BMX moves on as iwi pulls brakes on track

March 29, 2017

BMX moves on as iwi pulls brakes on track

The track at the foot of the volcano is making way for history. Photo: Supplied / Mountain Raiders BMX

An iconic bike track in East Auckland has been demolished, but BMX still has a place in the community.

The track on Pigeon Mountain that has existed since the early ’80s has been removed, so as to give land back to local iwi.

Executive officer of BMX New Zealand, Dion Earnest, said there were plans to upgrade the track, but the introduction of the Auckland Super City put a stop to this.

“This change in turn also included the process to return the volcanic cones back to iwi ownership.”

Originally at the foot of Pigeon Mountain in Half Moon Bay, the club was to be moved to a council-run park in Pakuranga that best suited its members.

“After long negotiations, the Lloyd Elsmore site was agreed on. From there the move was made and the club built a new national spec facility,” he said.

The demolition hadn’t left grass roots BMX in danger and there were no serious negative impacts on the sport, said Mr Earnest.

“The move away from the site has given the community, the club and the sport so many more positives.”

Mr Earnest is thankful for what the Pigeon Mountain track gave to his family and the community.

“My 11-year-old daughter is now a three-time BMX world champion as a result of starting BMX at the mountain.”

As the biggest club in New Zealand, a number of national, Oceania and world age-grade champions crafted their skills at the mountain track.

Mountain Raiders president Kevin Jago said the new facilities were great but hoped something comes from the Pigeon Mountain site.

“I just hope they do something nice with the area so people can enjoy it again.

“If they’re just going to bulldoze it out and plant a bit of grass, well then it’s probably quite sad.”

Scott De Silva, the manager for Tupuna Maunga, a council division responsible for looking after the volcanoes, said there were major plans to optimise the space.

The plan was to replicate what used to be there, he explained.

“The site is going to take the form of historical terracing, so there will be a number of large terraces.”

Mr De Silva said Tupuna Maunga was receiving varying levels of support but acknowledged people had the right to their own opinion.

For Mr Earnest, the demolition of the track was a sad time for those involved, but he believed the new Lloyd Elsmore track lessened that blow.

“We will miss it, but will always have the memories, pictures and friends we still ride with.”

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