BMX star joins fight to save bike trail in Levetts Wood
ONE of the top BMX riders in Britain is adding his voice to the local campaign to save a 30 year old bike track in Sidley.
Olie Burton - currently ranked sixth in the UK and 53rd in the world - is a professional downhill mountain biker living in Battle, who honed his skills regularly on this trail.
He told the Observer: “I grew up using this spot every weekend for years before I turned pro but I still use them today and would be very sad to see them go. I want to help keep this great place open for myself and others to enjoy over the years to come.”
Following a damning report by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, and claims of “unacceptable risks” the future of Levetts Wood trail is under urgent review by Rother District Council (RDC).
Insurers have warned unless the council acts immediately it will bear any liability directly.
Last week Cabinet asked officers to look at two options - either RDC makes all safety changes required by RoSPA or hands over the site to a BMX trust and absolves itself of further liability. The choice rests now with officers and Cabinet porfolio holders.
BMX fans have contacted the Observer to express concern that the trail will be closed off and now Olie is giving support to keeping it open.
He commented: “BMX is a good sport. It really does keep people off the streets. It is a great thing. The fact is that I enjoy going there myself for training and with my friends for fun, so I would be sad to see it go. I have been going there for 10 years, and didn’t know it had been there that long, and would be very sad if it wasn’t there anymore.
“I think a lot of people can enjoy it for years to come. I don’t really know about the injury side of it, with this talk of closing down because it is too dangerous, but I have it in my head that someone is just kicking up a fuss when realistically it’s not that bad.”
Olie, now 25, grew up in Beckley and moved to Battle when he was 10. He attended St Bede’s school and Hastings College, but started riding with his friends in Battle Great Woods when he was in his mid-teens. A group of them met regularly and started riding in Sidley for variety. Olie started competing, first regionally and then nationally, and has now built up a successful career which sees him riding in the World Cup Series. He maintains local ties with Battle Sports Centre and Quench Cycles in Bedgebury.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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