Corben rises through the ranks

RISING motocross star Corben Weinert brought home a bit of extra luggage from his recent trip to Tasmania where he competed in the Australian Junior Motocross Titles.

The 16-year-old placed third in the 125cc division and now has his sights set higher, having outgrown the junior class.

“It was my first time in Tasmania and it was a great place to compete,” he said.

In a display of consistency, Weinert placed in the top three for four out of five rounds, saving his best for last by winning the final round.

“It was my last time competing in juniors and I’m really stoked that I came out with a win.”

Weinert started his campaign on the senior track two weeks ago in Bunbury and came first in the 250cc class and second in the 450cc class.

“I’m pretty happy with the result,” he said.

“I think my Dad and Pop were pretty surprised that I did so well on my first try in that class.

“I think they were pretty happy with how I did.”

Weinert said motocross was a sport he wanted to pursue for as long as he could.

“I’ll do it until the doctor says I can’t,” he said.

“I would love to get over east and ride on a factory bike and be paid to race.”

Weinert said when he wasn’t ripping around on his motorbike at a mate’s place and learning as he goes, he liked to don a bicycle helmet and hurtle down Albany’s tracks on his mountain bike.

“If I couldn’t ride a dirt bike I would ride mountain bikes instead,” he said.

“I rode in the Urban Downhill this year and I was coming first but crashed majorly and came in second.

“I’ve done national enduro competitions in Queensland too. I just really like the adrenaline.”

Weinert said he was done and dusted for competitions for the rest of the year, but was excited about competing in more senior races in the future.

“Motocross is a great sport and a great way to see new places and meet new people,” he said.

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Principal passes test

ALBANY rider and South Stirling Primary School principal Di Fry had a breakthrough win at the recent Cape to Cape endurance mountain biking event.

Over the four stages of the 210km race, Fry clocked in with a total time of 13 hours, 17 minutes and seven seconds to claim the Masters 3 Women’s division.

Fry has been riding competitively for nearly 10 years and said it all started when her husband bought a couple of hybrid bikes.

“I was a middle to long-distance runner for a long time and started getting too many injuries,” she said.

“I was doing shorter and shorter races and I felt like there was no point in doing it.

“So my husband and I bought a couple of hybrid bikes and started to do a lot of riding together.

“After competing in the Karri Cup in Northcliffe, my husband gave me a mountain bike for my 50th birthday and that was it.

“My strength is in endurance, and mountain biking became my sport.”

Fry has now competed in five Cape to Cape races, but this year was the first time she was rewarded for the long haul with a spot on the podium.

“This was my first time in a new age bracket and I’m definitely the baby of the group,” she joked.

“My previous group had some sensational riders and I had no chance of keeping up with them.”

Fry said she tries to get out for a 25km ride twice a week to keep in tip-top shape for her two competitive endurance rides each year.

“I stick to doing the Karri Cup and Cape to Cape each year for competitions,” she said.

“Cape to Cape is around 210km over four days and the Karri Cup is a 100km event.

“It’s getting longer and longer to recover so I’m not too sure how much longer I’ll be doing two big events.”

Fry said getting involved in mountain biking was something the whole family could do.

“The younger your kids are the more confident on the track and least likely to get hurt,” she said.

“If you trust your bike and trust yourself, you’ll be fine.

“It’s a great sport to get out exercising and to be out in nature.”

Fry said she had time to recover over the Christmas break and get back into the swing of training in time for the Karri Cup in April next year.

“Karri Cup is a fantastic event and has a real community spirit behind it.

“Albany is really missing out on having established mountain bike trails because places like Northcliffe, Margaret River and Pemberton are meccas for riders.”

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Centennial Park smoking ban mooted

ONE footy and two soccer groups have backed a draft policy proposing that game day smokers be banished to nine cigarette spots on the fringe of Albany’s vast Centennial Park sporting precinct.

In a report to be considered by a City committee on October 9, community engagement manager Julie-Ann Gray recommends a ban be slapped on smoking across the precinct that includes Centennial Stadium, and Albany’s main cricket, hockey, athletics and soccer and swimming facilities.

While Ms Gray believes there is a ‘medium’ risk that local media outlets will spread a perception of ‘over-policing’, she recommends that a media blitz follow in the wake of a February 2019 launch of the ban.

