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SPORTS FLOORING


MAKING TRACKS


This month, Tomorrow’s Flooring Editor, Grace Holliday, took a trip to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester to speak to Track Manager Bob Barber, and take a tour of the home of Team GB’s cycling heroes.


It’s a sodden summer’s day when I step of the tram in the Sportscity area of Manchester. It’s been a relatively easy journey from the Tomorrow’s Flooring offices in Macclesfield, but I’m now in serious danger of getting soaked as I try to figure out how to get to the velodrome, where I’m meeting Bob Barber, Track


Manager of the National Cycling Centre (NCC), for a tour. Fortunately, I find myself at the reception in no time, and almost entirely dry.


Opening in 1993, after 13 years of use, the first re-build of the track was completed in 2007. Since the re- opening, the NNC has flourished even further. The velodrome now houses over 45,000 rides a year, there are 96 velodrome bikes available to hire, and the centre is open 14 hours a day. “That’s not forgetting the fact that we are the busiest velodrome in the world and the home of team GB, who are training between three and six hours a day both morning and afternoon.” Bob adds.


As we begin to walk the periphery of the track, Bob begins to talk me through the re-build: “It took 18 German carpenters in six teams of three, six


26


weeks. They knew exactly where to cut it, so put a chainsaw right through and lifted 1m lengths at a time. Once the deconstruction was finished, which took considerably less time that the subsequent re-build, a concrete base was built on the ground works, and then steel frames were bolted in position. The track support frames were then fitted in sequence resting on the steelwork, having been factory assembled to the track designers calculations. We had a foreman carpenter who would pick up a 6m lath, look at it to see where the knots and twists were and which way the grain went, and give it to the carpenters, who had waistcoats with about 12 pockets full of nails. They fitted 55kms of track laths to the 374 frames... and then the track was ready to ride!”


And as for all of that excess wood? “We sold it on eBay! The most popular


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