HUNDREDS of international visitors descended on Horsham at the weekend for the FIM World Junior Motocross Championships.
Held over August 24, 25 and 26 at the Dooen Recreation Centre, the event saw riders from around the world compete for the World Championship title.
It was the first time an international motocross tournament had been hosted in Australia.
Australian rider Braden Plath scored a total of 38 points in the 65cc class, taking out the title of World Champion.
The USA’s Enzo Temmerman also scored a total of 38 points, placing him second; while Italy’s Brando Rispoli ended up with a total score of 35 points.
In the 125cc class, Australia’s Bailey Malkiewicz took out the World Champion title with a total score of 47 points.
Italy’s Mattia Guadagnini placed second with 45 points, while the Czech Republic’s Petr Pokak place third with a total of 42 points.
Hailing from Horowhenua on New Zealand’s North Island, rider Lockie Barr placed 35 overall.
The 11-year-old was representing the New Zealand 65 team with three other riders. He said this was his first time competing in a World Championship.
“I placed 36th in one race and 35th in the other,” he said.
“This is my first time in Australia. I’ve made friends with some of the riders in the Australian, Japanese and American teams.”
Lockie’s mum Rebecca Barr said she was very proud of his efforts.
“He’s feeling a little disappointed at the moment but it’s amazing that he has had a chance to compete on this international level,” she said.
“It’s a massive achievement; he should be really proud with how he’s done.”
Lockie will next compete at the New Zealand Championships in October.
Spectators travelled from across the country to catch a glimpse of the junior superstars at the three-day event.
Hamilton resident Belinda Grey said she had come to the event to cheer on a relative who was competing.
“We’ve got a little cousin – Jet Alsop – who is in the competition,” she said.
“He’s done really well today, so we’re feeling pretty proud of him. This is the second year we’ve come to the event.
“It’s a great time and chance to have a bit of fun. It’s really an event for thrill seekers.”
Jet scored a total of 30 points in the 65cc class, placing him 6th overall.
Horsham Rural City Council chief executive Sunil Bhalla said the event was expected to bring more than $1 million into the Wimmera’s economy.
“When you add the support crews involved with each team, it adds up to about 500 international visitors and more than 1000 domestic fans are also expected to descend on the Wimmera,” he said.
Mr Bhalla predicated the event would attract roughly 3500 day-trip visitors, 700 domestic overnight visitors and 300 international visitors.
“(This) indicates a direct economic output of $1 million and equates to an average daily visitor spend of $224,” he said.
Mr Bhalla said the total impact of the event was estimated at $1.7 million.
The championships were streamed around the world.