Manchester City Council and Sport England have announced that work will officially start on the new track in Platt Fields tomorrow, Thursday 10 January 2008.
The BMX Track is being constructed by Manchester City Council in partnership with British Cycling Federation and Sport England, who have contributed £315,000 funding through the Community Club Development Programme. The track, which is due to be finished in April, will be home to the newly formed Manchester BMX Club who will deliver coaching, racing and practice sessions for local residents. Alongside the club, Manchester Leisure will manage the track, run drop in open sessions and specific Skills Training Sessions on weeknight evenings.
BMX Racing is a new Olympic discipline, with Great Britain having a genuine gold medal hope in Shanaze Reade. A current World Champion on the Velodrome as well as BMX, Shanaze will spend some of her training time at the Platt Fields track, providing a great motivation for local riders to follow in her footsteps.
Stewart Kellett, Regional Director of Sport England NW said: ''Sport England is delighted to support this new BMX cycle track, which will be a magnificent centre for the sport for everyone and a haven for our sporting champions of the future - some of whom have 2012 ambitions. Cycling in the NW region goes from strength to strength. The national governing body is here, our facilities get better and better and the sport is one of the region's favourites. This new facility will give many more people in Manchester the opportunity to get involved in the popular and ever-growing sport of BMX and cycling."
Manchester City Council's executive lead member for culture and leisure, Councillor Mike Kane said: "After a lengthy design and consultation process the new track will cater for everyone from beginners to international racers. This track gives local residents of all ages an opportunity to sample bike racing in a safe and fun environment."
British Cycling's BMX Coordinator Roger Wilbraham said: "So far, it's been a fantastic experience working with Sport England and Manchester City Council. It's great to see a city willing to promote sport from foundation level through to elite performance. I hope this will be a catalyst for other UK cities to embrace the positive community aspects purpose built BMX racing facilities have to offer".
BMX Racing differs from freestyle and street riding, which many people will associate with today's BMX. In racing there is less emphasis on performing and more emphasis on getting through the obstacles and to the finish as quick as possible. Riders of any ability can safely ride around the track, regardless of their experience. The age range in BMX racing starts at 4 years old and has no upper limit, so it is a real family sport.
If you would like to try BMX racing, or have ridden in the past and would like to get involved again contact the club on firstname.lastname@example.org or Club Chair Joe Peace on email@example.com
Sally Wheatman, tel: 0161 234 4045