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Restored bike track brings old school BMX back to Wairarapa

Kane Harris (pictured) rallied community support to restore the Central Wairarapa BMX track.

The dust has barely settled on the recently refurbished Central Wairarapa BMX track, and yet the locals are already turning up in droves each weekend to give the latest improvements a test run.

Situated in the heart of Masterton, the track is at the tail end of a $50,000 upgrade, which was jointly funded by Eastern and Central Community Trust along with other community grants and donations.

The track has laid dormant since the craze of BMX diminished in the early 90s, but thanks to Kane Harris, a Masterton local and old school BMX fanatic who rallied community support to resurrect it, it has undergone restoration spanning two years.

Kane says he and a working group of around 20 other enthusiasts began the restoration themselves, but quickly realised the work was beyond their manpower and subsequently applied for funding.

“With the help of community grants we were able to contract a few local companies to do the earth works,” Kane says.

The rest of the work has been a labour of love by locals during weekends. Kane says there is already a constant flow of kids and adults using the track after school and in weekends – even during the working bees – and his aim is to foster that family atmosphere.

“It’s great to see everyone enjoying the space and we’ve had lots of feedback about how cool it is from the kids, while the parents are saying it’s awesome to see it being restored to its former glory.”

The original Central Wairarapa BMX track was established in 1982 as a response to the booming BMX racing scene at the time. Back then, the design and build of the track was also led by local parents of riders and became well-regarded as a fast track and a firm favourite amongst riders throughout the country.

“In late 1983 the North Island championships were held here with an attendance of over 300 riders who had qualified for the event. The local club grew to over 300 members itself and ran until the mid-90s when the interest in BMX racing had dwindled due to various reasons.”

Kane describes the restored 350-metre track as “old school BMX”, easy to ride for all ability levels and gives a great basis for learning BMX skills or transitioning into mountain biking. It is 350m long, six metres wide and caters for six riders in each race.

“Our hope is that families will use the site as a destination for outings whether they are four years old or 94. We would also look towards hosting competitive events between clubs and local schools. There is also a large international swell in old school racing (older guys – old gear pre 1990s) which we hope to dig into.”

Located on the north side of Queen Elizabeth Park, the track is open to the public and free to ride. Membership will open once the track and start gate are fully completed, and club nights and events are already in the pipeline.

“Our vision is to get families on bikes and having fun – 100% community enjoyment!”