BMX club keen to get pumping

Hoping to get a pump track installed at Lloyd Elsmore Park in Pakuranga are from left, Mountain Raiders BMX club riders Ollie, Ruby and Hayden Briscoe, with Molly, Greg and Jack Buckley. Times photo Chris Harrowell

Ambitious east Auckland BMX bike riders are hoping to build a new sport facility for the community that could cost up to $500,000.

The Pakuranga-based Mountain Raiders BMX club wants to see a large all-weather “pump track” installed on a vacant piece of Auckland Council-owned land adjacent to the club’s existing track, a skate park, and the Lloyd Elsmore Park Pool and Leisure Centre complex.

Club committee member Hayden Briscoe told the Howick Local Board’s members about the need for a pump track in that location at their July business meeting.

Mountain Raiders president Greg Buckley says the club’s “ultimate goal” is to build a competition-spec pump track at the site.

“That would complement the action sports located in this area at Lloyd Elsmore Park,” he told the Times.

“We’ve got BMX and skateboarding, but pump track is the fastest-growing cycling sport and we have good reason to believe it will be in the Olympics within three or four cycles.

“It’s a really important part of our long-term strategy as a club to start pushing into that space, but it’s also a great way to engage with the community through wheeled sport.”

Briscoe says people of all ages will be able to use the pump track on scooters, skateboards, inline skates and bicycles.

“There’s more than 15 schools within 2km of this location,” he says.

“We think this is the perfect place to have it in conjunction with the skate park and it could be multi-use with all the sports clubs around.

“We think it would be used pretty much every day.”

A pump track is unique in that it can be ridden without the rider having to peddle.

“You make your way around it and the start and finish points are the same,” Buckley says.

“The design of the track is such that you’re able to ‘pump’ by using your arms and legs to push and pull the bike up and down over the jumps and use momentum to get around the track.

“It’s great for skill development for young and old.

“It’s great for young kids learning to ride or skate, but also all the way to international athletes and elite-level BMX or mountain bikers can use the space.”

Buckley says the club’s existing track is subject to a lot of weather vulnerabilities, especially during winter.

“Every season that passes we’re limiting people being able to use our facility over winter.

“It’s an opportunity missed. The sooner we can get the [pump track] facility up and running the sooner we can be riding our bikes year-round and hopefully netting the benefits from that.

“We’re chomping at the bit and keen as to get stuck in.”

The all-weather nature of the pump track is in its surface.

“The fact it’s asphalt means it’s not subject to washouts in heavy rain, as we experience on our lime-based surface at the BMX track, so that’s a big benefit,” Buckley says.

Briscoe says the pump track would be very low maintenance and would only require mowing the lawn around it, as “everything else looks after itself”.

Buckley says the pump track the club wants to build would be about 2000 square metres and from estimates it’s received it would likely cost $400,000-$500,000 to build.

“In terms of getting under way with funding we have some pretty strong leads with the other pump tracks that have been funded throughout the country.

“We’re keen to work alongside the council and any other community organisations that have the same vision we have and want to see it become a reality.”

People keen to help the pump track project come to fruition can email volunteer@mtrbmx.co.nz.