A & T Develop links with British Cycling
(2002 Web-site Archive)
Already established as a Go-Ride club, in recognition for the club's junior friendly policies, the club staged a regional heat of the Raleigh Skills Challenge, a national competition aimed at introducing new youngsters to cycle sport, in March, on behalf of British Cycling. New North West Regional Youth Development Officer, Kurt Lindley, has made several visits to the Gin Pit circuit and has pledged to assist the A & T club in building up links with schools and other youth organisations to increase recruitment.
Already designated as the North's Regional Cycle Speedway Centre, a status held since 1997, the Gin Pit venue has recently been designated as British Cycling's North West Cycle Speedway Academy. Newly appointed North West World Class Start Sprint Talent Team manager, Brian Barton, has paid several visits to Astley, along with coaches Beren Airstone and Chris Furber. The trio have so far brought along the North West Sprint Talent Team on three occasions to Astley for cycle speedway training sessions, with several more planned throughout the year. This is part of their overall training programme which will see them develop in the various sprint disciplines of: track racing; mountain biking; BMX racing; cycle speedway. The aim of the World Class Start programme is to identify talent at an early age and then develop them into future international and Olympic stars. Not all the starters will progress to the heady heights of the World Class Performance Programme, and it is the A & T club's wish that, having sampled cycle speedway as part of the Start programme, some riders will decide to concentrate on cycle speedway racing for the club.
This Autumn will see Mike Hack and Gary Nuttall of the Astley & Tyldesley club undertake British Cycling's Level 2 Club Coach training course, to further assist the Club and the Talent Team by having two qualified coaches on hand at all times for cycle speedway sessions.
The Astley facilities and provision of 12 cycle speedway club bikes are ideal for use by visiting groups such as this. The club has also played host to visiting groups of youth clubs and school parties.
Although existing senior riders within cycle speedway seem to be strangely reluctant to join the A & T club, with its excellent facilities and top organisation - preferring instead to move to other clubs which already have plenty of seniors - there is no doubt that the A & T club are planning for the future by setting up a rigorous recruitment and development programme, which will ultimately pay dividends, as well as assisting British Cycling in meeting their goals.