International BMX rider Finn Carpenter lends his support to Malabar Park track improvements
WA’s only World Cup BMX rider has thrown his support behind a plan to save and reinvigorate the Bibra Lake BMX track.
Speaking from the UK, where he is preparing for an event in Nantes, France, Coolbellup local Finn Carpenter said Perth is seriously lacking in international standard BMX facilities and that because of that, it could hurt the chances of top local riders succeeding on the world stage. .
“I am the only WA driver in the UK at the moment for racing and probably the least prepared Australian driver to compete in the World Cup,” Carpenter told Cockburn town councilors last week when he logged in to last week’s meeting.
“I just arrived in the UK and had a week of training on a supercross track like we don’t have in WA and I can say it was very tough. I am definitely the least experienced pilot in the Australian lineup and that is mainly due to the facilities I have access to in WA at the moment.
Cockburn BMX Club members have been in limbo since closing the Malabar track at the end of 2020, believing city-led construction work would begin in early 2021.
Plans to upgrade the Malabar Park BMX facility have been put on hold after construction and labor costs soared during the pandemic.
Carpenter said he hopes the city will at least upgrade Malabar Park to match the Eastern States tracks so other up-and-coming racers can prepare for high-level competition.
“We don’t have the kids looking for international riders or international pro riders here in WA because if a rider gets to the level where they have to compete internationally they have to move east so they can compete then, otherwise it’s too much,” he said.
“We can’t go from the level of a facility we have here to the level we have at international races. Even if we improve the facility to a level equal to that of the Eastern States, it will greatly help all of our young riders in the future for development to put them on a level playing field.
Cockburn councilors gave a strong indication of their support for the local BMX fraternity at their June meeting by voting to consider taking out a $1.16 million loan through the WA Treasury Corporation so that reconstruction can go ahead.
It was the best result for the BMX club of the three options presented to the board on June 9.
The alternatives were to abandon the project altogether because it was too expensive, or to delay another 12 months to seek other financial support.
Last month, PerthNow reported calls from the Cockburn BMX Club – which leases the site from the town of Cockburn – for the council to press ahead with upgrading the inactive track.
The upgrade aims to turn Malabar Park into a Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI) BMX race track capable of hosting national-level events, with a new five-metre start ramp for practice and racing and a new multipurpose facility.