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Bournemouth Track Official Opening
Report & Images: Eamonn Deane | 27 June 2011
The Mayor of Bournemouth, Councillor Chris Rochester, officially opened the new Bournemouth track with the ringing endorsement of former Olympic and Commonwealth Games rifer Geoff Cooke. The new 250 metre track an excellent facility that will not fail to impress the first time visitor. The smooth, sweeping, black tarmac set against the surrounding parkland will surely inspire anyone to ride.
The Opening speeches by the Mayor and British Cycling's Facilities Manager, Dave Cockram and Board Director, Vic Hopkins were to the point and with due protocol observed it was on with the action. Bournemouth Cycling Centre, led by Alan Mcrae, had organized a full programme of exhibition races and demonstrations.
A match sprint between the former National Coach Cooke and rising young star Ellie Coster had the crowd mesmerized, judge; Graham Hurst even had to time the track stand. No quarter was given by either rider and with a healthy lack of respect; Ellie came round the former Olympian to take the applause. Cooke coaches Ellie and believes she is a real prospect for the future and did not hesitate to tell everyone to look out for her in Rio in 2016.
Before he had caught his breath Geoff spoke to the crowd with passion and enthusiasm. "I have ridden tracks all over the world this is as good an outdoor track as I have ever ridden. It really is a superb facility, its absolutely fantastic and a real adrenalin surge. It's so easy to ride; it's not so steep that kids will be put off. Its superbly fast but everyone can ride it." Cooke went on to urge the local community to make use of the new track: "Come down and have some fun, come down and just ride it and have fun, it does not matter about winning and losing, just enjoy it"
Also on show were Go-Ride demonstrations, with the younger ones showing off their skills, a 3km Pursuit Challenge, with hot, local prospect, Will Stephenson (Bournemouth Arrow/Hotel Collingwood) almost catching four of his club mates, including his father. An elimination race, a 5KM scratch race and training demonstrations were followed by a public taster session. Kids on Tag-Alongs were being passed by disk-wheeled wannabes!! It was great fun.
Bournemouth Cycling Centre will be organising weekly drop-in sessions for experienced riders over 14yrs on Tuesday Evenings from 6.30pm. This competition training will be part of the induction process that will lead to coach led racing in all conditions. Saturday mornings will include training for newcomers, general fitness and developing track skills.
British Cycling's Chief Executive Ian Drake said: "It's a perfect example of the continued efforts we are making, together with Sport England, to create excellent modern cycling facilities across the UK. The new facility will support the growth of our sport at the grassroots to develop future cycling stars."