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World Champs track opened
- Updated: July 27, 2010
The world’s best BMX riders converge on Pietermaritzburg for the UCI BMX World Champs that start on Thursday, and the track was formally opened on Monday to critical acclaim from the global BMX fraternity.
From the top of the eight-metre high elite start ramp, Pietermaritzburg’s deputy mayor Jabu Ngube was all smiles as she overcame her fear of heights to cut the banner and formally open the new-age track for the competition.
She was assisted by the UCI technical delegate Johan Lindstrom, Cycling SA’s president Greg Till and Pietermaritzburg BMX racing icon Sharlene McGillvray.
“We might have missed out on the soccer, but now it is Pietermaritzburg’s time to shine,” said Ngube. “We are working hard to position the city as a sporting destination, and the BMX World Champs is an excellent chance to show the world what we can do.”
She also urged Pietermaritzburg sport lovers to support the event in numbers, which will in turn support the city’s bids to host other major international events in the future. “This way each and every person that attends the event will also be serving the city,” she added.
Cycling South Africa’s president Greg Till was all smiles surveying the state-of-the-art track, which for the first time will feature dual tracks for the elite and cruiser classes, and two separate start ramps.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿”It is totally awesome and a dream come true,” said Till. “I have overcome the disbelief and I must say that the entire set-up has way exceeded my expectations.”
Till also underscored the importance of staging an Olympic discipline world championships to such high standards, and the impact this would have on cycling’s ongoing drive to have BMX included in the Commonwealth Games.
He also threw his weight behind the deputy-mayor’s call for the public to support all four days of the event. “The support from Pietermaritzburg for the recent downhill BMX event was outstanding. I really hope that we can get the same sort of support for this event as we might get for a rugby match. All our riders will be easily identifiable in their green and gold, and you cannot understand what a difference the home crowd support will make for a lot of these riders,” he added.
“We have plenty of world numbers and very experienced riders, but we also have riders who have never raced at this level. For these guys and girls the support of the home crowd in the Royal Showgrounds will mean a great deal,’ said Till.
The UCI BMX World Championships takes place at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg from 29 July to 1 August. More information can be found at www.bmxworldchampspmb.co.za