THE race is on to save the Frankston City Motorcycle Park as an affordable venue for motocross riders after Frankston Council decided not to renew its lease with the Frankston Motorcycle Club in the wake of a fatality at the Seaford track last month.
A 20-year-old man died after a collision with a fellow motocross rider and council asked the club to close the Seaford facilities in the short term (‘Fatality closes motorcycle track’, The Times 13/4/15).
Last Friday council issued a statement headed “Safety first priority at Frankston Motorcycle Park” and advised the Frankston Motorcycle Club’s tenancy would end on 28 May.
“Council resolved to take action to ensure the safety and management of the facilities, to prevent any future tragedies, such as the death of a recreational motorcyclist earlier this month,” deputy mayor Cr Glenn Aitken said in the statement.
Council has asked Motorcycling Victoria to manage the venue as a “recreational track” for 12 months which would see the basic and intermediate, although not expert, tracks reopen until council, Motorcycling Victoria and the Frankston Motorcycle Club can agree a long-term management plan for the motorcycle park.
Motorcycle club members and track users are worried fees to use the track will be too expensive for many Frankston motocross riders if MV takes over the management of the venue.
The Frankston Motorcycle Club and its committee are staffed by a dedicated group of volunteers.
Malinda Lloyd launched an online petition late last week urging council to reopen the motorcycle park under the supervision of the volunteers.
The gopetition.com petition has already gained more than 600 signatures.
Mrs Lloyd, whose husband and son regularly use the track, said many families will not be able to afford to pay higher fees to ride at Seaford. She also believes council may “kick out” the club from the premises despite decades of hard work and personal financial contributions by volunteers.
An annual membership for families currently costs $100 per year plus $10-$25 per day to ride at the track.
“The environment there is fantastic. I’ve got a three and a ten year old and they love it even just to go down and watch.”
Mrs Lloyd said the club is self-sufficient and not reliant on council funding.
“The response to the petition has been really supportive. Everyone just wants that club reopened under the volunteer scheme … most of them are families who ride together.”
Mrs Lloyd said the track was opened in 1980 and she fears some motocross riders will take to public parks and streets if they are unable to afford to ride at the Seaford venue.
In its statement Frankston Council said Motorcycling Victoria usually oversee event and competition venues but have agreed “to work with council to ensure the track meets the Frankston community’s recreational needs and all safety standards”.
A transitional committee, chaired by Cr Aitken, including Cr Colin Hampton, a MV representative, council officers and motorcycling industry experts will be established to discuss the long-term future of the motorcycle park.
“Frankston Council is dedicated to ensuring and maintaining that its recreational facilities are safe in accordance with regulatory standards,” Cr Aitken said.
Council hoped the track can be reopened soon.
Frankston City Motorcycle Club president Ralph Ridley said the club has been “open and transparent” with council and has met with councillors and officers to discuss the future of the track.
“First and foremost it’s a massive tragedy and a loss to family, friends and everyone down there … and it’s affected everyone,” he said.
WorkSafe investigated the fatal collision but passed the investigation to police since the track is on public land.
The Times understands the police investigation has not concluded. Investigating officers were unavailable to give an update before publication.