Cuchulainn Cycling Club are delighted to announce that they have been granted planning permission by Dundalk Town Council to build a Cycling Velodrome and BMX track at Hoey’s Lane, Dundalk.
The idea was first muted in 2010 as part of the club’s 75th anniversary celebrations. The park itself will consist of an outdoor 250m track along with a 360m BMX track. The track is oval in shape and banked, being quite steep in the corners.
Track cycling has long been a main stay of the sport, with events dating back to the 1870s, and has grown hugely in popularity in recent years with the success of the British Cycling team.
In fact, Scotland’s Chris Hoy has become the most successful British Olympian of all time, thanks to the seven medals (six golds) he has amassed on the track since 2000, a career which has spanned four different Olympic Games.
Also most recent Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins started his career on the track. With the exception of the 1912 Olympics, track cycling has been featured in every modern Olympic Games.
Gary Sheils of Sheils Engineering & Design Ltd, based in Dundalk, was the man charged with putting together the plans. Gary spent a considerable amount of time visiting and studying the designs of some of the best cycling and BMX tracks in the world to put together a top class facility and also how to best fit it into the Hoey’s Lane surroundings so as to blend it in with the natural landscape. He highlighted the London tracks as the best he had seen, following a visit in early 2012 to the Olympic grounds.
“What was most impressive about the London venue was that it was designed so that it could facilitate top class racers, but was also suitable as an environment for beginners and children to learn the craft,” outlined Sheils.
He went on to say “this is something I wanted to work into the Dundalk Cycling Park design, as the sport has huge potential to be popular with children.”
Ireland currently has three other outdoor venues in Dublin, Belfast and most recently Cork, however of these tracks, only Cork, is made to international specifications of 250m.
In 2012 Ireland had two athletes qualify for the cycling in London, however due to the lack of facilities in the country both Caroline Ryan and Martyn Irvine were forced to travel abroad for training.
When discussing the project Irvine said, “For the future of cycling in Ireland this project is essential. I’ve raced against various competitors world wide and they grew up with venues like this. Even for the safety of the young bike riders starting out this is perfect as there is no no traffic and need for supervision the whole time.”
BMX racing is a new Olympic Sport, making its debut at the Games in London last year. Ireland had no riders qualify in this discipline and another track in the country - the number currently stands at two - is sure to attract younger adults and children alike to the sport.