Project partner: Ballarat Sebastopol Cycling Club
Region: Central Highlands
The Ballarat-Sebastopol BMX Club has been a cherished part of the Central Highlands community since 1974.
Riders flock to the track, but during the heavy rainfall months, they were often sent turning on their wheels.
'Living in Ballarat, we only had a small window of time that we could ride without worrying about mud,' explains Rob Pompe, Ballarat Sebastopol BMX Club President.
'We wanted an upgrade on the track. We wanted a surface that was useable year-round, hard wearing, safe to ride on and state-of-the-art… the amount that we could possibly get from Pick My Project fitted into what we wanted.'
The club knew the community would support this project. Not only would it enable year-round racing events, but safer riding conditions for the many kids who use the track too.
'We were over the moon when we found out we were successful. We couldn’t believe it!” Rob says. “All the work we put into it, all the people who backed us on it, to be able to go back to them and say we were successful was just amazing.'
Now with Victoria’s first fully-surfaced BMX track, the has club re-opened its gates to the public. Since then, the club’s membership has more than doubled and visitors have been singing its praise.
'Every rider from pro down to the kids have said nothing other than this is absolutely fantastic. They’re confident they can get around without the front wheel sliding out from under them.'
'Basically, they just say 'man, this surface is sick,' says Rob.
The upgrades have attracted more kids to the track, and the club is feeling a lot more comfortable about their safety when riding. But it’s the ability to race 365 days of the year that gets Rob most excited.
'We’re not weather dependent anymore. It’s given us that level of capability and professionalism that is above a lot of other clubs.'
Being the first in the state has elevated the club’s profile with BMX Victoria, the state’s central BMX body. Instead of cancelling events due to poor weather, they're often relocated to Ballarat. This brings spectators into town, giving local businesses a nice boost.
'A lot of other clubs have followed suit now. They’ve ridden the track, seen the advantage of the surface then applied to their council, so we’ve pushed that barrel for everyone in Victoria as well,' says Rob.
Another major benefit has been the reduction in the amount of work that goes into preparing the track before an event. Previously, the club would spend roughly six weeks wetting and rolling the surface on the track so it would maintain its shape.
'We did nothing. We basically spent two to three hours just doing the lines and blowing it off instead of six weeks of work just for one day of racing!' Rob says as he reflects from an event earlier in the year.
The upgrades have enhanced the club’s racing abilities, the popularity of BMX as a sport locally, and put Ballarat front and centre on the map for the BMX community.
'We can hold state titles; we can hold national series’!'
For the years ahead, the possibilities for the Ballarat Sebastopol BMX Club are almost endless.
Reviewed 24 March 2021