It’s with a heavy heart that Cycling Shorts brings you this sad, sad news about the SCCU Good Friday Meeting (Southern Counties Cycling Union), I won’t drop the other Cycling Shorts writers in it, but a few of us have been having the same collective grumble about this all morning.
I wanted to call this article “Herne Hill abandoned for shiny new venue with no soul”, but I’m resisting.
Personally I feel the event will lose a lot of it’s core supporters who have stood by the event no matter the weather, in fact the weather is part of the charm of the Good Friday Meet (and other Good Friday races around the country)… people will still go out in mucky weather to watch or take part in cycling in the UK. At least at an outdoor track the riders pass the spectators repeatedly keeping the audience gripped, the same can not always be said of road racing, it whizzes past you once… reach for your flask of coffee and hobnob (other biscuits are available) and the photo opportunity is gone! Isn’t part of the point of these races to get outdoors and enjoy what spring throws at us?! Herne Hill will be remembered with more fondness than Lee Valley ever could be. It seems it’s yet another event cashing in on the new and sacrificing the old. In my mind this isn’t a move of location, it’s a total change of event.
I want to see grass roots venues being treated with the respect they deserve, if the cycling bubble we are currently riding in does burst (fingers crossed it won’t) you need venues like Herne Hill to help keep cycling going in the bad times, don’t snub it in the good times, why can’t these venues continue to host these sorts of races?… so what if demand outstrips supply of tickets, it becomes a more exclusive event.
The international pro riders I know who ride the GFM year in year out always tell me they love going to Herne Hill, they say it feels like you’re in the heart of a community.
I won’t be able to make it down this year to Lee Valley, I know I grumble, but I know it will still be a great day of racing and I’m sad I can’t go this year, it’s always well organised and quirky… if you haven’t been to the Good Friday Meet before and don’t like British weather then you have no excuse this time, get down to Lee Valley for an action packed day of cycling!
I’ll give it a go next year…. maybe.
Disappointed of the weather beaten (but hardy) North.
So after much rumour…here are the details of the relocation we received this afternoon.
On 18th April 2014 The SCCU Good Friday Meeting will be departing one historic Olympic Venue for another as it makes a move from Herne Hill to Lee Valley Velopark to help celebrate the opening year of the park and the cycling legacy of London 2012.
Lee Valley Velopark
We know that many of our supporters at Herne Hill will be disappointed that they will not be making their annual pilgrimage to Burbage Road ‐ and it will certainly be a very strange feeling for us to not be unlocking the gates at 6 o’clock in the morning – but after 110 years of forecast watching we will not be at the mercy of the British weather this year!
This decision has not been taken lightly. We’ve spent several months weighing up all of the options whilst constantly aiming to bring the best afternoon’s racing we can to our loyal supporters.
Herne Hill is a much‐loved and highly respected venue and work to renovate and evolve into a multi‐use facility is ongoing, taking it from strength to strength and elevating it far above it’s Victorian peers. Whilst the Good Friday meeting is undoubtedly a part of the velodrome’s history we are aware that track racing has moved on over the years and the event also needs to evolve to meet the expectations of the new generation of enthusiasts and supporters.
With this in mind, we felt that it was appropriate to bring the meeting to an indoor venue.
Rest assured, Herne Hill will continue to be a home of world‐class events and we fully intend to expand the number of outdoor‐specific and continental‐style events we promote at the venue, returning to the traditions and racing styles which the venue has hosted for over a century.
To our traditional supporters we say come with us, and to our new supporters we say welcome to some great racing!
Event website: http://www.bristowevents.co.uk/GoodFriday.html
A short film capturing great cycling moments from the RPRT‘s ongoing season.
Our friend James from London has put together another little film which also features Herne Hill and London Nocturne… so many of the UK races.
Ride the London Cycle Sportive for Herne Hill Velodrome
The Herne Hill Velodrome Trust has been given 200 places on the upcoming London Cycle Sportive, organised by Human Race Events, and they’re up for grabs on a first come first serve basis. The event is on Sunday 30 June 2013 and you can save at least £35 by riding as part of Team Velodrome. All you have to do is raise £100 in sponsorship.
