Hadleigh’S Olympic mountain bike course is set to give unrivalled views for spectators both on the ground and for the millions watching around the world.
The course at Hadleigh Farm is through open hillside rather than typical mountain bike events, which are usually held in forests.
This means the 20,000 visitors to the event will benefit from fantastic views and the world’s media will be able to film the action with ease.
The first completed parts of the challenging course were unveiled last week with elite mountain bikers giving the course a positive review.
Work began in July and is due to be ready in March 2011 in advance of a test event in summer 2011.
The course sits at 84m above sea level at its highest point, and it is as narrow as 1m in parts.
Spectators will be able to stand near the track or watch from a temporary seating area which is to be built for the two-day event, with about 60 to 70 per cent of the course visible from any one
Martin Salt, mountain bike manager with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, said: “Hadleigh’s track is a lot different from other mountain biking courses.
“Whereas others weave through the woodland, Hadleigh’s track is almost completely open.
“This makes it a lot easier from a filming point of view and for spectators as the riders won’t be covered by trees.
“There are a few jumps on the course, which will be good visually for spectators, but not so much for the riders as they are out of control in the jumps.”
The track is set to cost taxpayers £800,000, with added spending for road improvements around the venue for easier accessibility.
There have been early talks between landowners, the Salvation Army, and Castle Point Council in creating a lasting legacy after the Games in August 2012.
Stephen Castle, Essex county councillor with responsibility for the 2012 Games, said: “After the Olympics, Hadleigh could provide a good cycle route for
“Some elements of the course will have to be changed to make it easier as the track is designed for elite cyclists.”
Project manager Major John Warner said the Salvation Army would need to look at the impact the legacy plans would have on the farm and would endorse it if all ages were able to make the most of the
He said: “If a permanent track does not go ahead, the land can easily be returned to how it was prior to the track within a few weeks after the event.”
A redevelopment of Hadleigh town centre is also set to be one of the lasting legacies.
Mr Castle added: “The legacy track could really put Hadleigh on the map. It will provide the county with a fantastic cycle course and encourage people to get into the sport.
“We are hoping to revamp the town and there will be great opportunities for bike shop owners to benefit from the legacy track.”
Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, said: “Hadleigh Farm is a stunning venue, in line with our concept of a compact Games and it
will have an excellent legacy.
“I am very grateful to Essex County Council and the Salvation Army for their hard work in making this venue happen.”