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Delight as cycle club is rescued; CAMPAIGN: Cash boost to repair track gives bikers a lifeline.

Byline: By Neil Elkes

BIRMINGHAM'S oldest cycling club has been saved from closure at the eleventh hour.

The Birmingham Monarchs Cycle Speedway club was last month threatened with expulsion from the national league because its crumbling track was a danger to riders.

It will now get the Perry Hall Playing Fields circuit repaired after securing a pounds 10,000 grant from the city council.

Work on the 40-year-old council-owned track, which has suffered from years of neglect, is expected to take three weeks.

The decision means the amateur club, which has been racing for more than 60 years, will be on the starting line for the new season in March.

Perry Barr councillors ordered urgent meetings between the Monarchs and city sports officials after the club's plight was featured in the Birmingham Mail last month.

Club secretary Mark Winwood, who reached the 2005 World Cycle Speedway Final in Australia, said: "We are absolutely delighted. We would like to thank the Perry Barr councillors and officials for their support."

Amongst refurbishments are the renewal of the inner and perimeter track kerbstones, ten new drainage points, additional banking, centre green turfing, officials' standing area and surface replacement.

Perry Barr constituency officer Steve Salt said: "Birmingham Cycle Speedway club do fantastic work in the Perry Barr area, from recruiting local youngsters, providing them with purposeful healthy activities and through to providing an exciting calendar of local, regional and national competition."

The club have a full programme in 2007, including the Midland League, hosting the British Veterans Final and a round of the British Junior Grand Prix series.

To secure additional funding, the club are also shortly to apply for British Cycling Go-Ride accreditation. Go-Ride is a kite-mark which demands best practice in running cycle clubs, including club management, coaching, welfare, accountancy, first aid and child protection.

CAPTION(S):

BACK ON TRACK...Mark Winwood (front) with cyclist Marcus Wadhams at the Perry Barr track.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 6, 2007
Words:320
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