Indoor BMX track opens in England

A photo from Saturday's opening day at England's new indoor BMX center. Courtesy of National Cycling Centre

A new 110,000-square-foot indoor BMX center opened in Manchester, England, on Saturday, Aug. 6. Called the National Indoor BMX Centre, it is the first permanent indoor BMX track in Britain and one of few purpose-built tracks in the world. The new facility was built as an expansion of Britain's National Cycling Centre, which opened in 1994 and includes the Manchester Velodrome.

"The centre was purpose built for community and elite use to provide a quality facility," said Neil Bradbury, duty manager of the National Cycling Centre, about the BMX track.

The facility will be the training site for Britain's BMX racers heading into the Olympic Games in London in 2012. "[Britain's] BMX National Squad already started training [at the facility] on Saturday," Bradbury added. "Although the track won't be used for the Olympics, it is very similar in design to the London track and will be very beneficial to the British Olympic Team as a training facility."

BMX made its Olympic debut at the Beijing Games in 2008 with a BMX racing event. No freestyle BMX events are currently part of the Olympic program, although there has been talk of BMX Park being considered for Olympic inclusion.

The BMX center cost 25 million British pounds, roughly $40.8 million U.S. dollars. The project was funded by Manchester City Council, the Northwest Regional Development Agency and Sport England. The facility includes a 2,000-person spectator arena and offices of British Cycling, the governing body for cycling in Britain.