Cycling: Use Midvale SpeedDome upgrade to attract newcomers, say cycling clubs


Amanda O’Connor says without juniors supporting the newly refurbished SpeedDome, the sport won’t have longevity. Picture: Ian Protheroe
Amanda O’Connor says without juniors supporting the newly refurbished SpeedDome, the sport won’t have longevity. Picture: Ian Protheroe

CYCLING clubs are calling for VenuesWest to use its multi-million dollar upgrade to the Midvale SpeedDome as promotional leverage to attract more participants to the sport.

The SpeedDome re-opened to the public last week after the installation of a new roof and track at a cost of $2.5 million.

VenuesWest chief executive David Etherton said delivering a world-class venue to West Australian-based athletes was a significant achievement.

“Grassroots, community cycling groups and WA Institute of Sport cyclists now have the capability to train and compete on one of the best tracks in the country,” he said.

“The new Siberian Pine track was custom-made and shipped from Germany, accompanied with a team of specialist fitters.”

X-Speed Australia Cycle Club president Amanda O’Connor said the refurbishment was an opportunity for VenuesWest to implement a larger, targeted approach to promote the sport and the venue.

“The initial excitement of the new boards will have a life span, so it’s important to use this as promotional leverage to increase foot traffic through the venue across multiple demographics, from juniors to elite cyclists to masters athletes,” she said.

Ms O’Connor said affordable access for school groups needed to be explored.

“The focus has to be on what will support the venue and sport into the future and that is junior participation,” she said.

“Schools are a prime user group that could contribute significantly to the future patronage of the sport and the venue.

“Without juniors supporting this venue, the sport won’t have longevity.”

Ms O’Connor said session fees during school hours were cost-prohibitive for school groups.

“When you add the session fees for out-of-standard- use hours during the school day, venue officer wages and bikes, coaches and equipment hire fees, you are left with either passing on a high cost to the consumer or taking a loss in the hope of gaining numbers,” she said.

“Add the cost of a school hiring a bus and you’ve just lost most of your local school groups.

“Local schools need to be engaged and subsidised to expose their students to a sport which is considered to be a minority, fringe sport or as a very high-performance, structured sport that has no grounding in grassroots participation.

“In fact grassroots participation is the backbone of the sport and what will drive our ability to generate future stars.”

Mr Etherton said he welcomed the opportunity to work with cycling groups to promote the sport to the broader community.

“Track cycling is one of WA’s most successful sports and the SpeedDome has produced several Olympians and world champions,” he said.

There was now an ideal opportunity to promote the sport and drive membership to local clubs, he said.