UXBRIDGE: Organizers of a motocross race in Zephyr are revving their engines for the return of the event to the hamlet this summer.
Luke Dillon appeared before council at their meeting on the morning of Monday, Feb. 11 to discuss details of this year's race, which looks to build upon the success of last summer's inaugural event, which is run under the CMX banner of events.
Mr. Dillon told councillors that he needs to start contacting sponsors for the event, and his visit to council was with the hopes that the process for gaining approval doesn't drag out.
Among the changes to the motocross event for 2013, is the inclusion of a Saturday practice run to allow riders to familiarize themselves with the course, which is situated on Mr. Dillon's farm. The Saturday session would last four hours and with many riders taking to the closed course for the first time, it's prudent for safety reasons to allow them a practice session, contended Mr. Dillon, who added that no spectators would be permitted for the events on Saturday.
As well, Mr. Dillon asked councillors to allow for greater attendance at the event, increasing from 1,000 riders and spectators last year to 3,000 this year.
It was noted by Mr. Dillon that with last year's cap of 1,000 attendees, that some spectators were turned away from the event.
"There weren't a lot of spectators last year, because we had limited time to advertise, it was probably 60 to 70 per cent race families," added Mr. Dillon.
Additionally, it was requested that camping for the event start on Friday night to better facilitate riders coming from great distances to take part in the Saturday practice session.
"We'd like to start camping on Friday to accommodate those travelling from far away," Mr. Dillon explained. "It's hard to make it from Sarnia for a 10 a.m. practice."
It was later added, by Mr. Dillon, that on-line registry for the event will give organizers a better idea of what is needed prior to this year's event.
Responding to a question from Ward 1 Councillor Bev Northeast, Mr. Dillon has a detailed plan to inform his neighbours about the changes to the event this year.
"We would hold a public meeting, just as we did last year, and a letter drop within 5 km of the event to let people know about the changes," Mr. Dillon said.
The answer resonated with Councillor Northeast, who commended Mr. Dillon on his event last year.
"I was a supporter last year, but you stuck to the rules and did a good job," said Councillor Northeast.
Ultimately though, no decision on dropping the green flag was made by council, as they await a new special events by-law, which is scheduled to come before council on March 4, as Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor explained.
"Council shouldn't be giving any green light until we see the new by-law," said Mayor O'Connor.
The Mayor went on to speak highly of the event last year, during which she took part in trophy presentations.
"I was at your event last year and was amazed at how well run it was, and the amount of families with young kids that were there," commented Mayor O'Connor.