Owner urges care at Southern Downs motocross park
AFTER a spate of accidents at popular Southern Downs motocross destination Gap Creek Farm, co-owner Ben Window wants people to remember to respect the danger of the sport.
The CareFlight helicopter has been called to the park fours times in the previous two months, the most recent being last weekend when a 16-year-old female was airlifted to Brisbane after fracturing her right femur.
“The ambulance comes from Warwick and the paramedics then make a decision if air transport is necessary, depending on the injuries and the available facilities close by,” Mr Window said.
“It’s too far for an ambulance to come from Toowoomba, so it’s often easier to airlift the patients out.”
Mr Window said everybody who comes to the park is briefed on the aspects of the track and the park as well as safety.
“Everybody is required to sign in and receives an induction about where to ride, where to take it easy and the difficulty and conditions of the tracks.
“There is a report written for every incident and at the end of every weekend, we (the owners) sit down and debrief about the incident reports and determine whether there is anything we can do to make the track safer.
“If an accident has happened in a particular spot, we’ll check back to see if any other incidents have happened there and see what changes need to be made.
“We have often have changed areas of the track to fix trouble areas and are constantly looking at things that need changing, moving fences, removing barbed wire and pickets – clearing any items that may cause injury.
“No accidents come to mind where we thought, ‘that was our call’.”
Given the popularity of the sport and the fact that 70% of visitors to the park are from Brisbane, Mr Window believes accidents happen due to a number of factors.
“People need to know their limits and the capabilities of their bikes,” Mr Window said.
“These machines are so powerful these days and you need to be in control the whole time.
“A lot of accidents happen later in the day, people have riding all day, they’re fatigued mentally and physically, and that’s when accidents happen.
“People need to make sure their bikes are in good working condition and must ride to their skill levels.
“The two rider groups that have the most accidents are middle aged men 40-plus and young men.
“The old guys probably rode bikes 20 years ago, but aren’t used to the power of the machines these days and the younger guys are so cocky and fearless – they see the pros doing things and think ‘I can do that’.
“It's an exciting evolving sport – there's something about it similar to riding a horse, the freedom and excitiment.
“ I think it harks back to our days of exploration.
“Our is a harsh and rugged countryside and the motor bike gives us acccess to that countryside – like a horse once did.
“Please have respect for yourself, and repsect for the power of the bike and the track, have a good look aound before you start having a proper go.”
Gap Creek Farm is also about to develop the site even further to make it more attractive to sports tourists.
“We’re about to start work on a brand new amenities block for the park, using all local trades and services,” Mr Window said.
“We have development approval for the whole property, the council really good to deal with – very pro development and happy to work with us.”