Across the past year, The National Closed Road Circuit in Pembrey Country Park, being the first of its kind and remaining the only one in South Wales, has indeed been a hub of activity.
As the first Closed Road Cycling Circuit in South Wales, it has been a key aspect in adding to Carmarthenshire’s aspiration to become the cycling hub of Wales. The purpose built, off road facility poses a 1.9km long circuit and 6-meters wide tarmac surface designed to British Cycling standards, with varying gradients and bends and has proven to be the best in Wales – if not the UK.
Since its opening back in August 2018, the popular closed road venue has been host to a variety of prestigious events, and seen some of the world’s best cyclists grace its presence.
Shortly following its establishment, the circuit held the grand departure of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain which saw world beating cyclists, including our very own Geraint Thomas, take on the first stage of the tour and conquer the difficult Welsh terrain before finishing in Newport.
The Closed Road Circuit has also recently hosted the final stage of the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour of Britain back in June, which again saw world-class riders cross the finish line which was set against the backdrop of South West Wales’ Pembrey Country Park. History was made on this occasion as Lizzie Deignan is the first to take the honours twice at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour of Britain.
The penultimate round of British Cycling National Youth Series also took place at the closed road venue, which saw almost 200 Young riders converge on the demanding circuit to tackle the course. However, Emma Finucane and Oscar Nilsson-Julien enjoyed the success and were crowned winners.
Pembrey Country Park’s Closed Road Circuit was also host to the first part of the British Paracycling Road Race Championships. The two day event got off to a fantastic start at the closed road venue as riders from across the UK battled it out across the various classifications for the National title. It was certainly a successful day for many Welsh paracyclists with the likes of Luke Jones, Matt Faucher and Simon Thomas, piloted by Matt Blue, achieving many medals.
As well as the national and regional competitions that have been held at this fantastic facility, it has also been host to a range of local competitions, many of which Holt Cycle Racing have been responsible for the organisation of. It has also been instrumental to the coaching and training sessions put on by the local cycling clubs, such as Bynea CC and Towy Riders CC. The circuit has enabled Bynea Cycling Club to implement Go-Race sessions to their weekly training, as a way of introducing individuals to racing.
Being a traffic-free, safe environment in which training sessions can take place, it has been central to allowing many riders to progress in their cycling career, as well as athletes from other sports such as triathlon and athletics.
Members of the public continue to be able to access and use the circuit free of charge (subject to conditions of use) when no bookings have been made.
Commenting on the circuit, Alan Smith, Membership Secretary at Bynea CC, said: “The National Closed Road Circuit in the picturesque Pembrey Country Park has provided leisure and competitive cyclists with a fantastic facility.
“Bynea Cycling Club were delighted to be asked to organise the first races on the circuit in August 2018 followed by a weekend of races when the Tour of Britain began in the park. There were races ranging from 14-years-old to elite standard for men and ladies. All of the cyclists were very complimentary about the surface of the circuit and stand of racing.
“The club began coaching sessions on the circuit in the spring of 2019, which have continued throughout the summer. Introduced in the summer of 2019 were coaching sessions for youngsters as young as four years old up to seventeen and 30 minute Go-Race sessions for adults as an introduction to competitive cycling.
“Bynea Cycling Club look forward to continue collaborating with Welsh Cycling and Carmarthenshire Council in the development of the circuit”.
Anne Adams-King, Chief Executive of Welsh Cycling, added: “It has been fantastic to observe how extensively the Closed Road Circuit at Pembrey Country Park has been utilised across its first year since establishment. With the many prestigious events, the local, regional and national competitions and all of the coaching sessions that have been held at the facility, its development has certainly provided opportunities for all to cycle, and has also enabled a showcase of talent, which is pleasing to see.
“The county has also produced many successful cyclists such as Team Wiggins rider Scott Davies and European Track Cycling Champion Manon Lloyd, and with facilities like Pembrey we hope this trend will continue to inspire Wales to cycle”.