Engines revving for outback adventures

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By Cass Selwood

On any given day Blinman locals are more likely to be sharing the town’s main street with a flock of emus than with a throng of people. But for one day each year, two-wheeled competitors hit the town’s racecourse, red dust in their wake, and the crowds descend.

The Blinman Motokhana transforms the town, which has a permanent population of just 22, into the central focus of the northern Flinders Ranges region.

Blinman Motokhana founder, local resident John Henery (+ friend).

Devised by local resident John Henery, with the support of the Blinman Progress Association, the Motokhana draws participants from around the region for fun and friendly competition in a range of disciplines, all on the back of a motorcycle.

From barrel racing to the mono competition, the rescue race to the relay, spectators can be guaranteed of a great day’s action as competitors in both the junior and senior ranks show off their two-wheeled skills.

“The motokhana has a similar format to a gymkhana,” says John. “A horseback event that’s probably more familiar to most people.

“Most motokhanas are run as an offshoot of the local gymkhana, but I wanted this to be a standalone event, to create something fun for young people and families in the local community and attract visitors to the area.”

Last year saw 55 competitors take part.

The Blinman Motokhana, to be held on 21 July, is now in its third year and numbers have grown with each passing event.

“Last year we had around 150 people show up,” says John.

“Which includes about 55 competitors. Most were from the local area, but some came from further afield, including one bloke who drove all the way from Loxton in the Riverland to compete.”

“This year we’re hoping that we’ll get as many as 250 attending,” he continues.

“It’s a really fun day out for everyone. The kids love it, even the big kids like me, and it gives the local economy a welcome boost at a time of year when things can be pretty slow.”

Two wheels, dirt tracks, and a great day out.

The Motokhana isn’t only about motorcycle skills. It also gives local businesses and artisans a chance to showcase and hopefully sell some of their wares. It’s also a fundraiser the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

“The RFDS provide a critical service to communities like ours,” John says.

“And we’re really pleased to be able to make a contribution to keeping them in the air.”

Skills on show.

Some of the proceeds will also be used by the Progress Association to upgrade local facilities and promote the Blinman area’s many attractions, both natural and man-made.

A range of accommodation options can be found in the town of Blinman itself, or at one of the many family-run stations in the area, including John’s family property, Alpana Station. Free camping for self-contained travellers will also be available on site.

John and Keziah Henery.

The usual visitors to remote Blinman are of the bird variety.

The Blinman Motokhana will be held by the Blinman Progress Asscociation, on the Blinman Racecourse, 21 July 2018.

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