Commonwealth Games 1986

The Commonwealth Games returned to Edinburgh in 1986 and, as President of the Scottish Cyclists Union, I was a member of the Games cycling committee chaired by my long-standing friend Jock Shaw. My duties during the Games were to look after ceremonial protocols and welcome VIP's.

However in the lead up to the games I, as Arthur Campbell before me in 1970, had a battle to get Meadowbank velodrome re-built with Edinburgh Council being unwilling to spend any money on the track.
I recall attending a meeting with the Council leader, a Mr Woods and his officials, when the matter was discussed. Mr Woods started the meeting by saying if the track were ever to be re-built he would take great pleasure in striking the match to burn it down after the Games! After that outburst we got down to an interesting discussion.

Firstly the Council's building official declared that there was only 500k available and as the track would cost 850k to built the project couldn't proceed. I asked who prepared the estimate and he said he had along with his staff. I said I thought it could be done for under 500k to which he replied - impossible the timber would cost more. Then I asked if the Council had a firm quotation from a contractor to build the the track for the said 450k. The response was, once again, that it was impossible as the wood would cost more than that. They were slightly taken aback when I said the wood was already purchased at much less a sum. Again I asked if they had a quote and they had to admit that they had. I said I couldn't understand how the couldn't accept a quote from one of the worlds track building experts (Ron Webb) who was about to build the Olympic track for Seoul? The outcome was that they would consider again and eventually Ron Webb and his team re-built the Track - which stands to this day some 25 years on!

Due to the hard work put in by Jock Shaw and his committee Cycling's contribution to the games was a success even after the awful weather which resulted in the track being dubbed the 'wellydrome'.

The accompanying picture of Games Officials has a few unidentified faces, my apologies to those missing, anyone who can fill the gaps please use my contact page to advise me.
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