Australia’s best male and female BMX riders will christen a new $6 million internationally accredited racetrack in Adelaide’s southern suburbs today to officially launch the state-of-the-art circuit named after South Australian Olympic medallist Sam Willoughby.
The Marshall Government committed more than half of the $6m to construct the crucial project – which is named in Mr Willoughby’s honour – to better support South Australia’s rising BMX stars who dream of competing on the world stage.
Premier Steven Marshall and Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Corey Wingard, met with Mr Willoughby to officially open the track – at Glenthore National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta – on Saturday before up to 1000 riders test their skills on the circuit for the 2022 AusCycling BMX National Series.
“This incredible BMX track is purpose-built, world-class and the perfect place for the next generation of stars to launch their riding careers,” the Premier said.
“Local riders have the best possible chance to reach their potential in this thrilling sport because we’ve ensured the track is tricked up to be compliant with governing body Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) regulations.
“And carrying the name of local BMX legend Sam Willoughby makes this track like no other in the world – it’s sure to inspire young riders who want to test themselves or just have fun.
“Our investment in the Sam Willoughby BMX track is part of our $400m dedicated to sport since 2018 to build what matters in South Australia and put this state in pole position to host world-class events that benefit the community.”
The two opening rounds of the 2022 BMX National Series feature as part of the Santos Festival of Cycling.
Minister Wingard said the new track was built to specification to host state championships and BMX Supercross World Cups, which will attract riders from across the country.
“The eight and five-metre-high start hills make this BMX track the only one of its kind in South Australia,” Minister Wingard said.
“Australia’s – and even the world’s – best riders will be desperate to come get and get a piece of the action at the Sam Willoughby BMX track located right here in our southern suburbs.
“This track is literally on the doorstep for our local riders and is now the new home of the Cove and Happy Valley BMX clubs.
“The local community already loves the Sam Willoughby BMX track and our economy benefited from the construction phase of the project with the creation of jobs.”
Mr Willoughby said: “I am honoured to open the Sam Willoughby BMX track here in Adelaide to further grow the sport of BMX in Australia.”
“The BMX track belongs to the community and it is humbling to have my name connected to a world-class facility,” the Olympic silver medal winner said.
“Today our communities come together – the Australian BMX family, the Cove and Happy Valley BMX Clubs, the Marion and Onkaparinga Councils and the South Australian Government. They all believed in what we are trying to create – a world-class facility to allow riders to chase their BMX dreams.
“I want to thank everyone involved who helped make a dream come true and I can’t wait to watch all the action across this weekend and in the years ahead.”
The remaining funding for the UCI track is made up with contributions from Marion Council ($1.75 million) and Onkaparinga Council ($750,000).
“This is an exciting time for the City of Marion, the sport of BMX racing and the ever-growing cycling and riding reputation of South Australia and it’s really special that Sam, an Australian champion who is a local legend for our clubs, is going to be here to celebrate,” Marion Mayor Kris Hanna said.
“This facility has taken years of planning and community consultation as well as funding from different levels of government to finally come together.
“To be able to mark the occasion with a world cup-qualifying, BMX National competition with some of the country’s elite riders as part of the Santos Festival of Cycling is a fitting recognition of that collaboration.”
Member for Black, David Speirs, and Member for Davenport, Steve Murray, said the new BMX track will boost visitation numbers to the southern suburbs in a win for local business.
“I’ve been championing for this project since day dot and it’s amazing to see this BMX track is ready to roll,” Minister Speirs said.
“My community is so excited to use this BMX track and I have no doubt this dedicated piece of sporting infrastructure will serve many well into the future,” Mr Murray said.
The Federal Government is contributing $100,000 for a BMX clubhouse through Sporting Australia’s Move It AUS program.
Marion Council has also allocated $200,000 for the future construction of a Pump Track on the site.