Media Release – Hansard for the Legislative Assembly from 30 July 2019

The following is an extract from the Hansard for the Legislative Assembly from 30 July 2019 – words from Mr GREG PIPER (State MP for Lake Macquarie):

“There are a thousand good reasons to visit Lake Macquarie, but tonight I will inform the House about just one of them. A week ago I visited the Awaba Mountain Bike Park, which is operated by the Hunter Mountain Bike Association. It is not the first time I have been there to open a new part of the facility or to deliver some good news on funding assistance—and I am very hopeful it will not be the last. Nestled in the spectacular Watagans National Park in the west of my electorate, the club has been quietly and efficiently creating a world-class destination for mountain bikers. The trails not only cater for the large mountain biking community in the Hunter region but also attract hundreds of visitors from Sydney and elsewhere every weekend. The club has hosted State and national race events.

When I visited the park in September last year it was to announce that I had been able to help to secure $450,000 for the club from the State Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund. Thank you, State Government! That money is being used to build four completely new trails, expand others, install better signage and seats at rest points, improve the access road and event hub and create better trails for experienced riders. Among those new trails was one for adaptive MTB, which is the term given to the modified bikes used by disabled riders. When I was there I met a man called Hank Duchateau, a disabled rider in a custom-built three-wheeler. Hank and his wife live in Coffs Harbour but they regularly make the five-hour trip to Lake Macquarie so Hank can ride or compete at the Awaba facility.

Last week I was very pleased to have been invited back to be part of the official opening of another new track that the State funding has allowed for. The development trail is purpose built for a broader riding ability including families, children, beginners and young riders with a disability. The new trail is not just providing a world-class venue for families who like a casual ride in the national park but also introducing a new generation to competitive mountain bike racing. The Hunter Mountain Bike Association is the oldest of its type in New South Wales. It was formed in 1985 and held its first major event—the Paterson Classic—in the Hunter Valley to promote recreational and competitive mountain biking. In 2007, after a year of negotiations with the Forestry Corporation of NSW, the club was granted access to a large section of Watagans forest, which we now know as the Awaba Mountain Bike Park.

The initial trails were built by volunteers under the oversight of Forestry. They included general recreational trails for families, beginners and children and also more challenging cross-country and downhill trails. Those trails quickly became popular in the booming mountain biking community and enthusiasts from around the State came to use them. The club has continually sought to improve its trails, both old and new, and gained more national attention when it recently hosted national competitions in the downhill and cross-country disciplines. I should add that while all the work on the trails is done by volunteers, each trail needed to go through a Federal approval process and was guided by environmental impact statements from qualified ecologists to ensure that no damage was done to the flora and fauna of the national park. As I mentioned earlier, a dedicated trail for adaptive MTB riding by disabled riders was completed in 2016. The 1.6-kilometre track is used for both social and competitive rides and I am told it offers some exhilarating downhill sections for disabled riders. The Hunter Mountain Bike Association boasts a number of national title holders and world champions within its ranks.

While the club has done a tremendous job in promoting an active and healthy lifestyle, it is also doing a fantastic job in promoting the Lake Macquarie region. As I mentioned, every weekend the Awaba trails are attracting hundreds of people from the Sydney area and from areas further afield. Many visitors come in groups and stay nearby for the weekend, so the club is not just providing an all-inclusive world-class sporting venue; it has also created a genuine tourist destination for mountain bike enthusiasts that is helping to put Lake Macquarie on the tourist map. While I earlier acknowledged the funding assistance from the Government, I should also acknowledge DPI Forestry, Lake Macquarie City Council and the many volunteers who have assisted the club in so many ways. In particular, I acknowledge the tireless efforts of the club’s executive including Clint Musgrove, Dallas Barham, Andrew Hardy, Rohan Betts, Dean Kozlik, Coleen Boyes and Andrew and Paula Gresham. I say well done to all involved”

Media Release – Development Trail Opening – Sunday 21st July 2019

The Hunter Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) and Lake Macquarie City Council are excited to announce that the new Development Trail at Awaba Mountain Bike Park will officially open on Sunday 21 July 2019.

