Although Barnesbury CC is over 90 years old the BMX side is by comparison brand new.
Back in 2009 a BMX track was requested by the local youth community in the Bedlington area and on the inception of Friends of Gallagher Park in that same year a questionnaire/survey was conducted by the group along with the Neighbourhood Policing Team. The overwhelming project of choice was a BMX track. Designs were requested and funding applications were sort. An initial grant was made to the Grassroots Lottery fund (now defunct) in 2010 by Steve McIntosh and George Webster of the Friends group. In 2011 the group were awarded almost £50,000 from the Grassroots scheme and a further £20,000 by the local county councillors to make the scheme feasible.
Dragon Downhill were commissioned to build the track which was finished later that year. The opening with guest of honour then BMX National Champion Kelvin Batey drew a crowd of over 250 people with almost 100 riders riding/coaching on the new track. We also had a fairground and a fireworks display.
Initial efforts to identify a volunteer to coach BMX proved fruitless, however Gordon Hodgson joined the club after Steve began a regular Saturday youth coaching scheme and soon became interested in becoming more than just a parent helper and qualified as a Level 2 British Cycling Coach in May 2012.
The BMX track which had now stood idle for over a year seemed a massive waste of an amazing resource so Gordon, seeing an opportunity to start something new asked a question, an answer was given and a decision made. The question was "Was there any funding available for a BMX coaching course (necessary for the insurance to coach on it) and if I qualify as a bmx coach can we start a bmx club?" the answer was yes and the rest as they say…is history!
Gordon qualified as a Level 2 BMX specific cycle coach in November 2012 and immediately began coaching BMX one Saturday a month to see if the interest he suspected was there. It appeared to be so in 2013 the decision was taken to increase the BMX coaching sessions to twice a month, alternating between that and regular off road riding. This was well received and proved to be very popular with kids and parents alike, regularly having attendances at the BMX into double figures. During 2013 our riders competed in the novice class at two NE regional BMX races, the first at Barnard Castle and the second at Hartlepool and had a great time with some of them achieving fantastic results and podium finishes. After this new BMX jerseys were requested and created making the riders look like a proper club.
Also during this time the opportunity of our very own start gate arose, thanks to the kind donation from NE BMX at Hartlepool, so that along with a deal struck by Steve McIntosh with Hetton Hawks which secured their unused start gate equipment meant things were really starting to shape up for our BMX club.
Over the winter a few of our riders competed in the Manchester Indoor Winter Series and again put in some outstanding performances and resulted in Jack Watson taking the overall win in his age group, prompting him to move up into the expert class for the following year.
2014 began pretty much how 2013 finished, with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about BMX. More new members joined the ranks, some of the parents were now joining in and being coached at the sessions as well. Most noticeably though the all important start gate was finally installed thanks to huge efforts by club members and volunteers alike allowing us to run our own 'gate sessions' which was a massive boost for the riders. Also again due to the popularity of bmx the sessions were changed to 1 hour a week towards the end of 2014 to enable us to deliver more focused sessions without exhausting the riders.
For 2015 funding has been secured for a much needed new BMX coach to help develop and deliver the sessions so Simon Watson, who qualified as a Level 2 Cycle Coach early in 2014 has kindly volunteered for the role and is currently waiting for a bmx coaching course to become available.
So if you're still reading this lengthy history into our bmx roots then you're obviously seriously thinking about bmx racing...so why not come along to one of our sessions at Gallagher Park and meet the team, try it out for yourself and find out you love it!
Details of BMX coaching dates, can be found in the events section of the website.