Eastway 1975 – 2006 ‘That’s a wrap’

In 2006 the Eastway Cycle Circuit closed to make way for the 2012 Olympic Games and I took a look back at what we had lost with my feature

Since then Facebook has seen a good number of posts with comment, pictures and results from circuit, cyclo-cross and mountain bike racing held at the much loved cycle circuit. It’s been great to read all the comments that have been made at my Facebook page plus the pages of the London Cyclo-Cross League, Beastway MTB, Eastern Cross, British Cross Then and Now, and at the pages of all those who have shared.

The late and much missed John Ibbotson leads a break up Oxo Hill 2002

What is clear is that the Eastway Cycle Circuit meant a lot too many people and amongst so many poignant posts made to Facebook, Dave Smith’s was a highlight for me:

Dave Smith 2006

‘Ken We Are Closed’
After the euphoria of the 100 lap challenge we had a week of tying up the loose ends before the final hand over of the circuit. That last day ended in a scene that could have been devised as the end to some sentimental Hollywood film. Having locked up we shut down the Water and Electricity supplies at the mains, we left with one final van load of bikes to put in storage at the docks and Eastway was no longer a Cycle Circuit. Having got to the docks and unloaded we had a farewell meal together in a local Café. On leaving the café I discovered I had left my glasses back in the office at the circuit so we made a quick about turn and returned to Stratford. As we entered Eastway we noticed that there was a car parked up in the compound. It’s Ken Evans (our most prolific volunteer worker) “Put the kettle on Dave I’ll make some tea”.

“We are closed Ken” James has had enough and leaves, I find my glasses and get my bike out of the van ready to ride home Paul goes home leaving me with Ken. “Come on Dave one last cup of tea before you go home?”

“We are closed we’ve turned the power off go home Ken”.

“One last lap then, I’ll borrow your bike.”

Reluctantly I lend him my bike. “Go on one last lap”.

Ken starts out across the compound stops and turns back.

“No! I can’t do it Dave you do it for me, it seem all wrong somehow, it’s not Eastway anymore.”

With this I reluctantly take my bike and set off on one last lap before finally setting off for home. I leave with Ken driving slowly alongside me in his car making his usual comments about being a racer.

As I start out along the Greenway from the Bow road a hug black cloud is forming over Cannery Wharf and as I pass the Abbey Mills Pump house the rain lashes down straight into my face. Water is streaming down my face as I think of what a mere mile of tarmac meant to so many of its regular users.

Dave Smith 2016

They include the following events held between 2002 and 2006 – GO HERE.

Circuit Races
Eastway Simon Hook  2003ESL 30 Years Anniversary Races 20052002 SeasonSimon Hook Memorial 2005Glendene CC Bill Temme Memorial Meeting 2005Final Eastway Race 2 2006Whitewebbs Spring  2003Bill Temme Memorial RR 2006Simon Hook Memorial Cat E/1/2s 2006Simon Hook Memorial Cat 3/4s 2006Final Eastway Races 2006 and Eastway Supporters League 16 2006.

Typical first corner action 2005

Eastway Cross/Eastern League 10 2005Eastway Cross/London League 1 2005Inter-Area Team Championships 2005London and SE League Round 2 2006London and South East League Round 1 2006.

Helen Wyman was one of many National Champions to compete at Eastway 2003

Beastway MTB
Round 10 2005Round  5 2002Final 2006 – Team race and Round 1 2006.

FaceBook – Posts were spread across a number of pages such as at my Facebook page and the pages of the London Cyclo-Cross LeagueBeastway MTBEastern Cross and British Cross then and now.

Gary Baker shows what it took to win at Eastway 2002

SKY road pro Ian Stannard (left) and riders such as Laura Trott, Alex Dowsett, Jo Rowsell, Bradley Wiggins and Ben Swift knew Eastway well 2005

Steven Griffiths after the opening race of the 2006 Beastway MTB Series

Eastway Wrapped
That’s the close of my look back at the wonderful Eastway Cycle Circuit bulldozed in 2006 to make way for the 2012 Olympics, thanks everyone for your memories.

So what did we do next?