By Jess Baker
Motorcycle riders turned out in droves at Morgan Park over the weekend for the Pirelli Southern Downs Road Race Series and Queensland Road Race Champs RD1.
More than 130 riders from across Queensland participated in the series and championships, much to the delight of local accommodation and hospitality providers.
Owner of Rose City Caravan Park Darren Cox, a long-time motorcycle rider himself, said without the support of local businesses and the Motorcycle Sportsmen of Queensland, his business situation be dire.
“The recent shutdown, it did burn us,” Darren said.
“Occupancy went down about 60 per cent. While this race is on, we’re at about 90 per cent occupancy. It’s a blessing.”
Darren said he had been riding motorbikes for 45 years but only became a member of the “racing family” three and a half years ago, shortly after moving to Warwick to take over the caravan park.
He said he loved the camaraderie of the sport, as well as the competition and the thrill.
“Even though I don’t win, I still walk away a winner,” Darren said.
“In the times that we’re in, I’m extremely fortunate that they’ve embraced me as much as I’ve embraced them.
“It’s been a really good thing … having an outlet like this.”
Also racing at the weekend was professional motorcycle rider Anthony West.
The renowned athlete, who now resides at Warrill View, has been racing on the world stage since he was just 16 years old.
Anthony recently returned to Australia after a 20-year stint in Europe and, more recently, racing in the Brazilian Superbike Championship.
After a two-year break, Anthony returned to racing six months ago.
He said racing at Morgan Park was great practice for upcoming rounds of the Australian Superbike Championship.
After round five of the Australian Superbike Championship – which was to be held at Morgan Park Raceway from 20 to 22 August – was cancelled due to state border restrictions and Covid-19, MA steward Gregg Smith said an increasing number of riders were making their way out to Morgan Park.
“This track’s grown so much. The track’s grown, the facilities have grown, the people that run this track – the Warwick (District Sporting) Car Club – they just put in such a good effort,” Gregg said.
“It’s all like a gigantic loving family. We just want to keep growing and making things better.”
To find out more about upcoming events at Morgan Park Raceway, including the HRCC Historic Queensland Race Meeting on 17 to 19 September, visit www.morganparkraceway.com.au.