It is too easy to compare the Kansas Velodrome to the film "Field of Dreams". Lawrence based track racing enthusiast, Bill Anderson wanted a Velodrome. He and cycling promoter Mark Thomas, had sat on numerous committees with the good intention of building a concrete or asphalt Velodrome somewhere in the metro. Kansas City has a fairly rich history of bicycle track racing. A large outdoor Velodrome was raced on in the late 19th century, but burned to the ground apparently in the early 20th century. Municipal Auditorium was the scene of popular Six Day events from the 1930's at least until the late 1940's, with local talent like Henry Meyer and the big names in the sport, the Walthours. However, by the early 1960's local track events became rare, and mostly contested on High School running tracks. Mr. Anderson began to look for an alternative to the slow moving process of the "Velodrome Committees."
The roots of the sport, the first competitions, were held on turf. In fact, grass track never died out. The U.K. and Australia continue to race track bikes on grass, mostly around the boundaries of a soccer pitch. The solutions was simple: find a field and create a track. With a little badgering, Mr. Anderson was able to convince Mr. Thomas that if a venue was secured, they could "build it...and they will come." Mr. Anderson did substantial research on the construction of grass tracks. Accurate distance, corner radius and markings are essential for Velodromes. The initial construction was on a former soccer practice field, belonging to the City of Shawnee Parks department. Mowing, rolling and hand work brought the venue into shape for the USAC Kansas Track Championships in 2009.
Traditional track rules and etiquette apply to a grass velodrome. The difference between boards and turf is found in the speeds and tire selection. In 2010 a second grass Velodrome was constructed in Lawrence, Kansas. The original site was at risk of flooding from the Kaw River (and has since become the site of an excellent cyclocross practice course). The current Velodrome is on private property owned by developer Steve Schwada, an enthusiastic supporter of bicycle racing. The 2010 Championships improved facility saw an increase in racers and an overall better experience for the athletes. All Championships since have been held at this venue. Beginning June 8th (National Track Day) the Kansas Velodrome is open for practice and familiarization clinics on Thursday evenings from 6:30PM. DIRECTIONS: The venue located on Farmers Turnpike (County road 438) approx 1.5 miles EAST of the K-10 exit on I-70. Farmers Turnpike (438) is North of I-70.
The 2017 Kansas Track Championship will be held on August 6th.