Smith dynasty delivers two decades of loyalty
FOR every aspiring young athlete to join a new sporting club there's a devoted parent dragged along for the ride.
When Pete Smith's 13-year-old son Lee decided he wanted to take up BMX riding, Pete began a life-long association with the sport.
Over the next 23 years, Peter became a dedicated volunteer, committee member and eventually club president with the Ipswich BMX Club.
Now aged 36, Lee has taken over the role of club president of the Ipswich BMX Club, with his daughter Alissa the third generation of the Smith family to take to the track.
"He (Lee) was the main instigator," Pete Smith said.
"I was into road racing and he dragged me along."
Last year Smith retired from Kempe Industrial Valves after 21 years with the company.
Smith said his employers were sad to see him leave, but with a 70th birthday approaching in 2016, it was time to move on.
Now every Friday, Smith volunteers as berm steward at the Ipswich track, making sure everything is safe for the young riders.
"I don't look at it as work," he said.
"It's extremely rewarding, you look at kids who started at two or three and watching them develop into senior riders is quite exciting."
Over the years Smith said BMX as a sport had gone through a number of changes.
"It's changed a lot since it was added to the Olympics," he said.
"It's quite an interesting sport and very family orientated. It's rather unique."
The Ipswich BMX Club continues to grow with the recent Southern Zone Shootout Series drawing huge numbers to the local track.
"We had around 650 riders when we hosted round three last month," Smith said.
"The inter-club competition is really about getting people together.
"It's given a number of our riders the incentive to chase the title around the circuit."
In two weeks, 20-30 riders from the Ipswich BMX club will travel to Bathurst to compete in the 2016 BMX National Championships.
Look for more on the Ipswich riders preparations in the QT.
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