The Lions TT, Kyogle Motorcycle Festival and Casino Motorcycle Drags will return in 2015, but with some modifications that will make it “twice as good”.
A Kyogle Council debrief meeting last week with all stakeholders commended the event, which contributed a conservatively estimated $180,000 to the region, and welcomed its return.
The inaugural Lions TT was held in the first weekend of October over a closed section of the motorcycle-famous Lions Road from the NSW Border to Ripples on the Creek cafe. Neither Queensland nor NSW police agreed to road closures, but the NSW side was closed by council.
The event attracted 150 riders on the Saturday when there were two minor crashes. A third, more serious, crash early on the Sunday ended the event and the road was re-opened to all traffic.
Police, council, local businesses, residents and community groups at the debrief meeting were glowing in their support for the event and supported a future event, but recommended a number of modifications.
Although organisers have yet to reveal details of the reshaped event, they have declared it will be held a little earlier on September 19-20.
After concerns by police and emergency services, the “TT” title may be dropped as it gives the impression of a “timed trial” (even though it also means Tourist Trophy) which encouraged some riders to speed, the meeting heard.
Police on both sides of the border also told the meeting they would not agree to any future applications for closures on the Lions Rd. Instead, the organisers are considering “Hub and Spoke” tours starting and finishing in Kyogle.
The guided rides will include adventure rides on gravel surfaces, tar-only rides and a mixture using existing tourist drives with lunch or morning tea stops.
The Kyogle Motorcycle Festival will also continue with some amendments. Organisers said they would organise the event better after more than 400 people arrived to camp in the 200 available camping spots at the showgrounds.
Even though the live music entertainment was not well supported, it may return in 2015, along with a show and shine, jet car demo, children’s rides, a burn-out competition and trials riding.
The Casino drag event may also be modified to include side-by-side racing and timed events.
Other recommendations were mainly regarding earlier and more regular communication by the organisers with emergency services, residents and other stakeholders.
Kyogle Lions Club president Athol McQueen says they will support “anything that brings people to the town”. “All the feedback I received from businesses, community groups and visitors alike was positive. Many people said they just came for a look, liked what they saw, and would be back next year. Everyone needs to learn from this year’s event and start work on planning for next year. Next year will be twice as good.”
Kyogle Mayor Cr Danielle Mulholland saw the potential for the event, even using her annual Mayoral allowance to sponsor the music and entertainment.
“The event brought valuable dollars into town, and provided an opportunity to highlight the lifestyle benefits of the Kyogle Local Government Area,” she says. “It was great to see that everyone involved behaved themselves, and I can see that the festival has the potential to become a great annual event. I look forward to seeing everyone come back next year, and bring along their friends and families, and anyone else who they feel will enjoy what Kyogle has to offer.”
Lions TT organiser Casey Stringfellow told the meeting that he acknowledged they did not do the right things in some areas in the lead-up to the event, as they were still learning the processes and did not become aware of some things until late in the process. Organisers have not responded to calls for comment.
OWN A SLICE OF HEAVEN
If the Lions Rd is heaven for motorcycle riders, then there is plenty of opportunity to own a slice of this heaven.
Many of the properties along the route and in the area seem to be for sale.
We spent the past weekend exploring the area and stayed at Ripples on the Creek cabins which are opposite the now-closed cafe. The 100-acre (40-hectare) property is up for sale for $1.2m which includes access to the creek, two cabins, a three-bedroom house, an old dairy and a cafe/function centre which is only open for functions such as weddings.
Contact: real estate agent Ron Allen on 0400 050 238.