Riders from some of East London’s leading clubs viewed the new cycle circuit at Hog Hill, which is being built by the London Development Agency (LDA) to relocate the Eastway Cycle Circuit. They gave the thumbs up to the part of the circuit that will be open in March, a one kilometre training circuit that features several bends and climbs.
All agreed that the full two kilometre circuit, which will be opened in autumn 2008 subject to the clearing of great crested newts, will be fast and challenging. Riders were also shown the off-road plans that have been made by the CTC’s off-road expert Ian Warby. A set of off-road trails and features will be provided on the site, making it suitable for cross-country mountain biking as well as giving younger riders a taste of freeride and dirt features.
There are three options for road riders:
The indy circuit – stays in sight of the clubhouse has sharp short gradients and several turns that demand caution and allow novices to be trained in using the racing line and all the gears. This will be open from March.
The lower circuit – progresses gently around the lower field for novice riders or groups who just want to circulate without too much physical effort. Not open until later in 2008, newts willing.
The full 2km circuit – offering one of the hilliest profiles of any purpose-built cycle circuit around. Corners and gradients will be as demanding as those that riders knew from Eastway. There is a further option of three additional tight alpine-style turns on another 250m loop to encourage stronger riders off the front of a large bunch.
Since Eastway closed in November 2006 to make way for the Olympic Park to be built, the clubs and race organisers that were using the circuit have all had to make their own arrangements. The opening of Hog Hill should finally fill that gap.
In 2013 the Hog Hill site will revert back to the London Borough of Redbridge for revenue funding, when the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is to provide a legacy cycling facility back in the Olympic Park roughly where Eastway was. Details of the legacy are still to be finalised, but the requirement to replace the facilities for Olympic disciplines of road-race, time-trial and mountain bike cross-country from Eastway has been acknowledged by the legacy planners.
Hog Hill can be found at the top of Forest Road above Fairlop. The site is bordered by Forest Road and Romford Road. It will be operated and managed by the London Borough of Redbridge.