BMX Australia National Championships in Shepparton

By Liz Mellino

An economic impact of more than $3.8million is being predicted regionally as a result of this week’s BMX Australia National Championships being in Shepparton.

More than 1500 BMX riders will descend on the city for the event.

While yesterday’s practice session was cancelled due to the wet weather, riding is expected to start today with day one of racing kicking off tomorrow.

Greater Shepparton City Council’s sustainable development director Geraldine Christou said the council was expecting more than 3000 athletes and their support teams to make their way to Shepparton for the event with about 75 per cent to be visitors travelling from outside Victoria.

‘‘Many of our hospitality and accommodation services are booked to cater for our BMX visitors this week with an average length of stay in town expected to be seven nights,’’ Ms Christou said.

‘‘We are estimating an economic impact of more than $3.8million for our local businesses.’’

Parklake Hotel general manager Kelly Sullivan supported these figures, saying they were close to being fully booked for the week, which she believed would be a similar story with other providers.

Ms Sullivan said the hotel was expecting a positive result from the event with full accommodation impacting the hotel’s restaurant and other fast food and shopping complexes in town.

‘‘Our rooms are hotel style, so you can’t cook, so we are hoping that will bring guests into the restaurant or if not our restaurant, other restaurants and fast food places,’’ she said.

‘‘It also means casual staff are getting more hours this week, which the flow-on effect from that will be huge.

‘‘They will have more money in their bank account, meaning they can hopefully spend more money in the town.’’

This year marks the third time the event has been in Shepparton with entrants from close to 100 clubs around Australia travelling to take part in the event.

Shepparton BMX Club president Cameron May said the event was an exciting addition for the region, believing it would have a positive impact for everyone involved.

‘‘We have people coming from Perth, right up across to Cairns and some even coming from Tasmania,’’ he said.

‘‘The event is free entry, so we are hoping a lot of people from around the Shepparton area come and have a look and the club can score some new members ... a lot of people in Shepparton don’t know we’re here.’’

Mr May said the Shepparton BMX track featured a newly constructed 8m start hill for elite riders along with facilities for the thousands expected to attend the event as competitors, officials and spectators.

Entry to the BMX Australia National Championships at the Shepparton BMX track is free with food available to purchase on site. Training for the Nationals begins today and racing will run from tomorrow until Saturday.