BMX track set to be revamped

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WORK to revamp a BMX track is set to start next month.

The 1,200ft-long track at Summerhill Country Park, off Catcote Road, in Hartlepool, is a popular site with riders but needs investment to meet national standards.

Officers from Hartlepool Borough Council have been working closely on the plans with the North East BMX Club, which is based at the site, and have secured funding towards the revamp.

Work will see the complete refurbishment of the BMX course, altering the existing six straights and five turns into four straights and three turns.

The track was built to national standards but it has deteriorated over time and needs maintenance work.

It also needs to be redesigned in a bid to once again meet national standards.

A bid for funding to the landfill trust operator BIFFA, who were offering grants, was successful in raising £50,000.

Money has also been secured from the Dragon’s Den funding stream, which will go towards constructing a new BMX start gate.

Work is expected to start in September and council officers said it was agreed to do it that way to avoid the busy summer holidays.

John Mennear, the council’s assistant director (community services), said: “National standards change all the time and this work and investment will bring it back up to national standards.

“The Olympics have given a real boost to participation and this is one area that could benefit the most.”

The course, one of the longest in the country, contains obstacles like jumps, table-tops and tight bends.

The council has carried out some maintenance to the track over recent years but the majority of the work has been done by the club members.

The North East BMX club, which has about 35 members and has produced three British champions, has been based at Summerhill since 2005.

Members come from Gateshead, Newcastle, Darlington and Bishop Auckland to hone their skills.