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Locals in Surrey were outraged at road closures for race

The organisers of the Vachery Triathlon in Surrey have bowed to pressure from locals not to close roads for the event - and have dropped the entry price to reflect the change.

The race will no longer be on fully-closed roads. A race description now reads:

"The race offers all triathletes an unforgettable experience that includes a swim in the private spring-fed lake, before joining the pro field on fast, quiet roads (including an iconic climb up Leith Hill) before a run through closed country lanes."

Beforehand, 6am to 2pm road closures were in place - a worst case scenario said organisers, as they will be opened once competitors pass through.

The new price has been set at £125 (reduced from £145) for the middle distance race, whilst the shorter standard distance will be £65 (reduced from £75).

The organisers told road.cc: "We were in an open consultation period with residents and businesses in the area and have also conducted many road surveys over the past few months. We received a relatively small amount of complaints/issues with local residents regarding the closed roads, most of which were happily resolved.

"We decided to make this a partially closed race and open up certain sections because we believe that a closed road race isn't necessary given that we can deliver a safe and fun race on semi-closed roads, particularly given the extremely low levels of traffic in the area on an early Sunday morning in rural Surrey.

"It also gave us the opportunity to show our neighbours the benefit of an international triathlon race to the area and we will ask them if they would like us to close the roads in the future and allow this event to grow in participation numbers."

Those who have already entered at the original price will be entitled to either a refund, credit note against another Brave Events race or can donate the value of the difference to the chosen charity of the Vachery Triathlon – The Children’s Air Ambulance Fund.

Race Director Mark Davis said: “It’s very important that racers see this event as a great race that represents value for money so we are offering partial refunds to those that have already registered and we have reduced our entry prices for new entrants because we can only offer part of the road closures that we planned. 

"It feels right to give something back and to offer a lower entry price to this unique race.”

A spokesman for Brave Events said that it was not a defensive move though. He said: "We are now operating a partially closed road race, which means that our overheads have been reduced. We decided that we would pass that down to the entrants who are coming to sign up between now and race day."

Last weekend we reported how the organisers, Brave Events, said they had been victim to intimidation, bullying and anti-cyclist protests - all fuelled by misinformation about the extent of the road closures.

And at that time there was support from the local council.

A County Hall spokesman said: “We have agreed to the event because it has the potential to provide a £1 million boost to the local economy, following on from the huge success of the Olympics.

“Unfortunately some roads have to be closed in the interests of safety of residents and competitors, but we are working with the organisers to ensure closures are kept to an absolute minimum.”

Brave Events will be proactively contacting all registered entrants in the following weeks regarding a refund, credit note or charity donation.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.