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Work on new Bedlington BMX track gets off start line

Northumberland’s very own competition-standard BMX track has been given the green light after contractors behind the London 2012 Olympic Games track started work on the project.

Members of Barnesbury Cycling Club, in Bedlington, have been working tirelessly towards creating a Regional Standard BMX track for the last four years, as part of plans to improve the facilities it can offer and attract more riders to the club and into the sport.

And after raising the £121,000 required to fund the project’s first phase, the club has appointed specialist track builders Clark & Kent Contractors Ltd to carry out the work required to build the 250-metre track, which will feature a challenging range of obstacles, including step-ups, doubles, triples, rollers and banked corners called berms, which help riders maintain their speed.

Work is expected to take six to eight weeks to complete, and subject to any pandemic restrictions, the club is hoping to be able to welcome riders onto the track in the latter half of March 2022.

Funding for the first phase of the project has been secured from a wide range of sources, the main ones ncluding Sport England Community Asset Fund, Suez Communities Trust, Northumberland County Council through both its Community Chest and Section 106 Housing Developers Funds and County Councillors Malcolm Robinson, Bill Crosby and Russ Wallace through their Members Local Improvement Scheme’s budgets, West Bedlington Town Council and also the locally based Banks Community Fund, Barnes Fund and Wingrove Motor Company.

Formed in 1923 and one of the oldest cycling clubs in North East England, Barnesbury Cycling Club members, friends and family have also shown very generous support of the project.

The club is involved in all recreational and racing cycling disciplines, with the existing track at Gallagher Park in Bedlington currently used by its BMX riders.

The club has around 100 members across four cycling disciplines, mainly living across south east Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside areas, and is hoping the new BMX track will help attract even more riders along to see what the club offers.

Mick Hood, of Barnesbury Cycling Club, said: “We have a good number of members taking part in BMX races at regional and national level, and realised that with the North East’s only other active competition-standard track currently able to stage regional standard race events located down in Hartlepool, we needed to be able to offer better facilities closer to home to help riders compete.

“As well as making a big difference for competitive BMX riders, it will also provide a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages across our local communities to try out a new sport.

“The track will be suitable for mountain bikes as well as BMX bikes and we’re hoping it will lead to more local people becoming part of the club as we build up towards our centenary.

“Getting the best track builders in the country to create our new track is a massive boost for us and we’re really excited by the prospect of what’s coming soon.

“The support we’ve had from so many local businesses, organisations and community representatives, as well as from our own members and other cyclists around the region, has been fantastic, particularly during the current difficult times and we can’t thank all of our funders enough for enabling us to turn our ideas into an amazing community facility.”

Chris Kelsey, communications managers at The Banks Group, added: “This is a fantastic community project that’s been realised through the hard work of a dedicated group of local people, and as a business that’s worked in the area for more than 40 years, we’re extremely pleased to be part of helping them reach their goal.”