Reading Velodrome Racing's History
The cycling track at Reading Palmer Park is one of the oldest tracks in the
country; the original one, built at the turn of the century, was made of loose
red shale - you used to slide sideways on the bankings!
The Reading Track League was started when the track was resurfaced in 1955. One
of the instigators was Ron Pugsley who remained an official until his death in
1998. The Ron Pugsley Memorial Trophy is presented to the winner of the
National Derny Paced Championships. This trophy to his memory was presented
jointly by the Polytechnic CC and Reading CC.
In 1962 the "Reading Chronicle" hatched the idea of mixing different sports into
one meeting and on a blazing hot June night that year Palmer Park's biggest
ever crowd watched athletics, cycling and professional five a side football.
In 1966 "Reading Chronicle" again sponsored a Gala Night with Reading Athletics
Club and Reading Track League and again it was a success with some star
athletes and cyclists and a large crowd.
A regular rider in the late 50's and early 60's was a John Woodburn who then
held the 800yds Standing Start record and 4000 metres Pursuit record.
The velodrome was closed for the 2002 season following subsidence in places from
the old chalk pits. Reading Borough Council had these filled and the track
surface refurbished for the start of the 2003 season.