A TV star has joined a campaign to support a motocross track and give youngsters somewhere safe to ride.
Young motocross and pitbike riders regularly flock to Garry Healey’s specially-designed course at Grange Farm in Great Casterton.
But after Garry closed the track for a few days in April following a noise complaint, police were called out several times to deal with youngsters riding illegally at Casterton Quarry.
Jonny Smith, star of Channel 5’s car show Fifth Gear, has joined the voices calling for tolerance of the track, saying it is a great way to focus youngsters and keep them safe and out of trouble.
“Garry’s track is a godsend,” he said.
“To have something like this which doesn’t cost any money is quite a privilege for the Stamford area.
“There has been some hostility towards the track but I think we need to cut it some slack.”
Peterborough-based charity ACE Training, which supports young people who are disengaged from mainstream education, regularly takes its students down to the track to ride and learn a variety of skills from former British motocross champion Matthew Barker.
Marie Carrick, who runs the charity with her husband Les, said: “Garry was very supportive straight away.
“The kids do a lot of riding at the track but its very educational as well. We teach them health and safety, basic riding skills and the theory portion of the driving test.
“They love riding around the track and it’s great to be able to offer that on a course designed for the purpose.
“It is something that the community should get behind.
“People moan about the noise but if kids like riding bikes they are going to ride them somewhere, so it is much better to have somewhere that is safe and legal like Garry’s track.”
Garry, who runs Stamford Self Store, has owned the land and the track on it since the 1980s. He does not charge anyone to use the track and has limited riding hours to weekdays and Saturdays before 5pm.
He said: “The kids have nowhere else to go and ride. I started to let them use the track when I heard there were problems with them riding at the quarry down the road, which is illegal and dangerous.
“I have told Rutland County Council that unless they find somewhere else for kids to go and ride I will let them use my land.
“It’s nice to give local kids somewhere to go, and there has been very little trouble here since they’ve been coming.
“I always makes sure they are quiet and responsible, and wouldn’t let anyone use the land if they didn’t treat it with respect.
“If there are too many people or they are being too noisy I tell them to go home.”
Leicestershire police spokesman Hugh Crouch warned youngsters of the risks biking in the quarry posed.
He said: “Some bikers have found the area to be a place to go and enjoy themselves but unfortunately that is causing a nuisance to the landowner and the local residents.
“Neighbourhood officers have been paying regular visits to the quarry and have handed out three Section 59 tickets.
“If a vehicle get two tickets within 12 months of each other it will be seized.
“People are better off biking on private land with the owner’s permission.”
Mark Forsyth, who writes for biking website Visordown.com, uses the track with his two children.
He said: “Garry’s track is a fantastic facility for the community.
“I was down there earlier this year on what was probably the hottest day so far and half a dozen kids had pushed their bikes all the way from Stamford just to go riding, which shows how much they enjoy it.
“Garry is very philanthropic by making his land available so that kids can stay out of trouble. He is not making any money from the service and he stops there from being any problems in the town with bikes.”