Taking in some of the best climbs and routes in the London area, you can chose from three distances; 50km, 100km, and 160km. All of them head out to Biggin Hill, then the longer ones complete a loop of the Surrey hills and infamous Box Hill.
Money raised by Team Velodrome will go towards the next stage of the campaign, to provide a brand new pavilion and secure the site for generations to come. For more information on taking part and to get your free entry code to the London Cycle Sportive, visit http://hhvt.org/support/fundraise/index.html
Nick Rusling of Human Race said; “The event offers the chance to combine a road cycling challenge with an exhilarating velodrome finish at Herne Hill. Team Velodrome is an aspect of the event which will make it really special and we are aiming to make sure it happens every year. Being able to support this is hugely rewarding for us at Human Race.”
Shiny New Website
The Herne Hill Velodrome Trust is also delighted to unveil its new website, at www.hhvt.org, which combines updates on the progress of the campaign, information on how to get involved, join the Friends, and what our next goals are. Lesley Pinder, Trustee behind the new website, said; “We wanted to bring together all the news, project updates and ideas for how people can help the campaign, and the new website does exactly that. We also wanted to reflect all the individuals and companies who have helped us get this far – and appeal to people to help us keep it all going”
SCCU Good Friday Meeting
Herne Hill Velodrome, Burbage Road, SE24 9HE : 29 March 2013
Marcel Kalz at Good Friday picture ©Paul Wright
Top International riders competing at the historic Good Friday meeting this year are Sprinter Robert Forstemann, Six Day riders Christian Grasmann, Marcel Kalz, Leif Lampater, Nico Hesslich (all Germany) & Manuel Cazzaro (Italy).
Andy Tennant (Madison Genesis) is the leading British rider supported by Dominic Jelfs.
Team Raleigh have a strong presence with Evan Oliphant, Tom Scully and Sam Witmitz. Peter Mitchell, winner of the Open Sprint for the last two years is hoping to make it three in a row.
Live commentary will be provided by David Harmon. Paralympic stars Jody Cundy and Jon-Allan Butterworth are also competing and newly crowned World Sprint and World Keirin Champion Becky James will be making a guest appearance, but will not be racing on this occasion.
The Triumph Thunderbird motorbikes will again take to the track. Two British riders, James Holland-Leader and Symon Lewis will compete against riders from Holland, Belgium, France and Germany in the seven man 40 laps Motor paced race.
There are five races for women this year; women’s specific are the Sprint, Keirin and Scratch, and women will take on the men in the 5 Mile and Devil.
The usual SCCU Good Friday favourite races include the White Hope Sprint for up and coming riders, the International Open Sprint with top riders from home and abroad and the Meeting will end with the now classic Golden Wheel 20 k scratch, which boasts a fantastic £1000 for the winner and a further £1000 for the runners up. Last year’s winner, Marcel Kalz from Germany is returning to defend his trophy against a 125 strong field.
Apart from the usual ‘cycle jumble’ stalls there will be Bike Bling and bike related stalls around the Velodrome, plus a Real Ale Bar, proper coffee and hot food outlets. Gates open at 9.30 for spectators. Preliminary races start at 10.30 and the Finals start at 1pm, all being well it should be done by 5.30.
Good Friday By Numbers:
11: The number of countries that riders come from this year (France, Belgium, GB, Holland, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Finland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia),
22: The number of women competing in 2013
57: Hotel beds booked for the Meeting
148: The number of riders in this year’s Meeting
£675: Total Prize money for the Womens events
£1000: First prize for the Golden Wheel 20k Scratch
1903: Year the first meeting was held
£4610: Total Prize money for the Meeting
Admission is £12 for adults, £6 for 12-16s and free for under 12s. Tickets can be purchased in advance via the website or on the day. There is no onsite car parking for spectators; please arrive by train to Herne Hill station (8 minutes walk) or bike, as there will be plenty of bike parking. Spectators needing disabled parking should contact the organisers in advance.
