Eastway has a short but illustrious history. Hailed by the great Eddy Merckx, who raced there in the 70’s, as the “finest cycle circuit in Europe” it has seen some fine races over the years. Anyone who has raced there will be familiar with OXO hill, Clary’s corner and the long, lazy left-hander into the home straight, it’s a wonderfully designed circuit perfect for learning the road racing craft. It also hosts time trials, mountain bike racing, Cyclo-cross and BMX, plus the odd HPV race, roller blading and duathlons.
The pressure that the land Eastway is on is understandable, it’s surrounded by the Hackney marshes (which has the most Football pitches in one place in Europe… something like that anyway), it also has a train terminus and flats in the near vicinity. Most worryingly it is at the point where four authorities converge; Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney and Waltham Forest – So politically it has always looked like an accident waiting to happen.
However, the Olympic bid for 2012 means that Eastway could get a lifeline and be rebuilt as a cycling super-venue, although as yet there is no firm confirmation that this will definitely happen. There is already a suspicious amount of land clearing going on around the area, leaving Eastway high and dry and waiting for direction. There is much work being done by steering groups and planning committees which all sounds promising. We can only hope.
A redeveloped Eastway would start in 2007 (as per plans). Building a new cycle circuit, BMX circuit, Velodrome, Off road facility and club room. There will be alternative facilities made available whilst the redevelopment is underway. So it all looks very exciting.
Personally speaking I hope the long term future can be secured as soon as possible. I have raced there for nearly twenty years, it is a wonderful facility and we shouldn’t take it for granted. We need more Eastways in this country and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for 2012.
The mission statement of the Eastway Users Group:
“To campaign for the New Eastway to have improved facilities for all disciplines of cycle-sport (including infrastructure such as club and changing rooms, car parks etc) without any facilities being lost during the construction phases.”
Eastway Users Group ‘Book of New Eastway’ published Feb 2004
read it here.
This story, thanks to londoncyclesport.com is available in more detail here.