Open day tomorrow at new National BMX Centre in Manchester
Locals to get first chance to see new facility before it opens to the public on Monday
Tomorrow’s event includes demonstration sessions on the new track, while visitors can also get a guided tour of the facility plus the chance to have a go on the Go-Ride outdoor track as well as an induction session and ride on the new indoor track. There will also be taster sessions at the existing Velodrome track, and leisure rides are being organised taking in Philips Park and Clayton.
Riders such as multiple world champion Shanaze Reade will use the new facility to help prepare for London 2012, and it will also host major international events, but the track isn’t just for the sport’s elite – schoolchildren in Manchester will be able to use it too, while local cyclists can benefiot from ‘pay and ride’ sessions at evenings and weekends.
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: "The opening of the National BMX Centre is incredibly exciting. It's no exaggeration to say that there's nothing like it anywhere else. The world's finest will train here, and young people from East Manchester will get the opportunity to use the facilities and aim for the highest awards in the sport of BMX.
"Next year will see a national focus on sport, and I hope the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics will inspire Manchester residents to take advantage of the world-class facilities on their door step. I am sure that in the years to come, there will be British gold medallists who first learned their skills right here at the National BMX Centre.”
The building itself cost £19 million, with an additional £5 million spent on other works including a bridge linking it to a new Metrolink stop. Funding for the project was provided by Manchester City Council, Sport England and the European Regional Development Fund, operating through the North West Development Agency.
Sheldon Philips, Head of Major Regional Events at the agency, said: "This is a remarkable step and a great addition to the Northwest region. Having the BMX centre open and ready for business is testament to the support and effort that has gone into ensuring a regional legacy which was inspired by London 2012 - bringing the Games to the Northwest.
"The Agency has been committed to supporting the development of the Centre, with an £8million grant provided. I'm delighted to see the BMX centre in all of its glory and look forward to seeing people from across the region making use of all of its facilities."
Tomorrow’s open day will give locals the opportunity to find out about the summer holiday programme provided at the centre for local children, and nearby Ravensbury Community School has already established a BMX club.
"The new BMX arena builds on the long term legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games and adds to the world-class facilities that were established for those games,” said Eddie Smith, Chief Executive of New East Manchester.
"The arena secures Manchester as the home of British Cycling with a world-class facility for the community and elite athletes to use, gives Manchester the ability to host international BMX events and provides the British Cycling Federation with new offices for 200 staff. This investment continues to strengthen East Manchester's economic base along with raising the city's and East Manchester's international profile."
The Centre, which will get its official opening later this year, houses a 2,000-seat arena, as well as a bike shop and café. Later this month, on 27 August, the British Cycling Hall of Fame will be unveiled there, coinciding with the Reg Harris open day.
The complex also provides new offices for British Cycling, whose Chief Executive, Ian Drake, said: "Today brings us a step closer to the completion of a fantastic training and competition facility which will aid the GB Cycling Team's preparations for London 2012.
"The centre will also offer the local community an opportunity to train alongside British BMX stars, inspiring future generations of riders and host new British Cycling headquarters. The complex is being built as part of the London 2012 legacy plan, a great example of the positive impact the Games are having on sport and communities outside of London."
Sport England's Chair, Richard Lewis, added: "It will be really exciting for the public to try out some of the cycling activities that will be on offer at the National Indoor BMX Arena.
"With National Lottery investment, the arena will be both a world-class venue for elite athletes and a sustainable local sporting facility for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Our drive to deliver a mass participation legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is transforming the places where people play sport and this arena will help to get many more people back on their bikes."
Further information on the new facility can be found at www.thebmxlaunch.co.uk.