Herne Hill has a future

Great news this week that Herne Hill has been saved. There are so many links, personally and professionally, between CW and the South London track that it would be unthinkable that the last remaining venue from the 1948 Olympics could be torn down.

At long last The Dulwich Estate has agreed to a long-term lease and the £300,000 resurfacing work can get underway in time for some racing this season.

With the Herne Hill Trust now awarded charitable status the next phase is to find the £5 million needed to rebuild the stand and other facilities.

Herne Hill was where I first witnessed bike racing when I was given tickets to the 1972 Good Friday meeting for my 13th birthday. A year later I was back again to ride the afternoon schoolboy training sessions on those terrible blue hire bikes.

I recall several incidents including a snowstorm during a very long distance race, a duck invasion in the back straight of a sprint and a particularly loud front puncture which saw me ride into the long jump sandpit.

With CW I reported some of my very first events at the Hill and even managed to win a magnum of Champagne in the raffle at the Moët & Chandon meeting one hot Wednesday night.

Happy memories. Let’s hope there will be many more.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly