Despite a hitch in negotiations over management, Frankston Council is confident the Frankston City Motorcycle Park will soon reopen.
Motorcycling Victoria has decided not to step in and take temporary charge of the motorcycle park and council will now form a temporary committee to oversee the park.
The Seaford venue has been closed since of the death of 25-year-old Danny Edlington on Saturday 4 April on the main track at the Frankston Motorcycle Park (‘Fatality closes motorcycle track’, The Times 13/4/15).
Deputy mayor Cr Glenn Aitken, chair of a committee tasked with handing over management of the track to Motorcycling Victoria for a 12-month interim period, said MV had wanted a longer lease.
He said it is likely that at least two members of the existing Frankston Motorcycle Club volunteer committee will be asked to join an interim committee which will also have council representation for 12 months.
Council decided not to renew the club’s lease at the Seaford venue with effect from 28 May (‘Club faces end of track’, The Times 4/5/15).
Cr Aitken said he had visited the track this week and looked at the part of the main track where the fatality occurred.
“I’d have to say that section of the track is very wide and very open. It is a section of track that you would not expect an accident to occur.”
A safety audit Mark Willingham dated 18 April found areas of the motocross tracks “to not be within the track guidelines” laid down by Motorcycling Australia.
Mr Edlington is believed to have fallen off his motorbike after a jump and was struck on the head by a fellow rider’s bike.
A police report has been referred to the Coroner.
Frankston Motorcycle Club president Ralph Ridley said the audit did not find any fault with the section of the main track where Mr Edlington lost his life or another part of the track where Bodie Tattam, 21, suffered a serious accident last year resulting in him becoming a paraplegic.
“As far as that side of things goes, that’s been cleared,” Mr Ridley said.
“We sort of just got shoved out when we were in the middle of track works.”
Mr Willingham also audited the motorcycle park in September last year and its findings were similar to those in April’s report.
A track inspector carries out annual safety audits at the Frankston City Motorcycle Park for insurance purposes.
Cr Aitken said a contractor hired by the motorcycle club said it should be fairly straightforward to make the improvements recommended in the latest safety audit.
“He is very familiar with the track and any adjustments we [council] want done, he would carry out.”
Cr Aitken said “an overarching committee” will ensure track works are done.
“Once that’s done, there’s no point in us [council] holding the track any longer,” he said.
“It’d be a case of returning it back to a community-based committee which is where it should be.”
He believed more regular track safety audits may be needed in future but this will be determined by the interim committee.
Motorcycling Victoria CEO Wayne Holdsworth said the organisation had been asked for advice by Frankston Council during the transition committee process.
“They [council] didn’t have the expertise with regards to motorcycling. We provided them with significant guidance, particularly in the first four or five weeks subsequent to the very unfortunate tragedy,” he said.
Mr Holdsworth was part of the transitional committee but said MV had decided not to manage the motorcycle park as a shorter-term lease would not allow “significant control”.
“Our absolute priority is to make sure that any track we’re involved in … has its sole operation focus around safety. If we can’t have a significant impact on that safety focus then that’s not where we want to be.”