Yamba’s Morgan Pilley will be at the
Yamba’s Morgan Pilley will be at the Adam Hourigan

Local champ to return for Valley Sport Awards

THERE will be no fewer than 14 major awards presented to outstanding local sports people and volunteers at tonight's Clarence Valley Sports Awards at Maclean Services Club.

However, perhaps one of the most exciting components of the evening will be the chance to meet the special guests, three locally raised athletes now making a living from the sports they love.

Champion jockey Tegan Harrison, Olympic gold- medal-winning hockey player Brent Livermore and Italian-based professional cyclist Morgan Pilley will be there, and patrons can pick their brains in the Q&A sessions led by master of ceremonies Ashley Lindsay from Clarence Valley Council.

The opportunity to secure Pilley for the evening came about by chance, because he happened to be in the valley to run the Bom Bom Blitz last Sunday and attempt a 24-hour ride to raise awareness for youth mental health in the Clarence Valley.

"The Clarence Valley's been such a strong sporting area for a long time and it's great to come back and see the athletes in the different sports," Pilley said.

"Just reading some of their achievements, it will be fantastic to be able to talk to some of them and hopefully see them continue onto the world stage," he said.

In terms of sports of the two-wheeled variety, the biggest representation will be from Clarence Valley BMX Club, nominated for The Daily Examiner Club of the Year with members Tahlia Marsh and Stacey Brown both nominated for the Jetts Fitness Junior Female Sportsperson of the Year.

"I might have to get in their ear about switching over to mountain biking or road I reckon," joked Pilley, who was a road cyclist before turning to mountain biking.

"Robbie McEwen started off as a BMX rider and ended up switching to the road," he said.

Pilley will begin his 24-hour ride on the little-known track at Junction Hill from midday tomorrow until midday Sunday, with members of the public invited to join him for all or part of the ride.

"It's a great course and this is actually my first time out here as well. But riding around it for 24 hours it could be a little short which will be very interesting," he said.

"But it is a good facility for anyone to come out and ride on at any time. And it's off the road which makes it ideal for this ride as well."

When the logistics of the initial idea of a 600km return trip from Yamba to Glen Innes turned out to be too time consuming, the option of riding at the Junction Hill Criterium track was raised.

"We discussed the different options and came up with the idea to run it at the crit track where we don't need any permits to run an event, which is great," Pilley said.

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