She further recommends that venue staff report on patrons’ “smoking/ non-smoking behaviour” and the City conduct an “audit” of cigarette butts before and after the ban’s introduction.

Ms Gray expects the ban will cost $23,000 to implement, including $6000 for radio advertisements and $3500 for cinema ads. Newspaper ads are also proposed.

Albany Sharks Football Club President Geoff Oldfield has offered his organisation’s “support in principle to having the Centennial sporting complex made a smoke free zone”.

“I would like to see sensible designated smoking areas with butt bins to accommodate smokers away from the main buildings and high use areas,” he told the City’s recreation services manager Samantha Stevens.

Great Southern Soccer Association Registrar Jos Pass has told Ms Stevens she supports a ban on smoking, except in designated areas as proposed under the policy, “if there needs to be such areas”.

Meanwhile, Albany Junior Soccer Association President Grace Knowlson has asked the City to prohibit smoking at all playing pitches, clubrooms and canteens when sport is being played.

Under the policy, Centennial Stadium and the 11 sports fields that surround it on the eastern side of the Lockyer Avenue/North Road intersection will have just two designated smoking areas.

The policy would also prohibit smoking at all outdoor events run by the City, and in and around Albany’s library, visitor centre, town hall, airport, Anzac Centre and Vancouver Arts Centre.

Ms Gray recommends that $6750 be spent on the erection of 27 ‘You can’t smoke here’ signs, and $2000 on eight ‘You can smoke here’ signs.

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Bloody battle fought

LOCAL martial arts teacher Daniel McGrath returned from Japan recently after coaching American mixed martial arts fighter Will “The Kill” Chope at a top-level Lethwei tournament.

Lethwei is a Burmese bare-knuckle boxing full contact sport known for being one of the most aggressive and brutal martial arts in the world, mainly because it allows fighters to head-butt their opponents.

McGrath said Chope performed well for his first foray into the bloody sport, while wearing his Albany Fight Fit Martial Arts Centre clobber.

“Will has done heaps of MMA, UFC and Muay Thai style fighting in the past,” he said.

“When he called me to ask if I would coach him for his first Lethwei match I couldn’t book my plane tickets quick enough.”

Chope faced off against seasoned Lethwei fighter Shan Ko, who originates from the sports birthplace, Myanmar.

“It’s a brutal sport and pretty bloody,” McGrath said.

“There wasn’t a win for the night since there weren’t any knock-outs.

“Will’s legs were pretty cut up from Shan’s kicks but he managed to get in a few head-butts and a knee to Shan’s face.

“Shan is one tough-as-nails guy.”

McGrath said the atmosphere in Japan’s famous martial arts arena, the Korakuen Hall, was electric.

“To meet other fighters of that level was incredible,” he said.

“I think Will is the second Westerner to fight Lethwei and he’s already lining up a fight for next year.”

McGrath said he first met Chope around eight years ago at the well-known Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket, Thailand.

“I was training in Thailand and it was an experience and a half,” he said.

“It really took me to a whole other level.

“Will heard that I was doing some crazy kicks at the gym and sought me out. I had no idea who he was at the time.”

The teacher became the student not long afterwards, with Chope coaching McGrath through his first fight.

“We’ve coached each other over the years and become great mates,” he said.

“Will even came to my gym for a few months earlier this year and ran some classes.

“The kids absolutely loved him.”

McGrath said Chope would return to the MMA scene next month in Seoul, Korea.

“I’m hoping to coach him there as well,” he said.

“To have him represent our gym on the global martial arts stage is an honour and the least I could do is coach him.”

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Vivian paves the way

ALBANY-bred cricketer Vivian Paver may have only played one game in the local A-grade competition, but the all-rounder is making his mark on the other side of the world with a batting average approaching that of the game’s greatest wielder of willow.

The former Goode Beach resident now revolves life around cricket seasons, with the year split between England and Perth.

With two matches left to play for Hutton Cricket Club in the Essex Cricket League season, his batting average sits at 99.92 runs, just 0.02 runs shy of the mark left by the great Don Bradman when he hung up the Baggy Green.

Paver has also been frugal with the ball this season, with a bowling average of 16.15 runs for each of his 39 wickets.

While pleased with his club-level success, the 28-year-old said he would be delighted to earn a place on a county team.

“Club cricket, which is where I’m playing now, is the highest level of amateur cricket available,” he said.

