The official opening of a new £1.5m cycling centre took place in Rhyl, north Wales yesterday evening.
Marsh Tracks, which features a 1.3km closed circuit racing track and a national standard BMX track, was opened by British Cycling Performance Director Dave Brailsford. Plans for the centre have been in the pipeline for around 10 years as the Glan Morfa Cycling Association, the 500-strong group behind the project, worked to secure the necessary funding.
It was eventually achieved through a combination of grants from the Welsh Assembly Government, The Foundation for Sport and the Arts, Waste Recycling Environmental (WREN) and Denbighshire County Council, as well as the Rhyl Cycling Club Memorial Fund. The latter - key to securing the funding from WREN - was set up in memorial to four Rhyl Cycling Club members killed in a crash in January 2006. Maurice Broadbent, 61, Dave Horrocks, 55, Wayne Wilkes, 42 and Thomas Harland, 14 died when a car lost control in icy conditions near Abergale.
The centre's operations manager Justin Lewis told BikeRadar the centre is reward for a long period of campaigning to bring a top-class cycling venue to the area.
“Marsh Tracks is at the centre of a large network of cycling tracks so it’s really accessible for local people,” he said. “But we equally want to attract people from all over the country.”
A notable feature of the centre, which we will have pictures of soon, is its use of Bensink Gates on the BMX track. They are relatively uncommon in the UK and as they will be used in next summer’s Olympic Games, Lewis hopes they will attract Olympic stars to come and practise. He said plans are in place to develop a mountain bike trail on unused land adjacent to the centre. A decision from Visit Wales on the necessary funding will be made soon. “Our idea is to become an all round centre for cycling excellence,” he added.
Brailsford, who grew up in Wales, said at yesterday’s opening: “It's always great to see new cycling facilities. For me anything that develops cycling in Wales and particularly north Wales is a great thing and these facilities are fantastic.You could not thank the people that have been involved in this project enough for what they have done for cycling in north Wales."