After two years work and £40,000 investment a BMX track opened in Burgess Hill last Tuesday.
The track in Leylands Park was officially opened by Councillor Pru Moore, Mid Sussex District Council cabinet member for leisure and sustainability.
She said: “The children love it, it compliments the skate park and we managed to get it finished in time for the holidays.”
At the opening, professional BMX riders put on a display for the crowds and showed younger riders the best way to tackle the course.
The professionals included Abbie Taylor, a former British National Champion BMX Racer, who was a reserve member of Team GB at the London Olympics in 2012 and former Silver Medallist at the BMX Junior World Championships.
She said: “It’s a really great course and perfect for riders to learn on.
“The good thing about the track is it suits young riders but it’s also technical enough to challenge riders who are used to bigger tracks. The turns are nice and smooth which makes it a fast track to ride.”
The new Burgess Hill bike track is the only one of its kind in Mid Sussex and the District Council consulted closely with local youth groups and BMX enthusiasts to make sure the track design met the needs of the local community.
Public consultation events were held last summer where residents discussed plans submitted by four leading bike track designers and selected their preferred layout.
The new track is designed by experts Bike Track and features a ‘W’ shape to create a series of long straights and jumps for riders to enjoy.
The bike park also features a tightly designed ‘pump track’, a separate course where bikers use an up and down ‘pumping’ motion to propel the BMX forward instead of pedalling.
This area is perfect for new riders to practice balance, learn new skills and improve confidence on the bike.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to provide this brand new bike track for local children to enjoy,” Cllr Moore continued.
“The council’s landscapes team, my fellow ward councillor Cherry Catherine and the enthusiastic members of the local community who got involved deserve a great deal of credit for all the hard work they put in to make this dream a reality.
“This new track is going to be a wonderful community facility that will attract BMX riders from all over the district. BMX riding is part of the Olympics now so who knows, maybe a future gold medallist will start to learn their skills right here in Mid Sussex.”
Local resident Neil Kemp has been closely involved with the project, after recognising the need for a new bike track and asking the council to provide one in Burgess Hill.
He said: “When I was younger I used to ride on the old BMX course that was here in the 1980s but there was nothing for kids today.
“I have a young son myself now who’s six and he’s been a keen BMX rider since he was four years old.
“We used to travel to Crawley for him to use the track at Cherry Lane but it’s a long way to go, quite difficult to get to and the track is nowhere near as good as the one we have here now.
“This new track is going to be so popular with local children.
“It’s already really busy, I come down here regularly and there can be 40 or 50 kids riding here in the evening.”