“Theoretically I could get selected for county, which is the equivalent of state cricket in Australia.

“Professional opportunities are difficult to come by but if I got the chance I would be thrilled.”

Despite having a masters degree in international relations to his name, the calling to pursue a living from cricket, as a player or coach, rings a little louder.

“I don’t have much desire to use my degree in a professional capacity, but it has helped shape my worldview,” he said.

“I’m very interested in my coaching development and seeing what opportunities that presents.

“I’ve already worked with a number of elite cricketers and I enjoy helping others maximise their potential.”

Paver said his love of the bat and ball started early on in the piece when living in Goode Beach.

“I’ve enjoyed cricket since I could walk and played with Dad in the backyard,” he said.

“I started off playing Super 8s in Albany and played Under 13s for Little Grove before I moved to Perth for high school.

“Cricket is full of challenges to one’s character. It tests me every day in different ways, and that is a daily battle that gives me purpose and a chance to improve.

“Batting specifically serves me as a kind of therapy, exercise, creative outlet and discipline all in one.”

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Sharing is caring at bridge

AMONG the slightly competitive players at Albany Bridge Club, it seems sharing is still caring – for the winners at least.

Carole Munro and Jane Ellen have both been playing bridge for around 30 years but have only teamed up as a pair in the past few years.

When they took out the recent Geraldine Sutherland Memorial competition, they had a simple solution as to what to do with the perpetual trophy.

The prized shield and clock would spend six months with each player before Munro and Ellen set out to defend their title next year.

Munro said the pair generally weren’t highly competitive players in comparison to other teams within the club.

“We’ve played together for a couple of years and we enjoy our game,” she said.

“It’s not the be-all and end-all to win a competition, but it’s definitely nice for a change.”

Munro said the club was the perfect way for people to make friends when moving to a new town, and with 104 members in the Albany Bridge Club, there certainly isn’t a shortage of new faces.

“When I moved to Albany in 1988, I was driving past the old clubhouse on Bolt Terrace and went in and introduced myself,” she said.

Ellen said she started playing bridge as a young mum when she wanted something to do to keep her brain working.

Both Munro and Ellen agreed that while bridge was a difficult game to master it was highly enjoyable to play.

“It’s a very complex game but very addictive,” Munro said.

“It stimulates your brain. It’s a card game with an edge.”

Munro said the Albany Bridge Club was calling for some young blood to join its ranks.

“We have a good mix of ladies and men but it’s definitely an older demographic,” she said.

“We have a beginners day on Monday s and no matter your level, people are more than welcome to tag along.

“If you can’t find a partner we can help organise one for you too.”

Albany Bridge Club is set to host a fundraiser for Albany Community Hospice on August 4 from 10am at their Mill Street clubhouse.

The entry fee of $25 per person includes morning and afternoon tea with all proceeds being donated to the Albany Community Hospice.

For more information or to purchase a ticket, contact Pam Minchin on 0419 193 006.

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Pay dirt at Sukey Hill

GREAT Southern motocross riders can take their skills to a new level at the Sukey Hill motorcycle track near Cranbrook following the announcement of funding to help improve facilities.

The Sukey Hill track is the home of the Cranbrook Districts Motorcycle Club that hosted a formal opening of a new scrutineering and first aid shelter at the site last
week during the Southwest Interclub Series.

State Government funding of $200,000 through the Great Southern Development Commission supported the construction of the facilities.

GSDC Chair Ross Thornton said the track was a significant asset for the Shire of Cranbrook and for the wider region.

“Sukey Hill is a quality motocross track that has the potential to host state and national events,” he said.

“Sports venues like this can attract people to events in the region and make a real contribution to the regional economy.

“Sukey Hill will also build the skills and competitiveness of the region’s motocross riders.”

Sukey Hill’s track design was guided by highly regarded New South Wales based motocross and supercross coach Greg Moss who lauded the terrain at the site as
well suited to a motocross track.

The scrutineering and first aid shelter are the first element of a four stage development.

Later stages include the construction of an ablution block for campers, track watering facilities and a clubhouse.

Sukey Hill will host the second round of the South Coast Tri Series on August 25 following Jerramungup District Motorcycle Club hosting the opening event this
Sunday.

