The inaugural Lions TT recreational ride on the Lions Rd is being held this weekend and despite some changes to the format, latecomers are welcome, while all riders should be aware of a few warnings.
First to the welcomes:
Last weekend, the Lions TT organisers notified that the Queensland side of the recreational ride on the Lions Rd from near Rathdowney to Ripple Creek in NSW would not be a closed road. However, the event has not been called off, only modified.
Organisers say that rather than cancellations, they are receiving more inquiries to participate in the Lions TT event. They say they have more than 200 riders registered and expect that to grow to 300 on the weekend. All latecomers are welcome.
Organiser claim riders are coming from as far south as Melbourne, west from Adelaide and north from Townsville to participate.
Cost is $99 for a day or $179 for the weekend which also gets you unlimited runs on the quarter-mile solo and non-timed sprints on the Casino airport runway. If you just want to do the Casino sprints, it will cost $50. EFTPOS facilities will be available at Rathdowney. Cash only at Casino.
Another “welcoming” surprise is the offer of two $1500 Seven Friday watches as prizes. One is for the Sunday Show and Shine in Kyogle and the other will be allocated randomly to a lucky rider in the closed-road section of the Lions Rd.
A reconnaissance ride to the Lions Rd this week showed strong support from locals for the event and for motorcycle riders, with some reservations and apprehension about the untested event.
Spectators are also welcome to watch the start and end of the Lions Rd ride – no spectators are allowed along the route – and to attend the Casino sprints and the Kyogle motorcycle festival for free.
Now for the warnings:
Riders have been warned that the Lions TT event is not a race and that they must ride within the speed limit. They should also note that there is only one premium fuel pump at Rathdowney, so they should fill up before arriving. There is also fuel at Woodenbong, Beaudesert, Kyogle and Wiangaree.
Riders have been warned to expect a strong police presence on both days. Riders should ensure they do not break any rules and that their bike is fully road-compliant.
Police have also warned that the Queensland side of the Lions Rd is a popular destination for school holiday campers with more than 200 families around Andrew Drynan Park.
Queensland Police media say they are concerned the event organisers “failed to undertake an adequate level of planning and risk mitigation to address potential safety issues”. They point out that there have been more than 15 crashes on the roads in the past seven years including one fatal.
However, Lions TT organisers say they will have 16 marshals along the route and they will stress to each rider that the event is not a race.
One organiser said this year’s event should prove to authorities that the people participating are “your average motorcycle enthusiast, not professional racers”.