites 13 to under 15 250cc classes against the likes of Wonthaggi teen Jed Beaton.
Mr Watts said while everything was going according to plan on the track, work on a new shed had not been completed.
“The pressure was on, but we missed it by a week unfortunately,” he said.
He said the shed was being used as a first aid centre.
“That was the initial reason for it being built,” he said.
He said the toilets had not been finished and there were about 10 portaloos in their place.
“But we’ll maintain them – they’ll be ok,” he said.
He said there were also toilets in the clubrooms.
Mr Watts said before the event he would ‘move mountains’ to have the shed up and running before the nation’s biggest motocross event began.
Horsham Rural City Council lent the club $38,648 to complete the project after its $145,000 budget blew out.
Plans included a new safety fence, shade sails and the shed, which would incorporate the first aid centre, toilets and showers.
Mr Watts said the delay had been beyond the club’s control.
“Now nothing will go on until the week after the tournament,” he said.
“But that’s how it goes – not everything goes according to plan.
“We will run a great event and everyone will go home happy.
“Let’s just hope that’s the only thing we have no control over.”