Manly Warringah BMX Club, which features riders from all over the Northern Beaches of all ages, is seeking community sponsors to support the local hosting of the final round of the AusCycling BMX State Series.
Club board member, Renata Radogna, told Manly Observer, “We have a huge sporting event coming up this September 3-4, which is the last round of the 2022 BMX State Series. There will be between 500-600 riders and their families! We are a small club, run by volunteers, and we are looking for sponsors for this event, to be able to run this event as smoothly as possible!”
So what does sponsorship of the club entail? Rebecca, club secretary, explained: “Your sponsorship will go towards running a successful event, track maintenance, prizes and, most importantly, funds mean that the club is able to give the junior riders of the club the opportunity to compete in a state-based event with the advantage of a home track.
“We are a not for profit organisation and need your support as we can not run a successful event without the help of the community. We truly value the ongoing support of our local community!”
Manly Warringah BMX Club is one of the oldest BMX clubs in Australia, and although it has relocated its track a few times since its inception, it has been based in Terrey Hills for over 20 years.
Fun fact: The Manly Warringah BMX Club was featured in the 1983 movie “BMX Bandits” starring a 16-year-old Nicole Kidman in her first feature film. Although most of the cycling scenes were filmed in Manly (and a few key locations around the Northern Beaches) the BMX track the police built for the club was situated in Hickeys Road, Penrith (now sports fields), because of filming convenience.
Manly Observer spoke to Brad Jhaye (President), Neil Cummings (Treasurer) and Erin McKnight, all of whom are regular BMX riders, about the historic club and the forthcoming big race weekend in September.
How many riders across the different age groups are involved with Manly Warringah BMX Club?
“We have approximately 140 active riders,” Neil replied, “but with Covid and the recent wet weather, numbers have tailed off a bit. They’re aged between two years old and…..”
“Let’s just say ‘masters’!” Erin interjected.
“Over 55s,” Brad declared, to group laughter.
“We have the national champion in the 40+ age group,” Erin revealed. “We are the home club for him – Seaton Spratt.”
“He’s over in France at the moment, competing in the World Championships,” added Neil.
Seaton, who raced as number 415, but now proudly displays the number 1 on his handlebars, won the final of the aged 40-44 men’s 20″ [wheel dimension] race at the BMX National Championships at Nerang, Queensland, on 19 December 2021.
Film footage of the race reveals he took off in first place and never relinquished his front-running spot until he crossed the finish line.
BMX State Series + Championships
The BMX State Series involves a sequence of races held over consecutive weekends at different BMX cycle tracks throughout NSW. In them, riders compete to top their age class.
“The series is an accumulation of points over the season’s races,” Neil explained. “There’s about eight to ten rounds throughout year, in clubs across NSW and ACT; that’s about 30 clubs. We’re holding the last round of this year’s race season, on September 4.”
“This area here,” Brad said, indicating the grassy hills surrounding the dirt racetrack at Terrey Hills, “will be jam-packed with tents. They’ll be selling merchandise too. There will be a lot of people watching!”
“It’s a qualifying series for the State Championships,” Erin elaborated.
“The Championship is at the end of October or beginning of November,” Neil added, “a one-off event where you earn your number in the top eight.”
The state-wide competition is overseen by AusCycling NSW, who issue the hotly-contested numbers for the top eight placings in the Championship finals, which carry a great deal of prestige.
On the rankings website, a message is displayed beneath the list of current elite: “Riders who received a 1-8 Title placing may only display the plate number within the year it was awarded or until the same Title event is next held.”
“For the state races we are hosting here [in Terrey Hills] in September, there’s going to be about 70 different age categories,” Erin said.
“There are about 30 – 40 super class pro riders,” Neil said, “and they are fantastic to watch! It’s well worth coming to see them. Eight riders, elbow-to-elbow, won’t give an inch! A fight to the death!”
“By the time they get to the first turn they’re hitting about 60kms/hr,” Brad said without exaggeration.
“No seatbelts!” Neil joked.
“Their bikes are in the air more than on the ground!” Erin laughed. “But I think the most exciting age to watch are the 15-year-olds,” Erin declared. “They just don’t have any fear so they go as fast as they can. They’re not worried about falling off.”
Rebecca told Manly Observer, “We are one of Sydney’s most family-friendly, welcoming bike clubs (in our opinion!). Our club, and BMX in general, has a strong community and family focus, hosts weekly kids coaching and race training sessions and runs fortnightly ‘Clubbie’ race meets.
“Our Club is a not-for-profit, with an active and well managed Committee. Members and kids regularly contribute to the on-going repairing and maintenance of the track and environs, which are open to the general public. Northern Beaches Council also provide us with support and assistance.
“Our members range in age from young kids of under 5yrs old, to big kids of well over 50yrs old! Boys, Girls, Mums, Dads – all are welcome and all join in the fun, the thrill and excitement of BMX racing.”
It’s surprising to find so many adults still riding – and competing – with the Manly Warringah BMX Club. It’s not just a kids’ sport.
Neil revealed he started BMX to join his two sons when they were younger, both of whom can now outpace him. The elder lad, Matteo, later demonstrates his aerial skills as he launches his bike off the track jumps to dizzying heights.
“I started in the 1980s,” Brad, now in his mid 50s, revealed, although he took a break for a decade or so to raise his kids, returning to riding in 2008.
“Mine is a mid-life crisis!” Erin chuckled. “It’s a lot more difficult than it looks, there are different technical requirements for each of our tracks.”
To sponsor Manly Warringah BMX Club, visit