BMX track declared open for World Champs

2010-07-27 00:00

THE newly completed track for the UCI BMX World Championships, which are set to begin on Thursday, was officially opened at the Royal Showgrounds yesterday.

The event was attended by Msunduzi Deputy Mayor Jabu Ngubo and Cycling South Africa president Greg Till.

Local organising committee director Max Cluer said that although the core work on the track had been completed on Sunday, there is still work to be done before the event gets under way.

“Once everybody is off site we will sort out the finer details and work on the ­aesthetic elements of the track,” Cluer said.

Ngubo put aside her evident fear of heights when she marked the completion of the track by cutting through a UCI banner from atop the eight-metre starting ramp. The banner dropped to loud applause.

International riders and visitors are already arriving in Pietermaritzburg as practices on the track begin today, and Ngubo is confident that visitors will leave the city with fond memories.

“People will see that Pietermaritzburg is not all doom and gloom and they will enjoy their time here,” she said smiling.

“This also forms part of our longer-term plans to turn Pietermaritzburg into an international sporting destination …”

Ngubo urged residents to turn up in force at the weekend to lend their support to the event.

“One of the most important things that make an event a success is that it is well supported by its city’s people,” she added.

Till said he expects the event to be well supported based on what he has seen from previous cycling events held in the city, including last year’s Downhill Mountain Biking World Cup.

“We have an incredible venue here in Pietermaritzburg with world-class facilities,” Till said. “It gives the public a chance to support their country in a way that they might not be used to.”

About 280 South Africans will be competing at the weekend and Till urged the public to show their support for the local riders.

“Every single South African rider will be wearing the same green and gold kit,” he said.

“It really will make a difference to these guys if we come out and show our support for them.”

Fans hoping to catch a glimpse of what to expect will be able to view the practice sessions between 9 am and 4 pm today and tomorrow, free of charge.

Public parking will be available across the road from the showgrounds at Voortrekker High School.

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