BMX fans on track to see world stars

READY TO RACE: Preston Pirates members on the Fishwick track
READY TO RACE: Preston Pirates members on the Fishwick track
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Olympic stars will be among the competitors at a national BMX race in Preston.

Hundreds of riders from across the country and thousands of spectators are expected to attend a BMX competition at Preston’s very own track on Fishwick recreation ground.

BMX World Champion Liam Phillips and other Olympic Elite riders will be gracing the London road competition.

But it will be the Preston Pirates who hope to steal the limelight when the event comes to Preston on May 24 and 25.

Riders from as far as Scotland and Cornwall will be competing in the event – which could win them a place at the British championships later in the year.

The event is being held here in Preston because the recently renovated floodlit track is one of the premier venues in the country.

Preston Pirates chairman and coach Ian Brookes said: “The last time we hosted an event like that was in 2008.

“BMX-ing has gone a lot further on with it being in the Olympics, so we didn’t meet the criteria until we got the new track, that enabled us to apply for a national.

“When they came down, they decided the track was up to it.

“If it is a success, it could be something that comes back every year.”

The two-day contest will be action-packed and adrenaline-fuelled with high-flying jumps and high-speed challenges from both grassroots riders and British and European champions riding side by side. Races usually last under a minute and are run in quick succession, promising an exciting day for all.

Preston Pirate Kyle Evans, 21, said: “I am looking forward to competing in the British Cycling National Event in May on my home track and hopefully doing the club proud.”

He added: “As a British Cycling Programme rider, I am really pleased to be part of Preston Pirates BMX Club and to have helped with the success it has had.

“When I go down to the club, it’s great to see how all the participants integrate together, with World and European Championship riders linking in with the grassroots stuff the club delivers.

“The recent injection of funding has enabled the club to improve the facility on London Road with an improved track, which is now national standard, and the addition of floodlights for all year round training.

“The structured programme of coaching that is delivered at Preston, alongside the improved facilities, will help sustain and build for the future, and hopefully see the club produce some more talented bmx racers.”

The club is run by volunteers but is supported by Preston Council, Recycling Lives and VOI Jeans as well as other local businesses.