THE Leongatha Velodrome may not return to its former glory, when it hosted the world’s best track riders at its annual carnival, but the members of the club are determined to see the facility rejuvenated for a new generation of riders.
And who knows, maybe they can host a big carnival again sometime.
Repairing the gaps in the joints between the concrete panels that make up the surface of the track was the object of a pitch for funding to the South Gippsland Shire Council recently by club president Mark Bensley and treasurer Steve Wilson, and they received a good hearing from councillors.
“Thanks for the funding for the strategy plan which was completed with the help of Michelle Harris (GippSport). We did it to make the shire aware of the issues we have in renovating our velodrome,” Mr Bensley said.
“In the last five to 10 years, it has deteriorated significantly due to the age of the concrete structures,” he said.
“We still use it but we’d like to have it going for the next 10 to 20 years.”
Mr Bensley said the cycling club was confident the gaps between the concrete panels around the track could be successfully filled but some had sunk and so far, tests at patching the track had not proved successful.
“Plan B is to cut out the concrete that has sunken down and place epoxy patches on it in the 20 main places.
“The club has some funds but we’d hope the shire would agree with matching those funds and returning the velodrome to a condition where it would continue to serve the community into the future.
“We see a bright future if the track can be repaired.”
He said the cycling club had to stop running its popular carnivals for other reasons, not associated with the track, but they couldn’t now continue due to its present condition.
“The focus is on road racing now with our club hosting a Cycling Victoria Road Race Series, attracting 110 riders.
“But we hope to be able to run carnivals in the future,” he said.
The club has maintained the seats and surrounds, according to cycle club treasurer, Steve Wilson, but after almost 60 years in the local area, they needed help with facilities.
“I can remember when it was constructed,” said the Mayor Ray Argento.
“It’s been a great facility,” he said.
“We estimate it will cost $2800 per joint and there are 20 joints,” Mr Wilson said, also noting that the lights around the track were due to be replaced at a cost of $28,000.
It’s a big ask, but after 30 years of use, the club believes the cost is a reasonable investment in the future.
Mark Bensley said the club was preparing a submission seeking a major grant, to match funds the club already had in hand, to repair the track, the lights and surrounds.