Photo Credit: Peter Huys via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Peter Huys via Compfight cc

Along with the state-of-the-art Milton velodrome — otherwise known as the Mattamy National Cycling Centre, and soon, the Cisco Milton Pan Am /Parapan Am Velodrome — the 2015 Pan American Games are bringing other cycling-related legacy projects to southern Ontario, too. Located at Centennial Park in Etobicoke, Ont., the 3.2-hectare Centennial Park Pan Am BMX Centre is also a new addition, and fans will get a look later this week during the first Canada Cup BMX event to be held in the Toronto area.

The facility, designed and built by Elite Trax Inc., is slated to be a training hub for Canadian BMX riders from across the country. With joint funding from both the City of Toronto and the Government of Canada, the course includes a permanent eight-metre start ramp and a compact, closed-loop course, featuring four straightaways and three banked turns along its 350 metre track. For the competitors coming to Centennial Park for the 2015 Pan Am Games, it’s a fully-appointed, UCI-certified facility, ideal for this week’s Canada Cup BMX.

“We have in Toronto a truly world-class track that will challenge many riders, from world champions to beginners,” said Mathieu Boucher, Cycling Canada’s performance development director. “This is a milestone for Canadian BMX cycling, and we can all be proud of this beautiful facility.”

Starting Friday, the Canada Cup race weekend begins with a “BMX Super Clinic” for younger riders, offering the chance to receive expert tips from BMX National Team coaches Ken Cools and Adam Muys, coach Brendan Arnold of Team Ontario, eight-time Canadian champion and Olympian Tory Nyhaug, and three members of the National Team: Amelia Walsh, James Palmer and Mischa Partridge. After that, the race kicks off, with some of North America’s top riders competing throughout two days of UCI C1-level racing.

“This is going to be an awesome event,” said Arnold. “Not only do riders get to ride the state-of-the-art, world class track for the first time, they also get to see some of the best in the world compete for UCI points and a quality prize purse.” BMXers from Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and the USA will be in attendance, he added, vying for that purse of $13,000.

“It will truly have an international flavour,” Arnold added. “The track is possibly one of the best in the world so it will be some excellent racing.”

After the Games, the public will have other opportunities to enjoy the world-class, UCI-level BMX supercross facility. Like the Milton velodrome itself — which opens its doors to the public once again as the Mattamy National Cycling Centre, once the Pan Am Games are finished — the Centennial Park Pan Am BMX Centre will also be open for BMX riders of all skill levels.

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