The new trail is proudly funded by the NSW Government in association with Lake Macquarie City Council, Hunter Mountain Bike Association and Forestry Corporation of NSW.

The Development Trail is a specially designed track that enables wider community access to the beauty of Lake Macquarie’s forests. The trails will accommodate riders of all abilities including beginner riders, young children and riders living with a disability.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said this new community asset is the result of a truly collaborative effort across a number of stakeholders to provide Australia’s first mountain bike trail purpose built for the whole community to use.

“Lake Macquarie has a strong offering of active sports tourism and cultural experiences and this new trail provides even more opportunity for visitors to discover our City’s adventurous side.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro congratulated Hunter Mountain Bike Association and Lake Macquarie City Council on the trail which he said was funded with the help of a $450,000 grant from the Stronger Country Communities Fund.

“I’m delighted to congratulate the Lake Macquarie community on this new Development Trail which will give more people living locally the chance to get outdoors and get active while enjoying the spectacular natural beauty of this region.

“Communities are seeing real results from the investments this NSW Government made last term, in this case, it’s the addition of quality sports infrastructure that will give local youth a place to recreate and that will attract tourists who go on to spend at local cafes and shops.

“The now $400 million Stronger Country Communities Fund has been a huge hit in regional NSW and it is transforming community spaces but also providing a much needed stimulus to regional towns and cities.”

When complete, the Mountain Bike Park development will include a new all-abilities gravity trail, an all-mountain trail, a flow trail and upgrades to signage and trail features (Bridges, shade structures, seating and trail heads) – maintaining the Awaba facility as Lake Macquarie’s world class mountain biking jewel.

The construction of the Development Trail was made possible by the award of a NSW Government Grant in 2018 through the Stronger Country Communities Fund. The Grant application and subsequent build is being managed through a collaborative partnership between HMBA, Lake Macquarie City Council, Forestry Corporation of NSW and the NSW Government.

Details of the opening

Date:   Sunday 21 July 2019

Time:   11am

The opening will precede a club race day for both downhill and Cross Country. Invitees are welcome to stay and enjoy the spectacle. The main trail will be open to the public from 11.30am.

Place:  Entry to Park – Corner of Mt Faulk Rd and Jenkins Rd, Cooranbong NSW (Between Freemans Waterhole and Cooranbong)

Coffee and snacks will be available at the event.

Dress: Awaba is located in the Australian Bush. Attendees are encouraged to wear closed in        shoes. Other creepy-crawlies are usually dormant at this time of year.

HMBA Contact: Clint Musgrove (Club President)

Phone: 0402 032 283

Email: presidenthmba@gmail.com

2019 MTBA Awards

Now rest assured that we didn’t let the 2019 MTBA Awards slip by unnoticed, just with lots of event going on locally since they were announced we haven’t had the opportunity or clear internet / social media space to give them the attention they deserve – and they do deserve a lot as HMBA was very well represented in the list on the night.

Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) honoured the mountain bike community at the Annual Awards Night in Bright on Thursday 4th April during the 2019 MTBA National Championships.  A total of 40 awards were handed out with the inaugural MTBA Legend Award given to one of Australia’s greatest mountain bikers, Sam Hill.

Head here for a full list of winners: MTBA Award Recipients

The awards of most significance to HMBA are below:

Junior Female Downhill Rider of the Year –  Ellie Smith
Elite Male Cross-Country Rider of the Year – Cameron Ivory
Junior Female Gravity Enduro Rider of the Year – Ellie Smith
NSW Club Volunteer of the Year – Coleen Boyes
Commissaire of the Year – Mark Welsh
Friends of the Trails – Hunter Mountain Bike Association
Community & Inclusion Award – Break the Boundary (HMBA are a Member Club)
Power of Partnership Award – Hunter Mountain Bike Association Forestry Corporation of NSW Lake Macquarie City Council
Performance of the Year – Cameron Ivory

What a huge effort from all involved and well-deserved recognition – now who wouldn’t want to be part of such a high achieving Club? 🙂

GLENCORE SUPPORT FOR HMBA JUNIOR MOUNTAIN BIKERS

We’re pleased to  announce that Glencore has generously provided funds for the upgrade of our Junior Mountain Biking Race Equipment.

