If you build it they will come
There’s no sweeter news to a track junkies ear than word of a new circuit opening its doors to the motorcycling masses. With Broadford State Motorcycling Complex and Phillip Island race track being well established fixtures on many Victorian rider’s calendars it was refreshing to hear that a third option is now available in the State’s northern most region. The Murray Valley Training Co (MVTC) runs track days at the Motorsport Training Australia Campus that is located in proximity to both NSW and Victoria, and represents a different layout from any of the other options on offer in either State. The track was constructed for students undertaking courses in Motorsports Technology and Automotive Performance at Wodonga TAFE, and presents as a perfectly smooth and technical 1.6km testing facility.
Thankfully for the motorcycling public, this venue has now expanded its operations to deliver track day events under the management of former Victorian Supermotard and Dirt Track Champion, Chas Hearn. In line with the Victorian racer’s philosophy of developing road racing talent at the grass roots level, sessions are set aside for Junior riders and side car outfits at rotating events. Although Chas Hearn Racing (CHR) has only been offering track days at MVTC since the beginning of the year, they’ve attracted the support and interest of motorcyclists both local and interstate; I rolled up to a recent MVTC track day to witness more than 60 riders signing on to sample the new track.
On-track tuition, larges doses of track time, and low prices are largely responsible for their strong turn outs at every event, but it’s the friendly atmosphere and dedicated work of the CHR Team that keeps people coming back for more.
Where is it?
The Murray Valley Training Centre is conveniently located just off the Hume Highway before Wodonga. Take the Yarrawonga B400/Logic Center Exit off the HWY and follow the MVTC signs to the track. The circuit is situated within the Wodonga TAFE at LOT 249 Albertson Road, Barnawatha North 3691.
General Track day spots are just $135 and for an extra $110 you can get a full day of coaching that includes onboard footage from our coach.
Sidecars are $160 while Junior’s pay just $125
The cost of a daily licence from MA for insurance purposes is $25 or alternatively you can purchase an annual licence for $105.
The CHR team provide a step-by-step individualized coaching program which benefits from HD cameras fitted to each of the coach’s bikes that are viewed in between sessions to assess each student’s actions on track. The focus is on body position, vision, lines and basic motorcycle set up (e.g. suspension, pegs, bars) with staff on hand to assist with basic suspension tuning to ensure each student can get the most from their track day experience. Reference points are also marked around the track to give riders the opportunity to see the difference between road and racing lines.
Regular coaches include Anthony Nicolo, a State level club racer, and Chas Hern in addition to celebrity guest coach Steve Martin. At each MVTC event there are five places available for one-on-one tuition so it pays to book in advance.
CHR have built a partnership with local premium accommodation at Quest Wodonga for a reasonable price, and have the ability to organise this on your behalf. Quest is located under 20 minutes’ drive from the track allowing non-local trackday participants to arrive refreshed and ready for action for following day. Twin shares are priced from $150 and the Quest is Wodonga’s only accommodation with a secured underground car park, and multi-bed/room set ups.
For those who need a bike for the day, or want to experience something different, the CHR hire fleet includes the following bikes:
Honda CRF450: Equipped with quality Beringer brakes and 17″ wheels this supermotard weighs less than 100kg a boasts an excellent power to weight ratio for maximum enjoyment on tight and technical bitumen layouts. Shod with Pirelli tyres and priced at $150 per day.
Kawasaki ZXR400: This mini-sports bike is perfectly balanced and ideal for first-time track riders. Priced at just $200 for the day with stands and tyre warmers included.
Suzuki GSX-R600: This supersport machine is the very same that Chas took to the top step of the podium in the final round of the ASBK Championship at Phillip Island last year. Equipped with Ohlins suspension, racing exhaust system, a custom tuned engine, and Pirelli Supercorsa tyres. Priced at $350 per day.
Chas Hern Bio
“Motorcycling is a sport I’ve grown up with. My father was a rider and mechanic, while my mum was a strong rider as were my grandparents. I began my racing career on dirt bikes at a club level, mainly cross country and dirt track, and started racing supermoto in 2005 after winning the State title. My good mate Cameron Donald put me in contact with the Husqvarna racing team in Asia so I moved over to Singapore and raced in various Supermoto and MX events before I was given an opportunity to road race in Malaysia. I moved back home to Melbourne in 2007 and started my ASBK campaign and since 2007 I’ve finished runner up twice in the ASBK. Last year I stepped onto the podium in both Superbike and Supersport. With family and work commitments I haven’t been able to compete in 2016 but still remain active and won this year’s Barry Sheene Feature race at Eastern Creek in March. I’ve been running a junior development team over the last couple of years under the banner Chas Hearn Racing (CHR) and get a lot out of training new riders and seeing them succeed on track.
In 2011 I started helping some young up and coming talent in the Australian Road Race Championship and also took a few young riders over to Malaysia to compete in the moto GP support class. In 2013 I helped out at the Victorian Junior development days and came across Snoop (Illish Ross). I had seen her on the dirt track and was pretty impressed with how she made the switch to road racing. I decided to put her on a Production bike for 2014 and she went on to finish second in the Australian Women’s production class. In 2015 she rode for CHR again and made the podium outright in the Australian Production class. This year we decided for Snoop to better her riding we would sit out of the Australian Championship and focus on training and prepare for her next step of lining up on the 600cc grid. Snoop’s been riding the CHR Suzuki GSXR 600 at all of our MVTC days and is a regular attendee helping out at each event.
“I love it – it’s close to home and the track has taught me a lot about corner speed and braking. I just started road racing 2 years ago so this is the perfect training facility for setting up bike and testing”, Said Snoop when AMCN caught up with her at the event.
In 2011 Chas started helping some young up and coming talent in the Australian Road Race Championship and also took a few young riders over to Malaysia to compete in the moto GP support class. He was a coach for the Victorian Junior development days in 2013 and that’s when I came across Snoop (Illish Ross). I’d seen her on the dirt track and was pretty impressed with how she made the switch to road racing. In 2014 I decided to put her on a Production bike and she went on to finish second in the Australian Women’s production class. In 2015 she rode for CHR again and made the podium outright in the Australian Production class. This year we decided for Snoop to better her riding we would sit out of the Australian Championship and focus on training in preparation for her next step to the 600cc class. Snoop’s been riding the CHR Suzuki GSXR 600 at all of our MVTC days and is a regular attendee helping out at each event.
“I love the track – it’s close to home and has taught me a lot about corner speed and braking. I just started road racing 2 years ago so this is the perfect training facility for setting up bike and testing”, Said Snoop when AMCN caught up with her at the event.
By Paul McCann
Photos: Ace Manev