Rally star lends voice against rogue motorbikes on town common
Team Yamaha star Rodney Faggotter is joining forces with Longreach Regional Council to encourage motorbike riders to respect other users on the town common.
The Dakar Rally competitor and Longreach local said having unfettered access to thousands of acres of dirt tracks growing up had helped him reach the pinnacle of his sport; but a small minority of riders are being disruptive and endangering others on the common.
“Some of the younger guys – and it’s only a small element – are crossing the roads without looking, crossing the bridge at the Thomson River and doing burnouts, giving the tourists a hard time, that sort of thing. That’s pretty dumb, and really, it’s not that hard to go a bit further up the road and use the causeways and crossings.
“People can drive their cars there, so they can definitely ride their motorbikes there – there’s no need to be up in the more public areas.”
He said an accident on the common could jeopardise the freedom that the community currently enjoys.
“It’s only going to take one accident. They might run into a tourist in a van, they might harm someone or run into a pedestrian. One wrong move and we could lose all this common.”
The rally star will appear in a public awareness campaign for the Council to encourage people to treat the town common with respect.
Mayor Ed Warren said Council is struggling to tackle a range of issues on the 20,000 acre common.
“It’s a bit hard to know what to do. We’ve considered blocking off the bridge at Apex Park, but it would be a shame if what are basically only a handful of riders spoil it for everyone else who is doing the right thing.
“We’re also having a problem with fences – people are cutting holes in our fences out there. I don’t know whether it’s so they can sneak onto the common unregistered or just to take shortcuts, but it’s becoming a real problem and costing ratepayers a lot of money. Plus it’s making the area insecure for livestock.
“The other big issue on the common is dumping – the amount of illegal dumping that takes place out there is outrageous. Fridges, washing machines, burnt out cars – we’re finding all sorts of stuff. It’s disgusting.”
He said the town common was one of Longreach’s greatest assets.
“It’s a major factor in our liveability. It deserves to be treated with respect.”
Rodney Faggotter, who has practised on the common for over 20 years, agrees.
“You know, what we have here compared to what you have in Brisbane or Toowoomba – no one has this freedom that we have here.”
He has one message for anyone behaving dangerously on the common.
“I just hope – and I plead with them – not to be the reason that we lose the freedom that we have here.”