Boost for memorial to UK's worst cycling tragedy
£1 million track may open later this year
Plans for a memorial to four cyclists who lost their lives in a North Wales crash have been given a boost by relatives of the dead.
Former Great British international cyclist Maurice Broadbent, 61, was killed along with fellow Rhyl Cycling Club members Thomas Harland, 14, Dave Horrocks, 55, and Wayne Wilkes, 42, after a car skidded into them in icy conditions on the A547 near St George in January 2006.
Mr Broadbent's widow, Sue, believes he would have been fully behind the £1million memorial which includes a 1.25km cycle track and BMX circuit. The venue will open in the coming months if the final stages of funding can be secured and will attract cyclists from across North Wales.
She told the Rhyl Journal: “As a family we are very supportive of the plans. Maurice loved cycling and was pushing for years for something like this as there is nothing like it in this area. He was keen to see cycling opportunities for youngsters in particular and we believe this will help do that, with many children keen to get involved.
“We have remembered Maurice and the anniversary this week. But you have to go forward and Maurice would have encouraged us to do that.”
The cycle track on the former landfill site on Marsh Road, Rhyl, will be the second permanent reminder of the tragedy. A slate plaque has been placed at the scene of the collision in memory of the four victims.
After receiving grant funding for £750,000 from WREN and the Foundation for Sport and Arts, the Glan Morfa project is now closing in on the required tally to open.
Campaigners are hopeful of persuading Denbighshire County Council to make the final £190,000 available through Assembly Government funding towards the regeneration of Rhyl. Previous proposals for a track in Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay, fell through.
Jon Harland, who lost his teenage son, Thomas, in the tragedy, is to make the crucial presentation to Denbighshire.
He said: “Some work has already been carried out on the site and the BMX circuit could be ready by July, but we now need to keep the momentum going for the whole project to take place.
“There is huge pressure from all the funding parties for the money to be spent this year, and if things go as planned we could see the track completed by the end of the year.”
At the inquest into the deaths of the four, coroner John Hughes lashed out at police and officials, saying the had been 'most unprofessional' for failing to bring charges against Robert Harris, the driver who hit the riders.
Mr Hughes said: "The evidence shows classic signs that Robert Harris was driving without due care and attention and to his credit he admitted his responsibility in going too fast.
"I fail to understand why no proceedings were brought against him. I sat here biting my tongue during the inquest of this most unprofessional state of affairs.”