Please note: Tear-offs will be banned in the disciplines of Enduro, Motocross, Classic Motocross, Supercross, Off-Road ATV and Minikhana as of January 1, 2017.
Lately there have been lively debates in Australian Off-Road communities regarding the use of tear-off’s in competition, and with every possible environmental issue in motorsport, worldwide, constantly under the microscope of the general public, our sport faces some of the most significant environmental lobby group opposition of any.
A passionate advocate for Off-Road racing, farmer, and owner of Inside Dirt Magazine, Kevin Williams is a man that needs little introduction for those in the know regarding all things dirt in this country, and perhaps there is no better person to shed light on the full impact of the recent ban announcement. MA asked Mr Williams what his thoughts on the ban are.
“We need to be proactive about the environment and tear-off’s are becoming an issue globally. We’ve all known for a couple of years now that days were numbered for tear-off’s. Aside from tear-off’s being banned in Enduro and Cross – Country competition for the past few years, there are some venues in Australia where you simply cannot run tear-off’s, which has been the case for years.
“All the major (goggle) companies have a roll-off system and generally offer systems that can be easily retro fitted to existing goggles in addition to providing ripcord and electric versions. So, no one can say that they can’t get a roll off system easily in Australia. Coupled with that, the price comparison between tear-off’s and roll-off’s means that usually, roll-off films are far cheaper than tear-off’s!” he shared.
After some lightning quick calculator work, Williams started; “The average competition rider runs a stack of twenty tear-off’s per race. Now multiply that by one hundred and twenty riders over several races a day. That can be up to 5000 plastic tear-offs (on a very muddy day) at one MX Nationals meet!” he surmised.
Allan Halley is a Level 4 Official who frequently officiates at the Conondale Motorcycle Club, in Queensland, where goggle tear-off’s have been banned for well over three years. We asked Mr Halley how the banning of tear-off’s has affected riders in competition, to which he replied;
“The riders have accepted it, some are not happy about it, but they’ve accepted it. It’s just a part of racing at Conondale. It’s simple, the facility is a shared one, and to have the place covered in litter after an event was simply unacceptable. This year has seen the MX National’s held at Conondale in very muddy and challenging conditions, and despite not being able to run tear-off’s, all the riders seem to have survived okay! We simply cannot continue to run races just littering the place with plastic.
The thing to remember about motorcycle products is that they are always evolving and changing for the better, whatever the reason or bigger picture. Change is the nature of competition racing across the board.” Halley ended.
Kevin Williams concluded our conversation in what was a perfect summary of the reasoning behind the tear-off ban in Off-Road competition in Australia, by adding; “At the end of the day, we all need to be responsible enviornmental citizens and not just of motorcycling. We must ensure that we are trying to leave the environment clean and tidy for the future and changing from tear-off’s to roll-off’s is a clear example of that occurring. It’s a positive move ensuring the longevity of our sport in rural and country areas for generations to come.”
For further information regarding tear-off's or 2017 competition in general, check out the 2017 MoMS here