Bulwell’s reputation as one of the leading centres in the country for BMX racing has been enhanced.
For about £102,000 has been spent on an Olympic Games-style upgrade to the track belonging to the Nottingham Outlaws club on Sellers Wood Drive.
And last Sunday, more than 1,000 spectators flocked to to the track to watch hundreds of elite riders from all over the country at the official opening.
“It was the biggest event we have ever had here,” declared delighted club chairman Phil Gray-Blest. “The atmosphere was electric.
“We had beautiful sunshine, a huge crowd and our fantastic and professional, new facilities topped it all off. It was a great day and enjoyable for everyone who came along.”
The opening ceremony was due to be performed by famous BMX star Shanaze Reade, who competed at the London Olympic Games and is a three-times world champion.
Shanaze (24) could not make it because of racing commitments in Argentina. But she has competed many times at Sellers Wood in the past and has given her thumbs-up for the new circuit.
It has been created by the UK’s premier BMX track builders in the country, Clark And Kent, who also helped to construct the course for the 2012 Olympics and also the indoor track at the national cycling centre at Manchester.
“With help from the charity, Youth Projects 4Wheels, we have spent the last two years gathering sponsorship and funding,” explained Phil.
“The redesigned track-layout includes a new start-hill, with a Bensink start-gate system, and a ‘pump track’, which is like a miniature version of a race track, great for developing skills and training youngsters.”
One of Outlaws’ top riders, Braden Bradford, was full of praise. “The track now has a greater range of challenges and the new start-gate is just incredible,” said Braden. “The ‘pump track’ is great fun too. There’s something here for everyone.”
The BMX base at Sellers Wood was first built back in 1987 at the start of the sport’s original boom. But interest dwindled in the 1990s when the track fell into disrepair.
In 2002, the Bulwell Vision organisation acquired funding for a rebuild, which resulted in the formation of Outlaws.
Since then, the club has gone from strength to strength and now boasts more than 100 members.
In what is one of the most socially economically deprived areas of the country, it provides a focus for youngsters, giving them structured training and competitive racing in a safe and organised environment.
“The club’s development over the last ten years has been entirely due to the hard work and commitment of volunteers who are key to our success,” continued Phil.
“However, we realised that to take the track and the club to the next level, we needed to bring in the professionals. We knew Clark And Kent would do a good job, but they have exceeded our expectations.”
Sunday’s event coincided with Outlaws’ big Midlands regional raceday, which attracted clubs from as far afield as Skegness and Hull.
But anyone can pop along to try out the new track. The club, which has Sport England Clubmark status, runs coaching sessions on Saturday mornings.
Club membership is only £3 per year, and bikes and helmets are provided for new riders.