London Olympic velopark plans

THE promise of an Olympic Legacy Velopark with decent road and mtb circuits as well as indoor velodrome and BMX track, is beginning to look more likely, according to John Hawkridge, chair of South East Region.

He told Cycling Weekly this week that he feels more positive about the Olympic Legacy Velopark, which has been the subject of so much anguished debate between British Cycling, the London Alliance and Eastway Users Group and the Olympic Delivery Authority, whose plans fell well short of what was wanted.

?It now seems likely that we will get an effective replacement for Eastway in the Olympic Legacy. The footprint will be a lot smaller but there is now a growing confidence that the ODA can be persuaded to provide substantially more land than they originally planned,? said Hawkridge.

He said a loose alliance of Central, East and South East Regions of British Cycling ? representing over a third of BC?s membership ? is enjoying a good working relationship with Eastway Users Group, whose chair is Michael Humphreys.

Meetings have included BC chief executive Peter King, and BC Board member Vic Hopkin, chair of the London Alliance, plus BC legal advisor Mike Townley.

Although the delays in constructing Hog Hill has left London without any effective replacement for Eastway, demolished to allow construction of the 2012 Olympic Games site, a number of other facilities are either up and running or will be available soon.

The Eastway temporary replacement circuits for road and off-road at Hog Hill in Redbridge should be open by February 2008 ? and may remain after the Olympics. Also, the interim Eastway replacement at Dunton, near Laignton in Essex ? the Ford test track ? has proved very popular and may be offered for permanent use.

Dunton was secured after the promised interim circuit at the Royal Docks in London became unavailable. Now it seems that the Royal Docks too might become available for racing any moment soon, on a circuit based on the Red Bull Air Race runway and distributor road.

As if to mirror the promise of additional venues, road racing is on the increase in the South East Region, where Competition Administrator Glyn Durrant is due to reveal some impressive maths at a regional meeting soon.

Other new facilities include a mountain bike facility at Bedgbury Pinetum, near Goudhurst in Kent, which has attracted 150 members in one year.

Hawkridge also indicated that Crystal Palace circuit in South London may seen be given ?some limited resurfacing?, and the Herne Hill grandstand, long overdue for to be replaced and unsafe to use, may soon have temporary replacement facilities this winter.

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