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The World Cycling Revival gears up for Herne Hill Velodrome to the delight of local riders

Joe Robinson
7 Jun 2018

The World Cycling Revival will see many descend onto the Herne Hill Velodrome and that's something Germaine Burton is pretty proud of

Graeme Obree was tucked down on his new Old Faithful. Now made out of the side of an oven, as opposed to his washing machine, he cruised around the sun-kissed Herne Hill Velodrome no different to twenty years prior. 

Once Obree had left the track, Brompton Bicycle's managing director Will Butler-Adams raced a CHPT 3 edition folding bike around the track followed by five local track riders imitating a Keirin race, shooting themselves out of the slipstream of the trundling derny bike.

It was all a taste of what will be happening in the newly-saved South London track next month. From 14th to 16th June, the World Cycling Revival will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the bicycle and it will also be a celebration of the fact that the historic Herne Hill Velodrome still exists.

Germaine Burton, once of the British Cycling Olympic Development Programme now of British Continental racing team JLT Condor was one of those local track riders and is personally quite grateful for the World Cycling Revival.

He hung around while his dad Maurice raced in the early 2000s before then taking to the track himself. At only 23-years-old, Burton has seen the decline of the track and then its regeneration thanks to a £200,000 grant from British Cycling and £1.5million from Sport England, and this upcoming celebration is almost the cherry on the cake.

'To have lost the Velodrome would have been shocking,' Burton told Cyclist. 'The amount of kids in the area who is use it is incredible and I even met somebody at my dad's cycling shop yesterday who had driven all the way up from Brighton with his daughter to rider here,' he added.

'So the work of the Friends of Herne Hill Velodrome to save the pavilion and grounds has been amazing and the fact we will have this massive festival here next month has really brought a smile to my face.'

The easily accessible track, alongside his racing dad, was the reason Burton grew up racing bikes and you can tell he is grateful of this.

Besides the Lee Valley Velodrome built for the 2012 London Olympics, Herne Hill is the only track in London.

It provided a place for Burton, and many others, to spend their school holidays, weekends and after school evenings and now, thanks to its regeneration, should continue to do so.

'My earliest memories of riding a bike were here,' Burton recalled. 'A Thursday night derny session and me and my little brother were just riding around the middle on bikes from dad's shop. Then I started racing here.

'It has always been amazing having this 15 minutes from my door and just being able to grow up here was amazing and I hope it continues.'

In terms of Burton's involvement at the World Cycling Revival next month, an entry in the Japanese Keirin race is currently on the cards although the draw of a potential £10,000 prize pot int the Brompton 48 Invitational also has its obvious draw.

'Currently, I am down to race the Keirin although it's not my usual cup of tea and against actual Japanese Keirin champions I guess I will just have to see how I stack up,' Burton laughed.

'The Brompton race does have some appeal though. The last time I raced a folding bike race I finished second and that was at the London Nocturne which was technical with corners whereas this is just all about power around a track.'

The World Cycling Revival takes over the Herne Hill Velodrome from Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th June bringing together unique events such as the aforementioned Japanese Keirin racing and Brompton 48 Invitational, as well as live Jazz music, cocktail and champagne bars and traditional track racing.

For more information including what will be on offer, how to buy tickets and who will be there visit Cyclist's World Cycling Revival guide page.

The P&P World Cycling Revival takes place at Herne Hill velodrome from Thursday 14th to Saturday 161th June 2018.

Tickets are on sale now from £39 and available from cyclingrevival.com   

Image credit: Tom Dunn

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