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Cyclists forced to close track; SPORT: Lack of cash puts brakes on famous old city club.

Byline: By Neil Elkes

ONE of Birmingham's oldest sports clubs has been forced to close after inspectors ruled its cycle track unfit and a risk to riders.

The Birmingham Mon-archs Cycle Speedway Club, formed in 1947, has been told by the sport's governing body it cannot compete in the 2007 season on health and safety grounds.

On Saturday the Birmingham Mail revealed that the club's future hung in the balance - and now their worst fears have been confirmed.

Inspectors from British Cycling found a catalogue of problems on the 40-year-old track at Perry Hall Playing Fields, Perry Barr, including crumbling inner and perimeter lines and broken drain covers.

The amateur club now has to withdraw from the British League, British Team Championship and cannot host its leg of the British Junior Grand Prix.

It means a generation of young riders, such as potential British champion 19-year-old Marcus Whad-hams, of Spouthouse Lane, Great Barr, will be left without any team or track.

Monarchs rider and Welsh international Mark Win-wood, who reached last year's World Final in Australia, said "This is a very sad day for us and a lamentable day for sport in Birmingham.

"We have seen this coming for some time now and despite all our representations to Birmingham City Council over the past two years they have let this happen".

The club had application for an pounds 10,000 grant, needed to bring the track up to scratch, turned down by the Perry Barr ward council committee.

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said it was rejected because available money had already been given to sport in the area and the club's application was not backed by quotations and full costing details.

CAPTION(S):

BLOW... Marcus Wadhams and his teammates. Picture: Iain Findlay Photosales No: IF151206CYCLE-04
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 20, 2006
Words:296
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