Date: Saturday, 24 April 2010
Posted by: Cycling Southland

FROM THE SOUTHLAND TIMES

The Kew Bowl cycling track in Invercargill, a "breeding ground for champions", which was built in 1949, has been demolished.

Invercargill City Council investment property manager David Little said the 1.6ha of council-owned land the track inhabited was being flattened in preparation for sale. There had been expressions of interest for development of the Elles Rd land, he said.

Invercargill cycling stalwart Graham Sycamore said the Kew Bowl cycling track had effectively been made redundant in 2006 when the city's indoor cycling velodrome was built.

One of the first people to ride on Kew Bowl after it was resurfaced with concrete in 1956, Mr Sycamore said seeing it being demolished and carted away made him feel nostalgic.

Many top-class riders had raced on the track during the years and it had been the training ground for numerous Southland-based New Zealand cycling representatives, including Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Olympian Glen McLeay.

"Guys like Glen McLeay spent hours down there. It was a breeding ground for champions," Mr Sycamore said.

"We had a lot of top international riders race there over the years, and when we had good conditions, which was a bit of a rarity, they put in some fantastic times."

Fulton Hogan Southland contracting manager Doug Dold said the demolition work on the concrete cycling track began on Monday.

The concrete from the track and the embankment material would be transported to Invercargill Airport and used as fill to raise the ground level at the airport, which was built on a reclaimed estuary.

Invercargill Airport business operations manager Brook Grimwood said it didn't have any building work specifically earmarked for the raised land. Putting the fill down was a long-term strategy, with the floods of 1984 showing the need to be prudent with new developments, he said.

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