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Sport blueprint gets tick

RESIDENTS in the western part of Denmark shire finally had their say on the masterplan for the development of sport and recreation in the shire, which was unanimously approved at a council meeting on Tuesday night.

The Sport and Recreation Masterplan was presented at Council’s June 19 meeting, but was voted down with a deferral motion passed instead, allowing time for residents and ratepayers in the western area of the shire to be included in the final submission.

In their belated consultation summary, representatives from the Nornalup community and Peaceful Bay Progress Association stressed the importance of the Frankland River, detailing the opportunities of the natural resources for consideration for future recreation plans.

Topping their list was the development of a Nornalup Trails Concept Plan to identify existing trails and develop new trails with linkages to the Nornalup townsite and to the Munda Biddi and Bibbulmun tracks.

“Currently, trails are in existence but better identification is required as well as better signage for existing infrastructure,” the submission says.
Peaceful Bay Progress Association also requested the prioritising of a recreation concept plan specific to their patch.

“The need to provide a safe and accessible means to the beach is the important issue for the community,” it says.

The PBPA propose to explore the area immediately east and west of the beach walkway at Peaceful Bay.

“It would include a picnic area overlooking the beach, fish cleaning facilities, graduated access to the swimming beach for people with disabilities, a pontoon swimming area and outdoor gym equipment and playground,” the submission details.

The masterplan includes a proposal for the development of an additional oval at McLean Park, the redevelopment of the Denmark Surf Lifesaving Club and developing a youth hub located in the Denmark townsite.

The masterplan will be up for public comment for the next 28 days.

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Race all downhill for mountain bike club

A DOWNHILL bike race that will launch from Monkey Rock was given the go ahead by Denmark Shire Council on Tuesday night.

The downhill speed event was proposed by the Denmark Mountain Bike Club and unanimously supported by council.

Club president Nathan Devenport said the Monkey Rock Speed Run had been on the cards since last year in the hope that it would be approved.

“It’s only going to be a small scale event to start with. If I got 50 riders I’d be stoked,” he said.

“We’re such a new club so the process of getting the event ready to propose to the Shire has been a learning process for us.

“We’ll have the chance to ride in the amazing Denmark environment.

“We’re pretty privileged to be able to do that.”

Mr Devenport said the club would need to put certain practices in place to stop the distribution of phytophthora dieback and to further protect flora and fauna in the reserve.

“We’ve been taking the Shire’s advice with planning the event,” he said.

“We’ve had meetings and site walks with the sustainability officer, Donna Sampey, to make sure we put proper protocols in place to protect the environment.”

Denmark Police have also put their support behind the race and will put their speed gun to good use to clock contestants during the race.

Shire Councillor Mark Allen said endorsing the club’s proposal was a no-brainer.

“The Shire had a can-do policy on this, which I think is just fantastic,” he said.

With one in five Western Australians owning a mountain bike, Councillor Kingsley Gibson also supported the speed run.

“Obviously mountain biking is a rapidly growing sport, offering the community health benefits,” he said.

Following the council’s decision, Mr Davenport said the club would begin advertising for the competition which will be held on August 5.

“All our club members have been aware the race would be coming up,” he said.

“But I think we’ll get riders from Albany and even a few from Perth.”

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All eyes on skate park

THE Shire of Denmark installed a live camera at the Denmark Skate Park last week, providing the opportunity for users to view conditions at the park in real time.

In recent years live streaming public venues via web cams has become common practice for many local governments across the country.

Shire director of corporate and community services Cary Green said the live stream enables users to view the skate park conditions at any time.

“It’s a popular practice,” he said.

“Surf cameras located at various beaches around the state including our Ocean Beach are great for surfers and tourists.”

Mr Green said the cameras will provide comfort for parents and an opportunity for park users to assess the conditions from home or anywhere they can access the internet.

“We acknowledge that the service may raise some concerns,” he said.

“We’ll be guided by community opinion on the issue.

“We’ll welcome any and all feedback on the project.”

To celebrate the new service the Shire will hold an art competition for a design to be used as a backdrop frame to the live cam window on the shire website.

The competition is open to Denmark youth aged 10 to 17 years old with the winner receiving a $100 voucher to Big Drop Surf Shop.

Entries can be submitted from June 25 until July 27.

For more information on the competition or have a look at the Denmark Skate Park live stream head to www.denmark.wa.go.au/ residents/denmark-skate-park.

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