London 2012 BMX track hailed as "spectacular course in spectacular setting"
Friday, 19 August 2011
August 19 - World champion Mariana Pajon of Colombia has hailed the picturesque London 2012 BMX track as a stunning venue as the Olympic Park staged its first outdoor test event in the form of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup.
There were fears tthat the two-day event - the second test event on the Park following the start of the basketball test event earlier this week - would have to be postponed if heavy rain occurred on the mud track which is made up of some 14,000 cubic metres of soil taken from elsewhere on the site.
But those fears were dispelled as the sun shone brightly for the entire day and all 3,000 seats for the competition were filled by excited spectators of all ages.
The spectators were taken through the construction work on the Olympic Park to and from the venue by a fleet of buses which left from the Alma Street entrance Park located just behind Westfield Stratford City and, despite long queues, the crowd were not left disappointed by the fast-paced action.
Magalie Pottier of France triumphed in the women's BMX Supercross time trial in 40.126sec with Lauren Reynolds of Australia taking second in 40.170 and Britain's Shanaze Reade claiming third in 40.309 to the delight of the home crowd.
Pajon finished in fifth position, with the main race coming tomorrow, and admitted she was highly impressed with the course and confident of winning gold on it next year.
"I love this track," she told insidethegames.
"It is very special and it is my dream to come here next year and win Olympic gold on it.
"Today I was just having fun and getting used to it as it is quite technical but it is brilliant for us and brilliant for the spectators."
Reade (pictured) agreed that the track was phenomenal and that she had enjoyed the chance to compete on it.
"It has been an amazing day on an amazing track and the home support was very special," said the 22-year-old from Crewe.
"It's amazing to think that in a year's time I'll be competing here on this track in front of a massive crowd and millions of people watching on TV and hopefully I can go a few places better and get that gold medal.
In the men's time trial test event, which saw the course extended slightly, Australia's Sam Willoughby took gold in 24.625 ahead world number one and world champion Joris Daudet of France who finished second in 42.767 and his compatriot Sylvain Andre who took third in 43.317.
"It is a spectacular course in a spectacular setting and I can't wait to come back here next year and compete for gold," said Willoughby.
The two-day test event will conclude tomorrow and the 3,000 seat stand will be taken down with a temporary 6,000 seat stand set to be in place for the Olympics next year.
The 400 metre long track, located next to the Velodrome in the north of the Olympic Park, will remain in place but after the Games it will be reconfigured to make it suitable for riders of all ages and abilities.
It will become a key part of the legacy VeloPark where the Velodrome and BMX Track will be joined by a road cycle circuit and mountain bike course to combine facilities across all disciplines in one cycling hub.
August 2011: British BMX star Reade ready for first outdoor test event on the Olympic Park
March 2011: London 2012 begin work on BMX track