A state-of-the-art pump track in Kidsgrove hailed the best in the country is officially opening to the public later today.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is formally unveiling the facility – based at Newchapel recreation ground – this afternoon following the completion of construction work by internationally renowned track builders, Clark & Kent Contractors from Ashley.
The large pump track, suitable for all ages and abilities, features a number of elevated starting platforms and a host of jumps and obstacles – supplemented by directional arrows – including berms, rollers, angled rollers, table tops, doubles, a shark fin and a left-handed hip jump. The design, developed in consultation with residents, maximises momentum with minimal pedalling using wheeled equipment such as BMX bikes, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards and wheelchairs.
A small group of excited pupils from surrounding schools have accepted invitations to come along with their bikes and helmets to test the track and watch demonstrations by Kyle Evans – a two-time Olympian and European BMX champion from Manchester – and amateur rollerblader Kirsty Meakin from Kidsgrove.
The Council is financing the project using £100,000 of the £750,000 advanced Town Deal funding it has received from the Government to improve residents’ health and well-being in the town.
The pump track also includes new seating, bins and free, off-road car parking.
Cllr. Jill Waring, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “One of the Council’s priorities is to create a healthy and active borough by ensuring residents and visitors have access to a wide range of facilities and activities to help improve their health and quality of life. I’m absolutely over the moon that we are able to officially open this fantastic pump track in Kidsgrove in the height of summer. This is hugely positive news for everyone.
“We’ve waited a very long time for something like this and I know that young people have sometimes, and understandably, struggled to contain their excitement. This once in a lifetime opportunity has allowed us to replace the very old and informal ramps with something extremely special indeed that will provide visitors with something fun, healthy, challenging and free to enjoy for years to come.
“We want to encourage youngsters in particular to leave their PlayStations or Xboxes behind and get out of the house to exercise and socialise in the fresh air. The mental health benefits are just as important as the physical ones. The contractor has done an amazing job as predicted – I hope people show their appreciation for this major investment by respecting the facility, behaving responsibly and using the bins provided at all times.”
Kyle Evans, who works for Clark & Kent Contractors, qualified as a BMX reserve athlete for the London 2012 Olympic Games and competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He raced into the record books in 2018, leading an historic European Championship one-two for Great Britain in Glasgow.
The 27-year-old added: “It’s been fantastic to build a track like this on our own doorstep. We’ve put our heart and soul into it. It’s as suitable for a complete novice as it is to intermediate and expert riders. The young people are so hyped – we’ve already seen such talent and I guarantee that within the next 10 years we’ll have riders coming out of Kidsgrove and Newcastle making something of themselves.”
The remaining advanced Town Deal funding is being spent on the early works associated with the refurbishment of Kidsgrove Sports Centre; filling a gap in match funding to guarantee the delivery of modern leisure facilities for the King’s School and the community; and a series of upgrades at Clough Hall Park. The Council has since received an additional £16.9 million for major projects to make Kidsgrove a more desirable place to work, live, visit and invest.