The Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome at Marymoor Park
The Velodrome at Marymoor Park officially opened for racing as the Marymoor Velodrome in the spring of 1975. Built with funds generated from the Forward Thrust park bonds, the bill for the first stage of construction came in at a bargain-basement price of $176,000. The original track lacked a railing, lights, judges stand, or even a paved parking lot. The railing was installed in 1976, followed by the landscaped parking lot the next year. The Velodrome's lighting system came next, in 1979. Finally in 1990, the infield warm-up circle was added.
Beginning with opening night 1975, all racing programs at the Velodrome were organized by the Washington State Bicycling Association (WSBA), in cooperation with the King County Department of Parks and Recreation. In 1991, the WSBA was replaced by the Marymoor Velodrome Association (MVA), a non-profit, volunteer organization whose membership consists of local racers and enthusiasts. The MVA operates the Velodrome on a budget befitting the volunteer organization that it is, but with a professional flair that makes first-time spectators wonder where the office staff resides.
In 1977, just two years after the Velodrome opened, the WSBA hosted the National Championships for the first time. National Championships have since returned in ’86, ’89 91, ’92, ’94, ’98, and 2001. Each year nearly 18,000 people attended the five-day competition, breaking all existing National Championships attendance records. Over the years, Marymoor has been a regular stop for the Sundance Grand Prix, the 7-Eleven/Bicycling Magazine Grand Prix, the regional Olympic Trials, and several Olympic and Pan-Am development meets, as well as the 1990 Goodwill Games which saw 16,000 spectators enjoying the racing.
The Friday Night Racing series, which runs all summer long, is a summertime sports tradition in the Seattle area. Together with the MVA's renowned rider-development programs, they have produced a large number of nationally known riders. Some of the famous riders who’ve learned their trade at Marymoor include 4-time World Champion and Olympic silver medalist Rebecca Twigg, 1981 National Champion and two-time Olympian Tom Broznowski, 1987 Pan-Am Gold Medalist Ron Storer, 1990 World Championship silver medalist Renee Duprel, Pan-American Games silver medalist Julie Gregg, 20 time National Champion Ryan Miller, (Annette and Kenny’s medal list) and most recently, 2008 World Champion, 3-time Olympian and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jennie Reed and Paralympics Gold and Silver Medalist Megan Fisher.
Most recently the velodrome was renamed the Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome after the passing of Jerry Baker on September 11th, 2015. Jerry Baker's involvement and passion with the velodrome is the sole reason Washington State has a fully operational velodrome, the renaming of the velodrome is the least we could do to show our everlasting appreciation.