6th August 2011
Photos: Steve Searle, National Cycling Centre
Manchester residents got their first glimpse of the brand new £24m National BMX Centre as it threw open its doors at an open day on Saturday 6th August 2011.
The open day, running from 10am-4pm, was a chance to preview the centre ahead of it opening to the public on Monday 8th August.
During the open day, residents were be able to take guided tours, see breathtaking BMX demonstrations on the new track and try out the "Go-Ride" BMX outdoor circuit, as well as having an induction and a go on the brand new indoor track.
There were also taster sessions on the Velodrome track and the opportunity to take part in leisure rides around the nearby Phillips Park and Clayton.
The new facility, based at the National Cycling Centre, is set to host major BMX events - attracting riders from all over the world. The country's top riders will also be training at the centre in the run to the 2012 Olympics.
But it's not just for elite riders - Manchester schoolkids will have access to the track and keen Manchester cyclists will be able to attend discounted ‘pay and ride' sessions in the evening and at the weekend.
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: "The opening of the National BMX Centre is incredibly exciting. It's no exaggeration to say that there's nothing like it anywhere else. The world's finest will train here, and young people from East Manchester will get the opportunity to use the facilities and aim for the highest awards in the sport of BMX.
"Next year will see a national focus on sport, and I hope the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics will inspire Manchester residents to take advantage of the world-class facilities on their door step. I am sure that in the years to come, there will be British gold medalists who first learned their skills right here at the National BMX Centre.
Eddie Smith, Chief Executive at New East Manchester, added: "The new BMX arena builds on the long term legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games and adds to the world-class facilities that were established for those games.
"The arena secures Manchester as the home of British Cycling with a world-class facility for the community and elite athletes to use, gives Manchester the ability to host international BMX events and provides the British Cycling Federation with new offices for 200 staff. This investment continues to strengthen East Manchester's economic base along with raising the city's and East Manchester's international profile."
Ian Drake, British Cycling's Chief Executive, said: "Today brings us a step closer to the completion of a fantastic training and competition facility which will aid the GB Cycling Team's preparations for London 2012.
"The centre will also offer the local community an opportunity to train alongside British BMX stars, inspiring future generations of riders and host new British Cycling headquarters. The complex is being built as part of the London 2012 legacy plan, a great example of the positive impact the Games are having on sport and communities outside of London."
Sport England's Chair, Richard Lewis, said: "It will be really exciting for the public to try out some of the cycling activities that will be on offer at the National Indoor BMX Arena.
"With National Lottery investment, the arena will be both a world-class venue for elite athletes and a sustainable local sporting facility for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Our drive to deliver a mass participation legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is transforming the places where people play sport and this arena will help to get many more people back on their bikes."
Sheldon Philips, Head of Major Regional Events at the Northwest Regional Development Agency said: "This is a remarkable step and a great addition to the Northwest region. Having the BMX centre open and ready for business is testament to the support and effort that has gone into ensuring a regional legacy which was inspired by London 2012 - bringing the Games to the Northwest.
"The Agency has been committed to supporting the development of the Centre, with an £8million grant provided. I'm delighted to see the BMX centre in all of its glory and look forward to seeing people from across the region making use of all of its facilities."
At the open day, residents will also be able to get information about the summer holiday programme of activity to keep the kids entertained during the school break. A BMX club has already been set up at Ravensbury Community School, with lots of keen local youngsters who are itching to get started in the new facility
The centre was funded by Manchester City Council, Sport England and the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed in the region by the North West Development Agency. The cost of the building itself was £19m with a further £5m spent on improving public realm, including a new bridge linking the National Cycling Centre to the new Metrolink stop.
The 110,000 square foot centre will include a 2,000 seat arena, British Cycling offices, plus cycle shopping and café facilities when it officially opens later this year. There will also be an official unveiling of the British Cycling Hall of Fame as part of the Reg Harris Heritage Day on 27th August.
For more information please visit www.thebmxlaunch.co.uk.