Through its Junior Sports Development Program, Glencore awarded HMBA the funds required to upgrade the timing gear, two-way radios and PA system.

HMBA provides trails for all abilities at the Awaba Mountain Bike Park and hosts race events for Children and Adults at Awaba, Singleton and Dungog throughout the year. The Club continues to promote Junior development and provides periodic coaching sessions and monthly racing opportunities for Junior shredders who are old enough to ride.

The club is very grateful for the awesome assistance from Glencore and humbled by their generosity. We’re very proud of our Hunter Valley presence, our community and our new relationship with Glencore

“New” Carpark Open for Business

Just in time for the 2019 Easter weekend, our “new” carpark is finished and open for business.

Whilst technically it is not new, it has been significantly reshaped and rebuilt by Rick Kehoe and his trusty crew, including our DH Coordinator Coleen, their faithful mutts and a few other Club Members, to increase the capacity and improve safety in the Park.

We will provide a more detailed report to update the Awaba MTB Park project soon, but for now get out there and enjoy the cracking weather!

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Announcement of 2019 HMBA Annual General Meeting

Hunter Mountain Bike Association will be holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Awaba Mountain Bike Park on Sunday March 17th 2019 at 9.30am.  The AGM will be held on the combined DH and XC club race day, with the usual XC race start time to be delayed until 10.00am.

The AGM is important for all of us to ensure that there is an active and effective committee representing the wishes of the Club Members. We sometimes have an issue with getting enough members along to hold a “proper” AGM, so we encourage you to make the effort and be involved. As part of the meeting we will be speaking about what we have achieved over the past year and looking forward to what we want to achieve over the next 12 months. If you want to have a say in the future direction of the club, whether it be racing, trail development, social rides, other events, please come along and have a voice.

We’ll also be electing our executive committee for the new year, so if you want to get more involved, or have a say in who makes the decisions for the club, this is your chance!  Don’t worry, you wont be coerced into a role if you really don’t want to as most of the current committee are happy to continue in their current roles.

Apart from the executive positions, there are general committee positions that you don’t need to be elected into, just turn up at our monthly meetings.

In the event that you are unable to attend our Annual General Meeting on Sunday 17th March but would like to vote in the executive elections by Proxy, simply send an email to presidenthmba@gmail.com by 6pm on Friday 15nd March outlining your vote and attaching the proxy document linked below:
NOTE: This document is to be used by current HMBA members only to appoint a proxy. A proxy is allowed to vote on behalf of a member if a member cannot attend a meeting.

 

2019 AGM Proxy

Awaba Mountain Bike Park Project – Car Park upgrade

So just why is the main car park closed – well the following pictures should answer that question.
 
As part of the overall Awaba Mountain Bike Park project the Club needs to deliver some important improvements to the infrastructure to better set up the venue for years to come. When the car park is finished it will be less prone to erosion problems, provide improved preservation and encouragement of the native foliage around it, and allow for a more structured parking plan. Future major events will also benefit from this upgrade, including increased (level) room for competitors to use as pit area, etc.
 
To help us achieve the best final outcome we really need people to stay off the area until the koppers logs and top dressing of gravel are done in the next two weeks. To help with this we have provided an alternate way to access the trail head – follow the bunting and arrows.
 
Along with the Down Hill finish area this upgraded car park will present well to new users visiting the Awaba trails, and will showcase what the ultimate goal is with the whole park. In the meantime we are also continuing work on the new trails – an update on these will be provided soon.