New mountain bike tracks to help boost economy

GLADSTONE could host 24-hour mountain bike races and attract international visitors if new mountain bike trails achieve their potential, according to local mountain bike riders.

But for now, the group will settle for getting tracks into shape and growing its member base, with a view to hosting its first event, for riders from across Queensland, in 2015.

"We'd like to create something with a reputation, that has different other trails around," said Gladstone Mountain Bike Club member Chris Carter.

"We'll make them bigger and better, and it'd be great to have something big and special for people from round the state to ride in."

The Koowin Dr, Kirkwood, site will be developed over a five year period to include mountain bike trails suitable for all levels of riders.

Club secretary Mark Spearing said the tracks could be ready to host a region-wide race as early as next year.

"Gladstone has some really top quality riding talent," he said.

"It's important that Gladstone has this facility so it keeps up with the sport and how it's progressing elsewhere and in the region."

In its meeting on August 19, Gladstone Regional Council indicated some infrastructure funding would be considered.

But local mountain bike enthusiast and owner of M1 Cycles Matt Jenkin warned a lot of volunteer hours and other resources will be needed to make the vision for events in Gladstone a reality.

"I'm a passionate mountain biker- I love the trails. You get off the road on the trails, and you're free," he said.

"I think it's a good thing. It's going to be very hard...everyone's go to get behind it that's interested."

The tracks were approved by Gladstone Regional Council.

Topics:  economy gladstone sport mountain biking tourism

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