BURDEKIN Race Club President, Ricky Gudge has highlighted the need for the club to “source younger members if our club is going to survive in the coming future”.
Speaking at a recent club meeting following the loss of longserving member, Past President and Life Member, Ray (Drover) Tapiolas, Mr Gudge said it was a sad note to start a meeting on, as he acknowledged the contribution made by Mr Tapiolas to the running of the club, “as well as having the privilege of being awarded life membership”.
“This has been an all too often occurrence and it is just a reminder that we must start trying to source younger members if our club is going to survive in the coming future,” Mr Gudge told the meeting.
Club members had formed a Guard of Honour at the funeral for Mr Tapiolas, which was held at the Club’s Home Hill complex a day before their July race meeting, when the main race of the day, the “Drover Cup”, run over 1830 metres, was dedicated as a memorial to “Drover Tapiolas”, as he was well known throughout the industry in the north.
Mr Gudge described the race meeting as “a great day with fantastic racing and wonderful patronage” and he said the inaugural “Drover Cup” was won by a trainer, who regularly supported their meetings.
“Acceptances delivered full fields in all but one race, support from owners, jockeys and trainers continues to grow and the track recovered well from the rain earlier in the week and from what I’ve heard, there has been nothing but praise for our track.”
Following the meeting on July 9, the club commenced work on an upgrade of their track, which will allow it to recover in time for the next race meeting in Home Hill at the end of October.
The Club President said track upgrade was likely to be completed by the end of that week. He said Racing Queens- land representatives, Warren Williams and Dave Morrison had inspected the works and were happy with the early progress.
“Matt Cotton (also from Racing Queensland) has informed me that the last of the required running rail will be des- patched with an arrival time of approximately two weeks,” Mr Gudge said, as work is also planned to replace the track’s running rails.
The installation of that project is being under- taken with the assistance of the grounds personnel at the Townsville Turf Club, after the Home Hill Club President had sought their assistance.
As part of its efforts to take the club forward, Mr Gudge said the Club had also had a meeting with the Burdekin Shire Council with regard to leasing further grounds to allow for the installation of another starting chute for future race meetings.