WORK on a new competition standard ‘pump track’ for BMX bikes is to start at Rhayader next week.

The announcement comes in the wake of last Thursday’s visit of the Women’s Tour of Britain cycle race, with the town all still geared up for cycling.

It is hoped that the track will vastly improve leisure facilities for local people of all ages, including those learning to ride, and also encourage many visitors to the town.

“This really does cement Rhayader as the perfect location to spend time on a bike,” said Town Councillor Rhys Thomas. “Whether that be the new track, over the natural trails of the Elan Valley, the soon to be constructed down-hill track or taking part in one of the road race series held in and around the town, it can really cater for all.

“We have to be the biking capital of Wales.”

The pump track is being provided by a partnership between Rhayader Sports Association and Rhayader Town Council, with help from various partners to the first design of its kind in the UK.

The contractor, Clark & Kent, have a great track record having created the 2012 Olympic BMX track and all of the UK national BMX series tracks.

It has also teamed up with Cartwright Associates which designed a lot of the trails and skills area at Coed-Y-Brenin, near Dolgellau.

Powys County Councillor and chair of the Rhayader and District Sports and Recreation Association Kelvyn Curry said: “As the Sports Association is a relative newcomer on the Rhayader scene, we are very pleased that our first major project is coming to fruition and will be a major investment asset, helping to keep people of all ages fit and healthy.

“This success is entirely due to many local people rolling up their sleeves and getting involved to support the project, from writing funding bids to helping with the planning process.

“Apart from its value to locals, it will also benefit the local economy as more visitors are attracted to the town.’

Building will start on Monday and should take eight weeks to complete, after which there will be an official opening and a chance to see professionals using the track.

This would not have been possible without the financial support from Welsh Government via the Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme, Powys County Council, Laura Ashley Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund.