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Save Preston Park: Hundreds expected to join mass ride next month

Crowdfunding the track: Preston Park cycle track needs a lot of money, but first it needs a website

Around 160 cyclists are expected to ride through Brighton and Hove next month to help save the UK's oldest cycle track, and organisers are appealing for more support for the cause.

The Preston Park cycle track in Brighton, which opened in 1877, was closed earlier this year when ageing perimeter fences meant it was deemed by British Cycling no longer safe to use for competitive events.

However, cyclists have rallied around the iconic track to try and see it brought back to safe racing standard. Organisers of the ride on Saturday 5 September, hope to raise £2,000 through crowdfunding to start campaigning in earnest for the track's refurbishment.

- Sean Yates backs campaign to save Brighton's Preston Park velodrome

A statement from the group reads: "What's needed here is full and undoubting support of all cyclists for this campaign to save the track."

"This campaign won't survive without every cyclist firstly knowing about the campaign to save the Oldest track in the UK, but secondly and most importantly understanding and caring why it should be saved."

The group believes the track, which is used by riders of all ages, can be a great resource for the local area, and a hub for cycling activities, as well as "to teach and mentor young and not so young cyclists".

Last year British Cycling submitted a list of defects to owners Brighton and Hove City Council, all of which will need remedying before the track can be cleared for competitive use. However, it has been deemed safe for use out of competition and remains well frequented by cyclists.

The crowd funding page has already raised £1,215 of the initial £2,000 target, but there is a long way to go yet. Repairing the perimeter fence alone will cost £300,000, with additional funds needed to repair the track itself.

There are options to pledge from £3 up to £1.5m which, if achieved, would provide for cycling, cricket and tennis facilities at the venue.

A petition earlier in the year gained more than 3,600 supporters, sparking a discussion by councillors on the track's future. The group's Facebook page has 5,500 "likes" but organisers say real world action is needed to save the track.

"I am not asking for blind following of a campaign just because it is about cycling, I am asking YOU to get involved because it is so much more than about cycling.

"You can start or continue doing this by joining the ride in Brighton on the 5th September.

"Arrive in your lycra on your bike that is worth more than your car, or even arrive in your tweed on your penny farthing or for that matter in your normal everyday clothes on a shopping bike, it doesn't matter. If you have a bicycle and you want to help raise awareness of this campaign come along and ride."

The Save Preston Park Cycle Track group wants to make the case for immediate refurbishment of the track, with the council's support, before work starts on a new perimeter fence, lighting and a new stadium and facilities building. It will also establish a trust to manage the facility.

Meet between the wheel and Brighton Pier at 10am on Saturday 5 September for the 2.8 mile ride to Preston Park. Details are here

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