A NEW mountain biking track in Tidworth is finally coming together after almost three years of hard work fuelled by community spirit.
Tidworth Freeride Club has had the support of a local army regiment, the town council and the general public to turn its dream into a reality and now hopes to be ready to open the new track in time for the Easter holidays.
Set up with the help of CTC (Cycling Touring Club), the Tidworth group has managed to lease 100,000 square metres of land off the A338 between Tidworth and Shipton Bellinger from Defence Infrastructure Organisation, an arm of the MoD.
Soldiers from 26 Royal Engineers, based at Perham Down, helped with a lot of the groundwork, in particular putting in the car park, and volunteers have worked tirelessly to help tidy up the site, put in jumps and clear paths.
Phil Potts, founder of the Freeride Club, said: “In the course of the last six weeks since we got the lease, the local support has been phenomenal. “The Royal Engineers are doing a great job, building company Raymond Brown has given us free materials and Tidworth Town Council has given us a £600 grant. “But it’s the CTC that made this possible; without them we wouldn’t have got it off the ground.”
The course will have six tracks, a progressive jump area, dirt trail jumps and a beginners’ area, and people will be able to pay £5 for a day pass or sign up for annual membership allowing them to use all CTC sites.
Mr Potts said gravity enduro racing is growing in popularity and people want a faster, more exciting element to downhill, cross-country biking.
At the moment mountain biking enthusiasts from the area have to travel an hour and a half to the nearest track. “We wanted to put Tidworth on the map for something positive,” said Mr Potts. “We’ve already got 350 people following our facebook page, which gives an idea of how much people want this.”
To follow the site’s progress or find out more about getting involved go to facebook.com/tidworthfreeride.