what is ponciau banks bike track?
Ponciau BMX Bike Track is located in Ponciau, Wrexham, North Wales and is a relatively deprived village classed as a Lower Super Output Area. Ponciau is ranked 421st out of 1,896 entries in the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation. Pre investment studies by Barclays Spaces for Sports showed the area was lacking in suitable facilities for young people that had led to instances of anti-social behaviour and some inter-generational tension.
The young people of the area had been attempting to create a bike track for a number of years without success. The installation of the new track hoped to deter young people from building their own (often dangerous) tracks in unsuitable areas whilst allowing activities for young people to be localised, and for them to take ownership of their own space.
The BMX track project also aimed to provide young people with sporting opportunities that would help decrease the barriers between generations, by involving whole families in the BMX track ‘lifestyle’ and also by focussing young peoples energies into sport rather than other anti-social activities.
Developing activity and skills
The club aims to actively engage more females and develop a girls section where it is hoped they could compete against other riders in North West regional races.
The club also aims to encourage more parents to become involved in the site to build a family focused social scene at events staged by the club.
Going into 2009 Wrexham Rebels BMX riders aim to build on the club spirit and develop partnerships with other clubs. The club will also be investigating their ability to build a club website to showcase the achievements of the club.
The club have recently formed positive links with their local 5x60 Officer whose remit is to get young people carrying out 5x60 mins of physical exercise per week out of school hours.
Ponciau Bike track will be one such venue where young people targeted through their school can work towards achieving 5x60 mins per week. This relationship will see local schools targeting a reduction in obesity levels helping to improve the health of young people in the area. Links are also being made to encourage local schools to use the track as part of their regular in-school PE classes.
Impact to date
The Ponciau Bike track has had a real positive impact on the local community with an increase in membership year on year. Each member has now been educated in track maintenance ensuring the track surface stays safe and useable. The Club also runs sessions bike maintenance and safety offering a well-rounded and diverse calendar of activities at the track.
Three volunteers in the local community are also working to gain their British Cycling Association coach qualification involving 10 weeks of personal study. These volunteers are giving their time back to the community providing local riders with accessible and inclusive opportunities in BMX riding.
The club now competes in local competitions with the first competitive race taking place at another BS4S site, Tipkinder BMX track in Crewe in early 2008. The visit was supported by Welsh Cycling who have made positive links with the club. Welsh Cycling provided a minibus service to the race and paid for the competition entry fees for six attendees. The event proved to be a big success for the club with Joshua Matthews beating off stiff competition to win the events Novice Final against riders from across the North West region. All club riders receiving a medal on the day for their participation.
User experiences - joshua matthews
Since the construction of the track, Joshua Matthews, 13, has shown great potential and a considerable aptitude for BMX. He beat off stiff competition from novice riders across the North West to win the North West Novice final where he was presented with a winning trophy.
Joshua enjoyed the experience of riding on a competition-level track and competing against other riders of a similar age. The event also allowed riders at Ponciau to see other Barclays Spaces for Sports sites and share experiences with other BMX clubs.
He Said “The Crewe race was the first time I had rode in a proper race. I was nervous, but remembered all of the practise we had been doing with our coach Oggy at the track, and I knew I should just try my best. When I won and collected my trophy I was really happy and we sang ‘We are the Champions’ all the way home on the mini-bus”.
Joshua is now looking forward to his next competitive race in early 2009 where he hopes to build on his success.