Just recently we learned that the most famous and professional starting gate in Europe, used by the Valkenswaard BMX club Lion d'Or (Worlds track), has been taken away and has been replaced by a uni starting gate.
In 1986, Ponypark Slagharen had a special starting gate built on advise of Gerrit Does and made by Hans Croes of the Waalre BMX club. It concerned a gate, designed by HONDA MOTORS Japan engineers and used during the I.BMX.F. Worlds on Suzuka circuit in Japan - 1984.
Here seen a picture of this gate being installed on the starting hill of the 1984 Worlds in Japan. Three cylinders pulled down the gate. The speed could be improved or reduced depending on how fast the riders were. Never any false start or jumping the gate was possible, also because the gate was rather high for that time and even now. The gate also was pushed up by these cylinders.
During the period that this gate was used during training-camps, National events and the European Challenge Cup events at Ponypark Slagharen, it never failed. Maintenance was very easy and of low cost. At the ECC events with an average of around 1500 entries per event, the gate went up and down maybe a 1200 till 1400 times, without a problem.
In 1994 the BMX club of Valkenswaard bought this gate from Ponypark Slagharen and they have been using it again up and till 2003. The gate worked perfect there too. Only one time the compressor (air) failed, not the gate itself.
Now by order of the UCI, this unique gate and system had to be replaced. A simpler gate has been installed, lighter, less solid and with only 1 cylinder that really only is used to pull the gate up. O.k. this kind of gate is easier to pay for by clubs but of less quality. Let's see during the Worlds what this gate will bring us.
Good bye to a GATE which now is a relic after 18 years!