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Newcastle Velodrome on the road to ruin

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The Newcastle Hunter Cycling Club’s (NHCC) production line of amazing talent is in danger of disappearing due to the sub-standard condition of its velodrome.

With the Broadmeadow facility in dire need of repairs and lighting, the circuit’s a mere shadow of its former self.

In fact, the organisation’s juniors recently had to travel to the Dunc Gray indoor centre in Bass Hill just to train in readiness for major competitions.

“That we have so many NSW champions in Newcastle is incredible considering our poor amenities,” president Justin Rose said.

“We’ve also had quite a few masters, world recordholders and champs, national medallists, too.

“One of our young guns, Noah Mason, who dominated the under-19s at state, is about to contest the Australian titles.

“The club’s prolific in churning out stars but it’s surprising given the state of the local velodrome.

“It is well and truly below par to produce athletes of that quality.

“So, there’s a real concern for NHCC moving forward.

“At the moment, there are a lot of people who head to Sydney to utilise the training facilities required to hone their skills.

“It’s disappointing, especially when you consider how big Newcastle is.

“We should have our own first-class track.”

Rose said it was a far cry from the club’s halcyon days.

“A lot of work occurred in the 1970s by many people, who actually lobbied the governments to build the original facility,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“However, basically since then, there’s only been a few dollars spent on the place.

“Much of that has come from the Velodrome Trust or the land managers to keep it to an acceptable safe level.

“Now, we’re at a point where we need to try and lobby people to get it upgraded.

“The circuit is cracked and, following the recent rain, water-logged.

“We used to be the envy of the cycling community.

“There’s seating all the way around the velodrome and, back in the 80s and 90s, there were spectators crammed in wall-to-wall.

“It was a terrific atmosphere.

“We’d stage Coca Cola Classics, all the big car manufacturers throughout Newcastle used to be involved, and we’d host massive competitions with riders from Europe.

“That is the ultimate goal – to return to those glory days, starting with a few state events.

“Unfortunately, it’s not even a vision yet.

“We’re a long way from that.

“It’s nowhere near the quality track it needs to be.”

Rose said the members weren’t giving up but required some financial assistance.

“We’ve approached the local state and federal politicians and, even, council,” he explained.

“We regularly put in for funding through Crown Lands and other agencies that have money available.

“It’s just disappointing we can’t obtain any decent funds.

“We received a little bit to upgrade the lighting power pole and some electrical circuits but that was mostly to keep it compliant, not to make any actual improvements there.

“So, if there’s anyone who is in a position to help us secure funding, we’d love to hear from you.”

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