An old quarry in Cambridgeshire could get a new lease of life as an epic outdoor sports activity park with motocross practice tracks built by circuit designer extraordinaire Johnny Douglas-Hamilton.
Motocross practice tracks. Every year the community bemoans the lack of them and every year we sadly hear about the closure of one or more. But this is one of those, unfortunately, rare motocross practice track articles that’s good news. But there’s a catch. Your support is needed.
There’s a planning application for a new motocross practice track in the works for Yarwell near Peterborough. And it’s for a year-round facility – now there’s certainly not enough of them.
Dirt World’s proposal is a venue that includes motocross practice tracks, enduro and trials riding; and tracks for mountain bikes. But it doesn’t end there with the addition of a 4×4 track, mud running, cross country running and general hire for corporate training days. It’s a huge world of dirt that’s been years in the making.
There will be jet wash bays from the get go and then coming on-line later will be log cabins for the café and all the accompanying facilities. It will be fully marshalled and the partners behind Dirt World say they even plan to hire out equipment and offer training.
But what about the off-road motorcycle facilities?
With the public’s grossly inaccurate perception that anybody that rides a dirt bike is the scum of the earth criminal, they…or should I say “we” have an ongoing fight on our hands.
We all know the reality of motocrossers is the very opposite. The good people involved in our much-loved sport of off-road motorcycling are some of the most dedicated, healthiest and fittest sportspeople on the planet.
Yes, we like to live life on the wild side, but off-road riding takes a huge amount of dedication, with riders young and old spending all week looking forward and preparing for riding at the weekend.
“Our vision has always been to break the stigma associated with off-road motorcycle riding,” said Dirt World’s Dominic Martin. “We will do this by having an elite venue comparable to Belgian facilities where families can have fun and professionals can train and be coached.”
Facilities like Dirt World are sorely needed, not only for the off-road motorcycling community but also to show the general public we’re not hell-raising scramblers.
The purpose-built courses designed by Johnny Douglas-Hamilton – that’s the guy that originally designed and built Matterley Basin you know – aims to cater for all abilities. There’s a kids / beginners course for youngsters to develop their riding, and for beginners to try the sport using Dirt World’s riding school.
And there’s a larger course for the more experienced riders to enjoy the sport and build and develop their riding skills, stamina, physical and mental endurance, concentration and more.
The site was an AMCA track back in the ’80s and Dirt World tells us it has the perfect soil type for motocross, the mix of clay and sand make for a perfect surface. “We spent a long time finding a venue and I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed, with lots of elevation change and great soil makes a perfect all year venue,” said Dominic.
But don’t just take their word for it, track designer Douglas-Hamilton agrees: “The soil is excellent and there are some elevation changes to be used as well as greenery to give the place character. I do think if I take care of my side of it properly I see no reason why you won’t have one of the best tracks in the country.”
Dirt World has applied for 75 days motocross use per calendar year – practice only – on Wednesdays and Saturdays for MX and they plan to open rain or shine, year-round.
The hard work put into the planning application by the partners Dominic Martin and Thomas Brutnell has attracted some important support. I’ve seen many supporting letters from not only local businesses and clubs with large memberships but also backing from the ACU who say there are “very few tracks of this calibre around the country,” and the MCF which added that Dirt World would be a “huge asset” to off-road motorsport.
However, there’s another vital part of the puzzle. Dirt World needs your support to show that the demand and support from the grassroots are there.
“With our experience of the planning process, we can see why tracks close and new ones don’t open,” said Thomas. “It’s an incredible amount of hard work and financial investment. The same determination needed to be at the top of your game on the track has been needed for the application process. Without support, new venues will not be given planning permission and many existing venues have to fight to remain open. Please show support by filling in this short form [hit the link here], it’ll only take a minute of your time and could be crucial to the success of the application.”
Go here to offer your support and I encourage you to add a comment on our Facebook page in support of Dirt World. I’ll update everyone in the New Year after the planning application hearing.