Published: 10 September 2013
Initial work to modify the track at Great Britain’s National BMX Centre training base in Manchester has been completed with further changes planned in the build up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Completed by Clark and Kent Contractors, who were heavily involved in getting the track to its current standard and who also built the London 2012 BMX course, alterations have been made to the opening straight of the course which hosted the opening round of this year’s UCI BMX Supercross series.
A taller opening jump at the bottom of the eight metre start ramp and extended landing zone better replicate an Olympic standard course. Slight modifications to the third straight of the elite men’s course were also made.
“We’ve made a few changes to the track. Between now and Rio, the track will be constantly upgraded,” said British Cycling Olympic BMX coach Grant White.
“It hasn’t been touched for the two years, it’s served a really good purpose and we’re now looking to upgrade it to more of the Olympic standard so that we go into Rio and riders are completely prepared for what that level of track is likely to be.
BMX world champion Liam Phillips rides the new first straight
“We’ve touched the first straight and some sight changes to the men’s third straight and there’ll be more to come over the next few years to Rio.”
Great Britain’s BMX athletes have trained at the world leading facility since 2011. The venue hosted its first UCI BMX Supercross in April this year and has been confirmed as the opening round of the 2014 series.
“The first jump is a little taller than what it was in the takeoff and landing, and is ever so slightly longer,” explained White.
“It looks a bit more intimidating because of the height of it, it’s got a taller and longer landing and on a landing like that you can pedal off the back of it which is quite important at Olympic level so we’ve tried to replicate that the best we can.
“We’ve taken out the small roller on the first straight and added a bit more length to the jump into the first turn. In essence it’s made everything that little bit bigger but we have a nice environment to ride in.”
BMX world champion Liam Phillips believes the changes will benefit Britain’s riders immediately as well as in achieving the long term plan of qualifiying spots for the Rio Olympics.
“The indoor has been a fantastic facility for us, as us athletes have evolved it’s time for the facilities to do so,” Phillips said.
“For the track to change, it’s great for us ahead of Chula Vista (UCI BMX Supercross) and then throughout the winter. The tracks aren’t getting any smaller, they are getting way bigger and we need to move with that.
“It’s exciting to have, it’s something new which is great.”