Further information can be found at: www.bristowevents.co.uk/GoodFriday.html
Herne Hill Velodrome Celebrates
Olympic Legacy Project is Given Green Light
Herne Hill Velodrome is one of the finest outdoor cycling tracks in the UK and is the last remaining finals venue from the 1948 Olympic Games. Much of the UK’s Olympic success in 1948 came from two silver and two bronze medals won in track cycling events. It is still used by the British Cycling as a base for developing cycling talent and encouraging grassroots interest; famous names whose careers began at Herne Hill include Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott and Jo Rowsell.
The Herne Hill Velodrome Trust is the charity established in 2011 to lead the refurbishment and renewal of the Herne Hill Velodrome site for current and future generations of cyclists. The have been working hard to gain recognition of the importance of the Velodrome to the local community and beyond today there was good news….
Southwark Council has approved (subject to conditions) two planning applications from the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust to improve facilities at the historic outdoor track in South East London. The works will be funded by a £400,000 grant from Southwark Council’s Olympic Legacy Project.
The first approval will see construction of an area of hardstanding and a junior track within the velodrome’s inner field. These will provide much needed training facilities for young, novice and less able riders. The junior track will provide a 250 meter flat surface for wide and diverse community use, such as the charity Wheels for Wellbeing who use hand bikes, trikes and side-by-side bikes to help less able riders enjoy cycling. This is the first time Herne Hill will be able to offer such space; other than the track and mountain bike course, there is currently no tarmac area for new and young riders to practice.
The second approval will see installation of much needed track lighting on the main velodrome, the first time the track has ever been lit in its 122 year history. The lighting has been designed with bespoke lighting poles to ensure it delivers the required brightness whilst also minimizing light overspill and with no ecological impact. Lighting will be available for use up to 9.15pm and will allow the velodrome to be used during the winter months when early darkness currently prevents training.
Chair of the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust Hillary Peachey said: “This is a very proud moment in our campaign. We will be able to offer more children, from more diverse backgrounds, an opportunity to learn track cycling. There will be more sessions for women to take up riding, and more time for non-conventional and less able cyclists to discover the freedom of riding in a safe and welcoming environment. And we can at last offer better facilities to those elite riders who train and race at Herne Hill, inspiring the next generation.”
Ian Drake, CEO of British Cycling, said; “’We are delighted that the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust have been successful in obtaining planning permission for what is effectively phase two of the velodrome’s rebirth. Phase one was achieved in 2011 when British Cycling resurfaced the track, saving it from closure and we look forward to working with the Trust, the Dulwich Estate, Sport England and all our local members and supporters to deliver phase three – the redevelopment of the pavilion”.
Cllr Veronica Ward, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport, and Olympic Legacy at Southwark Council, said: “The Capital Legacy Fund has contributed significantly to the development of this famous Velodrome. We are delighted that this next phase has been granted planning permission and that the energy and dynamism of the 2012 Olympics has not been lost in Southwark. We are already seeing real examples of a long-lasting legacy. The state of the art improvements at Herne Hill Velodrome will open up this fantastic facility to larger numbers of cyclists, and allow different generations and people of all abilities to take advantage of the activities on offer.”
Michael Conway, CEO of FM Conway who have been contracted to complete the works, said; “We are extremely pleased to be involved in these prestigious works and are looking forward to working on this historic site that has played such an important part in our sporting history.”
Approval of the applications coincides with preparation for the biggest event of the year at Herne Hill, the Southern Counties’ Cycling Union Good Friday Meeting. This event is now in its 110th year and will be held on 29 March, 2013. With the date looming, and international riders as well as British champions already booked to race, the timing of being granted planning permission and being able to begin work on site could not be more important.
The construction team are fully committed and working hard in uncertain weather conditions to enable the completion of the infield works in time for Good Friday. The installation of lighting will follow in May.
The project team are:
Jackson Coles LLP – Project manager
Hopkins Architects – Feasibility study
Rolfe Judd Planning Ltd – Planning consultant
Deloitte LLP – Cost Consultants
Ramboll – Structural Engineers
Peter Deer Associates – Services & Engineering
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP – Legal representative
Spokesmen Ltd – Public consultation & media
FM Conway – Contractor for works & project partner
2012 Knog – Muddy Hell
©Olly Townsend of Cloud9Trails
Read our full Muddy Hell report here.