Preston Park velodrome will reopen today, seeing racing for the first time in nearly two years after it was closed due to safety concerns.
The track – the oldest in the UK and the second-oldest in the world – closed in September 2014 and needed £150,000 of work doing to bring it back up to standard, with repairs made to the perimeter fence.
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.”
The venue will host the Youth Omnium today from midday before the Wednesday night track league resumes from 7pm on May 18. Both are weekly events and a second track league will also run on Friday nights.
There are also plans to try and raise money for floodlighting amid hopes that additional funding can be secured from British Cycling.
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.”
Most of the costs were secured from British Cycling, with a £38,000 contribution from planning application funds.
Pete Mitchell, a world champion para-cycling pilot and now Team GB cyclist, will open Preston Park at midday.
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.”