Next Easter marks the end of 107 years of international track racing history in the south, when the famous Good Friday International Meeting goes indoors – transfers from Herne Hill track in London to Manchester Velodrome!

Date for your diary, April 22.
No need for a hat or coat, or umbrella!

“After more than three years of indifferent weather, culminating in the loss of the event this year, the Southern Counties Cycling Union have not taken the decision lightly,” Graham Bristow, the promoter, told Cycling Weekly.
“We realise that many people will be disappointed that the world famous meeting, first held in 1903, is moving away from South London’s Herne Hill.”

The SCCU was left with no choice. In recent years they have been barred from using the Victorian Grandstand which is falling to pieces and is now a dangerous structure.
The enforced move from London 200 miles north to Manchester, follows five years of dithering by owners Dulwich Estate who have been unable to agree terms which would allow British Cycling to invest in urgent repairs to this famous track.
In 1948, Herne  Hill  hosted the 1948 Olympics, and over the  years has attracted the top pros. Men like Britain’s post-war sprinting ace, Reg Harris, Tom Simpson, Italy’s Fausto Coppi, France’s Jacques Anquetil.

Today, VC Londres, who manage the track on behalf of British Cycling, run a thriving summer school.
There is also the popular weekly Monday Comp track league. The track surface, while still good enough to race on, is nevertheless in need of urgent attention.

 “We’ve heard nothing concrete regarding extending the lease, or of any plans for redevelopment,” Bristow told Cycling Weekly.
“Personally, I am really, really said it’s come to this,” he added. “But from SCCU’s point of view, we cannot allow sentimentality to kill the event.”

He said the meeting has suffered from lack of basic facilities and this year, at the first sign of  rain, riders and spectators who had nowhere to shelter took to their cars, and others just left.

“The meet needs reinvigorating, and so this is a positive move which will allow us to do that.”

  • Andrew Ward

    It is a shame that this event has been moved from Herne Hill, it seems like the final nail in the coffin for the velodrome, i had come to this event every year for the last 12 years although not cycling but present in another capacity, i think with the loss of this event its high time Dulwich estates and Southwark council come to some arrangement. For people that dont know, plans were drawn up to remodernise the entire complex a few years ago but then refused due to local objection. I think its about time to get the plans moving again, get Herne hill renovated and open for another hundered years plus. We can get back to good friday meeting, we save this piece of cycling history if all the comunity, businesses and charities stand together in common cause

  • Matthew West

    Anyone who is disappointed at this news and is in the area should come to the public meeting at 7:30pm on the 6 October at the Great Hall in Dulwich College. An attempt is being made to address this problem (the facilities at the track not the vagaries of the British weather). For more info see:

  • Stephen Nightingale

    This may be a 2 year stop-gap before moving the Meet to the New Olympic Velodrome. Or alternating the Good Friday meet with Manchester, though really, Manchester has plenty of quality meets in its program already. I look forward to the spirited competition between Mcr and the Olympic in fuure years.

  • Jonathan Bangs

    How sad. I’ve not yet earned my gold badge in fortune-telling, but one hopes for better weather this Easter. After the wash-outs of 2009 and 2010, couldn’t the organisers have kept faith for Easter 2011, so that the Southeast-based regulars might enjoy one last hurrah? Okay, so it may rain again, but it would have been nice to have had the opportunity to visit the dear old place again on Good Friday. I for one won’t go to Manchester. I won’t be alone in that, either.
    I will hugely miss the Good Friday meet at Herne Hill. It was a highlight of my year – an occasion where you could truly taste the past in the very present, surrounded by decent people who knew their stuff, not bureaucratic yes-men who didn’t.
    Curses to Dulwich Estate for their prevarication and lack of vision! And three cheers to local club VCL, who, through tireless endeavour, have worked wonders at Herne Hill in recent years. And to the competitors, officials and spectators at the on-going events at ‘The Hill’: you should be warmly congratulated for your steadfastness.
    Long live Herne Hill velodrome!

    Jonathan Bangs

  • De Rosa Kid

    Is this the final nail?

    Just turn the lights out (if they still work!) last one out lock the gate, give the key to the property men.

    This is cyclings disgrace that it has come to this!