Poole Cycle Speedway rolled out the red carpet to welcome a guest list drawn from the world of cycling and local sport, civic dignitaries and club sponsors, to a pre-season presentation evening which recognised a number of notable achievements by the club and its members both on and off the race track.
Dave Lanning presents Clubmark certificate to Poole coach Ben Donohue
Club chairman Graham Sutton opened the evening by welcoming guest of honour Dave Lanning to the club's Harbourside Park headquarters. The locally-based writer, journalist, and Sky TV sports presenter was on hand to make the presentation to the club of the prestigious British Cycling and Sports England Clubmark award.
This award acknowledges that the Poole club has met all the criteria demanded by British Cycling and Sport England to achieve the Clubmark accreditation, which reflects the high standards of administration, welfare and competition within the club.
Making the presentation, Lanning praised the club on their most recent success both on and off the track, capped by their achievement in winning the British Club and British Team championships during a successful 2011 season.
Appropriately it was Poole club coach Ben Donohue, who stepped forward to accept the award from Dave Lanning, who then entertained those present with some amusing anecdotes dating back to his own cycle speedway action in the halcyon days of the early '50s when he turned the pedals for Wallisdown Whippets!
Rounding off the evening, he made a favourable comparison between the presentation and facilities at the Harbourside Park and the many 'so called' professional sports stadiums which he had broadcast from during his TV career.
The evening also saw the official opening of the new covered pits area, which will surely prove to be a big hit with all riders. Poole CSC project leader Adrian Hearn performed the tape cutting together with Tony Clark from T & G Fabrication, who supplied the steelwork and also sponsored the club with a brand new set of starting gates.
Graham Sutton outlined the special impetus which will be directed towards publicity and raising the media and commercial profile of the club in 2012, highlighted by the production of a new brochure which will be distributed around the town through the tourism office and other targeted events. Put together by the PR team of Gordon Day, Nigel Leahy and photographer John Burge, the leaflet drew special praise from Poole Tourism head, Graham Richardson.