My third and final news story is more traditional, although it still has a sports angle. It is concerning the loss of Perranporth Airfield for bike racing. For this story I spoke to Rod James, Chairman of One & All Cycling and co-organiser of the Cornish Series, a series of circuit races held at the airfield until this year, as well as the management at Perranporth Airfield. This story was also published in the West Briton.
Perranporth Airfield put brakes on cycling events
Young cyclists in Cornwall are at a loss after the cancelling of race events at Perranporth Airfield, writes Sam Moore.
One & All Cycling are now in discussion with the Wheal Jane Group in order to resurface areas of their perimeter road at the disused tin mining site near Baldhu.
For now, kids looking to race regularly need to travel as far as Ilton, Somerset, and Torbay, Devon.
Regular race training for kids and adults, as well as the Cornish Series, Cornwall’s largest road racing events, were hosted at Perranporth Airfield until late last year.
Cyclists can no longer use the stretch of perimeter runway once used for racing as a shift in airfield management has meant that the perimeter track will now be occupied by taxiing planes.
This means that what used to be a series of ten events across the summer cycling season has been reduced to just three hosted at St. Eval Kart Circuit.
Rod James, Chair of One & All Cycling and co-organiser of the Cornish Series, said: “At the moment there is a significant hole in racing opportunities in Cornwall.
“There is currently nowhere in Cornwall to allow for regular criterium [closed circuit] racing and youth racing to take place.”
The Series began in 2011, originally at RAF Portreath, but had to abandon the venue in 2013 after high costs and security issues caused problems.
The event then found its home at Perranporth Airfield until late last year when the partnership was ended.
Owner of Perranporth Airfield Kevin George explained that it was a logistical problem, saying:
“Now Perranporth Airfield has taken over management of the site from Perranporth Flying Club, the area of the perimeter track that they [the cyclists] were using is now used for the planes to come past the control tower.”
This is a particular blow to youth racing in Cornwall as children are not permitted to race on the road. The airfield also provided a safe environment for children and adults to learn the ropes of bike racing.
“The nearest racing circuit is now at Ilton in Somerset,” saids James. “There is another one in Torbay [Devon].
“If you’re a youngster in Cornwall wanting to race you’ve got to have very compassionate parents who are willing to spend money to drive there, because there is no opportunity to even start racing here [in Cornwall] at the moment.”
George sympathises but supports the decision of the airfield saying:
“Obviously planes and bikes don’t make a good combination. I want to get as many activities going on the airfield as possible, but they’ve got to work with the main purpose of the site which is first and foremost a runway.”