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BMX Tracks

Volume 478: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

3. How many international standard BMX tracks there are in the UK; and how many of these are indoors. (212568)

The UK has three tracks capable of hosting European standard series events, none of which is indoors. As part of the development of cycling facilities for the London 2012 Olympic games and Paralympic games, a velopark will be created in the Olympic park consisting of an Olympic standard BMX track with 6,000 spectator seats. After the games, the facility will remain as a permanent open-air BMX track.

Here we have a sport at which Britain excels, and Bassetlaw, which was the centre of the cycling revolution in Britain from the time of Tommy Simpson in the 1960s onwards, has one of the three BMX tracks. Will the Minister consider how much opportunities for our cyclist athletes would be improved, not least in terms of medal contention, if the BMX track at Harworth could be encased so that it is available in bad weather as well as in good weather? If that were to happen, we could be the very top team in the world, rather than just being among the top teams.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on championing some great sports. He will be aware that we have a BMX world champion in Shazane Reade, who is one of the leaders in the sport. My hon. Friend needs to speak to British Cycling, the national governing body for cycling, on the basis that it has transformed cycling. Anyone who saw the world cycling championships recently will know that Great Britain got 10 of the 17 gold medals available. Cycling is a progressive sport, and the organisation will perhaps consider my hon. Friend’s bid in the light of the new sports plans.

As the international standard cross-country mountain biking tracks are in Wales, Scotland, the north and the west, why is public money being used to create a new track in Essex, which lacks one of the key essential requirements for mountain biking—mountains? Could we not hold the event in south Wales, where there is an excellent track at Margam?

I understand that there are a few hills in Essex. However, the hon. Gentleman makes a fair point, in that we need to ensure that the recent Sport England review actually works. We need to talk to sports governing bodies to ensure that their whole sport plans will benefit everyone through different types of sport. The cycling governing bodies are leaders in reacting to proposals, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will be able to take up this issue with the relevant organisation.