Cycling NT recently presented the Darwin Cycling Club with a pair of Gas Operated Start Gates and will soon be presenting the Alice Springs Cycling Club with a pair also.
The gas operated start gates are a specialised piece of equipment used to hold the bike in place on the track and are released by the Commissaire / operator after a countdown. They are essential for standing starts in the Individual and Team Pursuit, 500 meters Time Trial, 1Km Time Trial and Team Sprint.
The gates have been a long term project for Cycling NT. Since volunteering at National and World Track events President Mandy Hargreaves and Treasurer Stuart McDonell came to understand that our NT athletes were at a huge disadvantage by not having access to this equipment to train with. At a cost of $12,000 EACH (before freight) the imported designs were well out of our budget range. Research was across Australia and attempts were made to source them elsewhere with no luck.
The only practical alternative was to construct our own, so with the assistance of the staff at DISC in Melbourne and the Adelaide Superdrome Cycling NT contracted Greens's Specialist Welding to construct the frames. Stuart McDonell organised for the design and construction of the gas operating components by Parker Hannifin Industrial in Sydney. Stuart worked with Mike Heyburn (ASCC) to design the clamp mechanism and he then spent many days constructing the clamp mechanism and release and gas lines. Thanks to Stuart's hard work and ingenuity Cycling NT were able to construct 4 gates for a total cost of $18,000 (a saving of over $33,000). This world class equipment ensures that our athletes in the NT have access to the best equipment for their training to assist them to be competitive at a National level.
Last April Coach Educator, Mandy Hargreaves organised training in Adelaide for three NT coaches on their safe operation and handling and Mandy Hargreaves, Stuart McDonell and Technical Delegate, Trevor Owen Cycling NT conducted two safety briefings on their use for volunteers from the Darwin Cycling Club. The same briefing will be conducted with ASCC volunteers in the near future.
Pictured is Eve Marker, 2014 Junior Track Nationals Bronze Medalist.