Vachery Triathlon
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Vachery organisers clarify reasons for cancelling

Local council's new application process deemed an "unreasonable abdication" of duties

We have just received a new statement from the team behind Brave Events, organisers of Vachery Triathlon and Xterra England, explaining their reasons for cancelling Vachery in more detail and stating that the new process needed to obtain approval for any road closures represented an "unreasonable abdication" by the local council of its civic duties.

This follows comments earlier this week by both Brave Events founder Mark Davis and the organisers of Challenge Weymouth that the future of triathlon on public highways in the UK is under threat unless clearer legislation is forthcoming.

The full statement runs as follows:

Response from Brave Events
12 Feb 2014 

We stand by our initial statement in relation to the reasons for cancelling the 2014 Vachery Triathlon.  The Council’s statement is contradictory, in that it states there was no dispute with Brave Events and then confirms the position it has adopted in relation to Vachery in 2014.  It is precisely that position – that we must follow a new process to obtain approval for any road closures - which has been the subject of dispute. 

As we have previously stated, Brave Events ran the Vachery Triathlon in 2013 on the understanding that the event was approved by the Council to run again in 2014 on the same basis (since it was not viable to run it otherwise).  That basis was quite different to the new process to which the Council refers.  As the Council has now confirmed, it did not accept our position – perhaps in recognition of the anti open-road cycling furore from local politicians and protesters that was experienced last year – and instead insisted that there was no standing agreement for Vachery to run in 2014. 

The Council maintained that it would only be able to run Vachery in 2014 by following a new and far more onerous process that requires amongst other things the unanimous support of a long list of stakeholders including all affected Parish Councils.  The requirements of this new process were completely unachievable and out of line with the agreed and implemented requirements for the event in 2013 (and in our view, beyond) and also out of line with the similar long term approval enjoyed by Prudential Ride London.  Notwithstanding that we consider we had an agreement with the Council to continue Vachery on the 2013 basis, we have made clear to the Council that the new process represents an unreasonable abdication of their local government duties to balance competing interests (in this case a minority of councillors and residents on the one hand and cyclists, the Olympic legacy and local and wider economic and health benefits on the other hand) in reaching a rational decision.

We have clearly and in great detail set out our position to the Council in an effort to resolve these issues and allow Vachery and XTERRA to continue in 2014.  The Council’s response has regrettably been cursory, not addressing the points we have raised.  We believe we had an enforceable agreement with the Council to run Vachery again on the same basis as in 2013, but are unable to mount a legal challenge that could be prohibitively expensive.  In any event given the timescales involved it would not be possible to continue organising the Vachery Triathlon and the Vachery based XTERRA England Championship off-road triathlon (a round of the XTERRA World Series with domestic racers qualifying to compete at the World Championships in Maui, Hawaii) pending the outcome of such a challenge.

Since 2012 when we first shared our plans for an annual world class closed road triathlon with Surrey County Council’s Olympic Legacy Team we have worked tirelessly towards that goal.  This year we were on target to welcome over 3,500 competitors including world and national champions and hoped that more than 10,000 supporters and spectators to would join us at The Vachery Estate for two great weekends of racing and family fun.

It is incredibly frustrating and deeply saddening to disappoint the triathletes, spectators and volunteers who shared our vision and contributed to the short but stunning sporting success of the Vachery Triathlon Festival and XTERRA England Championship off-road triathlon. 

Have you been affected by this story? Let us know in the comments below!


 
 

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The Prof

Any cancellation of such an event is bad for all those wanting to compete. I find it difficult enough to find local triathlons that I can fit my life around, and for a lot of local people, cancelling these events is very annoying for the time and effort they have put in to look forward to one particular day they may get to race from an entire year.

Too much red tape, the organisers have enough work to overcome as it is, sporting events should be easier to access with less hassle, not the opposite.

Jamie220

You're right, this will be a disaster for many athletes. In fact, we just spoke to the organisers on the phone, who told us that nearly half of entrants come from the local area. There could be big implications for the future of cycling events in the region too, with organisers possibly shying away from launching new ones due to precedents such as this.

Jane Wiley

Cycling in the future is of course important. However I think it is inexcusable to have a dialogue about club entries and receive entry fees days before announcing the cancellation. Highway for cycling? No - highway robbery.

MindenMan

As a local (Capel) and a competitor in both events last year I'm obviously disappointed but not surprised.
This part of Surrey is one of the most vocal NIMBY regions in the country, and also the most intolerant areas I have ever lived in.
I experienced first hand the lunatic motorists almost knocking competitors off the road during the event. I ride this area most weeks and the motorists around here are getting worse.
In light of this and the fact that the race cannot be done on closed roads means that it probably makes sense to cancel - which is a real shame as both events were awesome

Adam Powell

Has anyone recieved there money back? I asked for my entry fee back straight away and had no resonse. It is not really the money but more the point of it. I really dont under stand why the company folded after the rumer of the councils dicision. I have read in 220 mag that the council have no record of a application for road closures for the event. Why could they not refund all of  the entry fees and where has all the entry money gone.??  If i didnt know better it looks like a scam to rob competitor of there hard earned money.Does anyone know where Mark Davis of Bravevents lives as I will pop in and see if he has a new car on  the drive

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