SADDLE stars of both the past and future this week backed a Halesowen cycling chief’s plea for a West Midlands velodrome by imploring council chiefs to get behind the bid.

Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Hugh Porter MBE and teenage starlet Kinga Ingram were among those attending a petition handover at Birmingham City Council House on Monday.

They are backing the campaign – led by Halesowen Cycling Club chairman Dave Viner among others – to get a velodrome built in the Midlands as a legacy of the 2022 Commonwealths in Birmingham.

The Games’ cycling events will be held at Lee Valley Velodrome in London - but more than 6,000 people have signed the petition in a bid to get a venue built locally too.

Mr Viner said: “I think we have done all we can do and now we have to say ‘this is what we think is possible and these are the benefits to the people who will use the velodrome’.

Former world track champion Porter has posted a letter on the petition website detailing his disappointment over the lack of a suitable indoor venue in the Midlands.

He was present at the handover, as was 15-year-old Kinga, who provided a rider’s perspective on the difficulties of having to travel up and down the country to train or race.

Dave said: “She is such a talented young girl and she is lucky to have a mom and dad who will take her to Newport, Derby, Manchester, Lee Valley to train and race.

“There are so many young cyclists who have to go the extra mile literally to get their training in.”

Mr Viner also wished to quell any concerns over the future of the town’s Manor Abbey outdoor track should a new indoor velodrome in the county.

He added: “I spoke to somebody involved with facilities in British Cycling and asked them what effect they thought a new velodrome in the Midlands would have as far as Manor Abbey was concerned.

“And he said he thought it would be a good thing for Manor Abbey.

“The Abbey has been a great venue for close to 70 years and there will always be a place for it.”

The ‘Campaign To Build a West Midland Velodrome Arena’ petition was handed to the leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ian Ward.

Mr Viner added: “There’s been a lot of support for this. We know the competition will be held in London but let’s get a velodrome here as a legacy of the Games.”