By Monika Parnarauskaite
Motocross enthusiasts are in fear for the future of their sport as a number of popular training facilities are being forced to shut down due to noise complaints.
British youth rider Joe Cadwallader, 17, had no choice but to shut down his Shropshire track, Seven 2 Motoparc, in September. Cadwallader found that some residents were not happy about the noise during school holidays, despite the track also being open during working days from 10am to 4pm.
He said: “I think it’s a big concern. With lots of tracks closing down, there will be fewer tracks open but they will have a lot of people at them and people don’t like that.”
Track closures are becoming a major worry for those taking up the sport as a hobby, as they are often forced to travel hours at a time just for one day’s worth of riding. There is also the fact that training venues are equipped with safety features.
Fans have voiced displeasure that the spate of closures could have a negative effect on the next growing generation of motocross champions in the UK.
The increasing number of closures could also potentially be linked to the number of those involved in illegal riding. This comes after a recent report published by the Auto Cycle Union, in response to police action being taken against illegal riding in Thetford, East Anglia.
The ACU suspended one of their top Eastern Centre Motocross riders earlier this year. They have a zero tolerance approach towards illegal riding and are keen to spread the message.
The Union said in an official statement: “Any rider caught illegally riding or encouraging it on social media, will be subject to disciplinary action which may involve suspension of their license.”
Martin Barr, 29, a professional rider, said: “ It is really going to hurt the future of motocross in the UK as well as me. If we have nowhere to practice we can’t better ourselves and we will fall behind the talent from the other countries. And with tracks closing down I think a lot of people are riding illegally as they have nowhere else to go.”