Youth pumped for new facility

Riders of all ages christened the Tumut Pump Track on Friday afternoon

The Tumut pump track was unveiled to avid BMX riders and scooter fanatics on Friday afternoon, with council staff and councillors, members of the Tumut Youth Prescient and special guest Des’ree Barnes in attendance.

Council’s Youth Development Officer Mark Mazzini and Council’s Event Officer Evan Saunders welcomed those gathered to the unveiling before handing over to the mayor James Hayes who spoke of the importance of a social outlet for like-minded athletes.

He said that the $300,000 project had come about on the back of the success of the pump track sponsored by the Tumbarumba Cycle Club who had made the original submission last year. He said that the original concept was a Youth Council initiative who saw this as an opportunity to add to an already popular recreational area precinct.

“It’s the perfect setting, with plenty of tree shade, none of which were removed as a result of the works,” he said.

Mr Mazzini said the project had been some twelve months in the making and the result had seen a handsomely developed track which complimented the existing infrastructure.

“The contractors have done a phenomenal job linking it to the skate park.”

Councillor Julia Ham said there had been very good reasoning by council to assume that the project would amount to a success, based on the outcome of the one in Tumbarumba.

“It’s very seldom that you don’t see someone on the Tumbarumba track. It allows for a whole age demographic to use and enjoy and I expect it to work out to be the same here,” she said.

Flying down from Queensland to be present for the event was BMX superstar Des’ree Barnes who spent a large part of the afternoon engaging with local BMX fans and signing bikes, helmets and other associated equipment.

Ms Barnes was officially the first to ride the track and open it to the public, with throngs of youths trundling after her in groups as she completed the first circuit. It didn’t take long for the multitudes to be swarming up and down the newly installed asphalt.

Ms Barnes said she was very happy to be in Tumut for the unveiling of a piece of infrastructure which will allow people in the area to embrace the sport. The seventeen-year-old said that it was the first time that she had assisted to unveil anything in her career and was glad to find herself in such a differing back-drop.

“It’s such a good experience to be here and I’m overwhelmed in many ways. I’m surprised that so many people have showed up,” she said. “I’ve particularly enjoyed meeting so many young people who love to ride.”

She said that it was a fantastic asset for the local community and in particular the youth precinct which would bring riders of all different skills and ages together.

“The track itself was pretty fast. It was a little scary having so many on the track behind me at the same time, and not riding my own bike made me a little uneasy, but it was fun,” she said.

She said that she looked forward to returning to the area in the near future.

“I like camping and water skiing and you guys seem to have the best of both worlds,” she said. “I’ve never seen the snow before so it would be great to come down through this way one day to do that too,” she said.

Eighteen-year old local scooter guru and Ground Up employee Levi Knight was particularly taken by the result of the pump track and couldn’t express enough about what a social and athletic compliment the project would eventuate to.

“This is really good for bike riders and kids of all ages together. We’ve never had anything like this in the past,” he said.

“It’s an amazing amount of work that has gone into this and it looks amazing and rides fantastic.

“It’s great that we have a council that invests in things that can benefit everyone including young people,” Mr Knight said.