On the right track
The historic velodrome at Preston Park will be reopened for competitive cycling this weekend (Sunday 8 May).
The velodrome was closed to competitive racing in September 2014 after concerns were raised about the safety of the track perimeter fence.
Brighton & Hove City Council and British Cycling worked together to progress the renovations as quickly as possible to meet the needs of local cyclists.
Cllr Alan Robins, deputy chair of the city’s economic development and culture committee, said: “Cycling is very popular in the city and the track is treasured by many local cyclists. We are all pleased to see this sporting venue restored and reopened in time for the summer months. Hopefully the velodrome will now draw cyclists and crowds for many more generations to come.”
Originally built in the late 1800s, the Preston Park cycle track has been regularly used by several clubs based in the city for training and regional level racing. Cyclists across the city campaigned and supported the moves to bring the track swiftly back into competitive use.
John Mills, director of coaching, education and development at British Cycling, said: British Cycling is delighted to see the track at Preston Park reopening. We have been determined to ensure that this historic venue could again provide a safe environment for cyclists of all ages and abilities to learn, train and compete. The reopening is the culmination of the hard work that British Cycling have put in, alongside the council, to put together a funding package for the upgrading works that will safeguard the future of the facility. We look forward to seeing many more members of the local community taking full advantage of this traffic-free cycle facility.”
The total cost of the works was £148,000, most of which was funded by a grant award from British Cycling, with the remaining £38,000 coming from section 106 funding contributions from planning applications. The work included replacing the perimeter fencing and gates as well as improvements to the site to bring it up to modern standards.
The velodrome will be officially reopened on Sunday 8 May at 12 noon by Pete Mitchell, a world champion para-cycling pilot who is a member of the Great Britain Cycling Team with aspirations to represent the country at Rio this summer.
Pete said: “My cycling career began at Preston Park, so I know from experience what a vital role the facility has played in the local community. I am thrilled to see competitive racing returning to the circuit again, and hope Preston Park continues to inspire people to take up the sport.”
The National Youth Track Omnium competition will take place after the re-opening, with riders from across the south of England and Wales taking part.
About Pete Mitchell: