Changing the game for girls
BMX Bandits introduced Shallan Pompe to bicycle motocross almost a decade ago, and it’s been her passion ever since.
She’s one of 83 members in the Ballarat-Sebastopol Rush BMX club, with some riders as young as three. But now a 16-year-old, Shallan would like to see the sport shift.
Across the country, she experiences fewer young women racing compared to their male counterparts. With her mum, Danielle Pompe, they’re working to change these numbers from their club, outwards.
Inspired by the This Girl Can and Change Our Game campaigns, Ms Pompe has organised Move it with BMX, a female program at Rush’s home track in Sebastopol.
She hopes women and girls will feed their curiosity, join in the fun, get active and take advantage of coaching from high level national competitors.
“We’re trying to get more females involved in sport and also get BMX out there, because people still ask whether it exists,” Ms Pompe said. “This program will bring new females in, but I also wanted to have mentors talk to the girls to try and keep them in the sport.”
Dabbling in a bit of coaching herself, Shallan is looking forward to seeing some fresh faces experience the tabletop, rollers, berms and more.
Idolising elite Australian rider, Caroline Buchanan, Shallan said when it’s “time to shine” on the track, she lets go of her worries and stresses.
“You feel free, you’re just ready to snap and get that win, and you’re showing off who you are and what you have,” she said.
“I race Superclass Women, which is older girls racing for money. I mainly race pro because it really pushes me. I’m a role model for the little kids, they look up to me.”
As a Rush parent, Ms Pompe also officiates, but she said watching Shallan and her 13-year-old son, Damon race is like nothing else.
“It’s a proud moment to watch both your kids doing something that they love and that they’re passionate about, which has made myself and my husband passionate about it,” she said.
“The friends that you make… It’s true what they say, you are one big family.”
To women of all ages, Shallan said not to be intimidated because if you can ride a bike, you can ride the track. BMX is a sport for everyone, although they may not often see that.
“It’s just like Michelle Payne said in Ride Like A Girl… Stuff the boys that think it’s just a male sport and boys are better. No, it’s both a female and male sport,” she said. “Don’t be scared to come and give it a go, don’t compare yourself. Come and give it a try, because you never know, you might like it and find your sport.”
Four free Move it with BMX sessions will run on 19, 26 and 27 October, and 16 November, all from 10am. Ms Pompe recommends attendees wear long pants, long sleeves, a full-face helmet and bring their own bike.
For more information send Ballarat-Sebastopol Rush a message on Facebook or an email to the club via [email protected].
The track, on the South side of Marty Busch Reserve is open to the public, with entry via Albert Street, Sebastopol.