THE future of motocross in the south-west is in good shape.
This weekend, the Shipwreck Coast Motocross Club welcomed 300 riders to its home track at Lake Gillear to contest its two-day open event.
World-ranked riders, including number one Bailey Malkiewicz, converged on the course to show off their skills.
While some of the sport’s best riders were flying around Lake Gillear, the growth in the sport from a grassroots level was also evident.
Terang’s Sophie Kidd and Sophie Molan are best friends.
Part of that close bond has been formed on the motocross track, with the 17-year-olds among a growing band of female riders.
“There are a lot more girls doing motorcross now than when I started four years ago,” Kidd said.
“There are 23 girls competing this weekend so it is good to be a part of that and showing it is a sport we can be a part of and do well in.”
Motocross began with humble beginnings for Kidd, with the sport not originally on the radar.
“I used to just come along to watch my brothers ride,” she said.
“I used to get bored so I decided to give it a go and now I love it.
“I like the tension of it, how much you have to concentrate while you are out there riding.”
It was Kidd’s involvement in motocross that sparked Molan’s interest in the sport.
Molan started riding a farm bike in 2016 and has since progressed from a 150cc to now a 250cc bike.
“I love the thrill of riding, it’s a good adrenalin rush,” she said.
“I tried netball and clay shooting but motocross was what I decided I really wanted to do.
“I want to keep on improving all the time and try and get as good as I can.”
Shipwreck Coast Motocross Club secretary-treasurer Tracy Chilton said the presence of Malkiewicz and other highly ranked riders meant the quality of competition was high.
“It is so good to have these visiting riders here and competing,” Chilton said.
“To have them riding on the same track with our local riders is really good for the sport.
“It creates a lot of excitement which flows through all the grades.
“And it’s great to see the girls out in good numbers, the first meeting of the year everyone has new bikes and gear they want to try out.”
Chilton said another factor behind such a high number of riders for the weekend was that Lake Gillear would be hosting the senior Victorian titles in May.
“Visiting riders see this as their only chance to spend some time on the track and get used to it before the state titles,” she said.