TAMWORTH Cycle Club, stung by ill-informed criticism of its supposed lack of use of the Velodrome, is hoping the cycling venue might be the creator of more junior state and national champions over the next few months.
Last Saturday a short and savage letter from Phillip Rowe, a Moonbi Leader reader, wanted to know “what the future holds for the velodrome”.
“I haven’t seen any action there for such a long time,” he wrote.
“No one can use it...It’s just a mystery as to why it just sits there, all shut up, all year. What is its actual purpose?”
Tamworth Cycle Club president Ray Griffin was savage in his reply to the letter writer’s criticisms.
“Tamworth Cycle Club makes substantial use of the velodrome through the track season which runs from early October to the end of March each year,” Griffin said.
“Throughout the track season the velodrome is in use on four evenings each week for training sessions.
“On most weekends our track racing specialists are away at events in Sydney and across the state.
“This week, for example, we have two riders racing in Adelaide.
Griffin said it was also important to note the velodrome construction was funded by Tamworth Cycle Club, Tamworth City Council (as it was then) plus grants from Department of Sport and Recreation and the like.
Members of the club also provided substantial amounts of labour during construction.
“Since completion in the 1990s, the velodrome has been pivotal in preparing quite a few Tamworth and district cyclists for state and national championships.
“Our latest crop of champions includes Jess and Tori Saunders – we’ve lost count of how many state and national medals they have won in track racing.
“I doubt this would have been possible if the Tamworth Velodrome were not available for training and racing.
“20-year-old Sam Spokes spent many track seasons racing and training on the velodrome before his career took him to Europe several years ago.”
Griffin said the velodrome is owned by Tamworth Regional Council and the reason it is secured when not being used is “because a velodrome is not the sort of place anyone should just wander in and ride their bike”.
“The banking is designed to be quite steep – especially the ends – and it would be very easy for inexperienced cyclists to be seriously injured in that setting,” he said.
“In any community, not all public assets are in use every day of every week every year.
“In our community for example the great facilities at Number 1 Oval are not being used every day but they are there to be utilised when required.
“The velodrome is an integral part of Tamworth Cycle Club’s activities and we are very grateful for the cooperation and assistance we receive from Tamworth Regional Council.
“For more than 60 years Tamworth Cycle Club has been developing champion cyclists who, because of their superior fitness and health, are otherwise a very small cost burden on the community. “