The Rotorua BMX Club's new track is starting to take shape and one local woman who is pretty handy on two wheels cannot wait to see the finished product.
The new, world-class track is being built on the corner of State Highway 5 and Waipa Mill Rd and passers-by looking into the construction area can get a good idea of just how impressive the finished product wil be.
Olympian and Kawerau girl Sarah Walker was in town at the weekend and was thrilled by the progress.
The reserve land, leased to the club by the Rotorua Lakes Council, was blessed in September 2017 and construction began in April this year. Now the berms and jumps are taking shape and carpark construction has begun on the track which has already been announced as the host of the New Zealand BMX Championships in 2021.
"Last time I saw it, it was still flat ground," Walker said.
"Driving in you get a bit of a sneak peek over the top, that got me excited, and then when you walk in there's a real excitement to it. It's a good feel."
She said the Rotorua BMX Club had sought feedback on the track from a wide range of riders throughout the whole process, which was pleasing.
"I've been part of the group that has put towards the design. There have been young kids right through to the elite and some of the older parents. Everyone has been consulted and that's really cool because at the end of the day it's going to be all the different riders that are using it."
One of the major goals of the club during this process has been an elite-level track which would allow them to attract and run successful local, national and international events, but also provide for all abilities and age.
It will be one of three tracks in New Zealand at an Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) standard with an 8m start ramp and an elite super-cross track. However, it will also include a 5m ramp and alternative routes throughout the track for younger and less able athletes.
"It's been really balanced and that's why I think it is going to be amazing, because it has been such a well thought-out process.
"The main thing you look for on a track is the way it flows, which you can't really tell until it's finished and you ride it, but from what the drawings show and what I've seen so far here it looks like it's going to be really good," Walker said.
The next steps are the final shaping of the track and adding the lime surface and asphalt to corners, which will be done by local track builder Craig Pattle, of Velo Solutions.
Construction of the two start ramps is also expected to begin shortly.
Project co-ordinator Melanie Short said the progress since September had been "awesome".
"When you go down there and walk amongst it you such a great perspective, it's going to be a great facility. The track design itself is very, very exciting and it will be bigger and better than anything I've seen."
Short said there was plenty of excitement throughout the whole BMX community and it was hard to set any definite timelines because the work often depended on having good weather. However, she was confident riders would not have to wait much longer.
"It's very weather dependent, but we will certainly be racing on it next year, before the end of summer, with the clubrooms to follow later in the year."
She said the club ran a BMX fundamentals course, the most recent of which had attracted more than 30 children.
"The club is humming, there's such an appetite for BMX in the community. That's at the community level, I anticipate lots of people looking forward to trying it.
"Being part of the already busy Waipa hub, the location is perfect. There is already a known pathway from BMX to mountain biking and it will further support the Rotorua strategy to be a globally recognised mountain bike destination."
Short said the entire project would be impossible without the financial backing of the community who had showed great support.
"There are local business with significant cash and in kind contributions coming from Red Stag, Permapine, Ray White, Spark Business, Opus-WSP, and Bespoke Landscape. Local signage and print company SuperDooper are also supporting with signage development.
"This is in addition to the significant community funding from NZCT, RECT, Lotteries Commission, One Foundation and from RLC for leasing us the land and providing the bridge connection," she said.