Cyclists are worried that the cycling track at Shrewsbury Sports Village, which used to be the “jewel in the crown” of Shropshire, is going to complete “rack and ruin” amidst a lack of maintenance and urgency to take care of the track.
The track hosted the British National Cyclocross Championships in 2020, in which Great Britain’s multi-disciplinary maestro Tom Pidcock defended his title successfully while Hattie Harnden won her first medal in the women’s category.
In the past year, a total of 32 cyclists have required treatment after falling off their bikes in two separate events held at the track. Former British Cycling team manager Dave Mellor said that number is beyond what you’d expect and puts it down to the slippery conditions of the track.
Mellor told Shropshire Star: “At an event in June, 14 children fell off which is many more than we would normally expect, as they were slipping even on a straight section. There was a long queue for the one paramedic for grazed knees.
And then at the North Midlands Cyclocross League event in September, with 400 riders aged between six and 60, Mellor said that 18 people needed first aid treatment. “Normally we have nothing,” he added.
He said that the track has gone from being a fantastic jewel in the crown venue, and the only one in Shropshire, to being one where "brambles are shooting out of everywhere, the track is cracking".
Mellor added: "We have feral cats and rabbits running on the track when people are riding on it. Footballs come on to the track when people are riding on it, and they do not get on with wheels.
Any news on the botched resurfacing of the cycle track at Shrewsbury Sports Village. 14 kids needed treatment at an event in June and 18 at an event in September. The permit to hold competitions will surely be withdrawn by @BritishCycling if resurfacing is not completed soon. https://t.co/GfHDuLXHaO
— Dave Mellor Cycles (@davemellorcycle) September 20, 2023
Mellor, who helps run events for the Mid Shropshire Wheelers and the West Midlands CycloCross League, said that it used to be well-maintained earlier but now he's worried that someone will have a serious accident on the surface.
He added: "Last year they just did the edges of the track but the vehicle they used was too heavy and the wheels broke up part of the surface."
Mellor said the issue has been going on for more than 10 years. At one stage he was on the board of trustees for the venue but he said he resigned because it was a "waste of time".
“It was a fantastic facility but unfortunately the cycle track and maintenance has been going downhill for years,” he said.
“I’m worried about the future investment because we seem to have a council going bankrupt and spending money on the North West Relief Road and on the shopping centre.”
A spokesperson for Shropshire Council said: “We’re aware of ongoing problems with the condition of the cycle track at Shrewsbury Sports Village and the council’s property services team have been working with surfacing contractors to find a solution.
“We have also contacted British Cycling, to ask for advice and technical support.”
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.