A Brixton bike club battling to fund the renovation of one of London’s most famous BMX tracks, has received the backing of a 2012 Olympian. Shanaze Reade, a four-time BMX world champion and star of the 2012 Olympic Games, was announced as a patron of Brixton BMX Club last week.
Ms Reade, who recently led a training session for young riders at Brockwell Park, has backed the club’s bid to get more young people into the sport.
“This was a special session and a one-off”, says Mike Woof, the club’s press officer. “Having Shanaze Reade lead the session was about energising the kids who train with us. It was about firing them up and saying here is an elite rider, an Olympian, this is what you can aim for and aspire to”.
“Having the chance to ride with an Olympian, someone who has been a world champion and rides at an elite level, is something very out of the ordinary for a grassroots club like ours”.
Club founder Ken Floyde said: “It’s an honour and a privilege for the club because Shanaze Reade has links with many clubs around the country. It’s great to have her visit us and help inspire our youngsters, some of whom of could be the BMX stars of the future”.
Ms Reade’s visit capped an eventful week for club members who launched a £150,000 appeal to fund the renovation of Brockwell Park’s bike track. The track, which has been used by scores of elite and novice riders, was initially built in 1990 nine years after the club was founded.
Brixton BMX Club, which has been a mainstay in the local community for than two decades, is set to host one of the London BMX Series events later on this year. Members hope funds raised from the appeal will help get the track into shape ahead of the event in the autumn.
“The series we’re hosting will take place in September and we need to be up to scratch for that”, says Kelly McKay, the club’s web manager who took up BMX riding after seeing her four-year-old son in action.
“It’s us putting in the hard work, digging out ditches and raking the track”, Mike Woof added. “We have had some support from Lambeth Council and from Councillor Jim Dixon. But while the Council doesn’t have a lot of money, they don’t seem to appreciate the value of what we are doing.
“When you compare our track with the Peckham-based one at Burgess Park, Southwark Council helped the club that uses that track bring together £1.2million to build it.
“It’s a world-class track and looking at that we can’t help but be envious and think, how is it that Southwark can do it and Lambeth can’t do that for us”. To find out more about Brixton BMX Club visit http://www.brixtonbmx.co.uk/#!/home