Home
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.

12 comments

Avatar
Gkam84 [9068 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Here, have a few quid off to risk your safety because the local's caused a stir and we cannot fully close the roads.....

NO thanks...Why bow to the pressure if they had already been granted the road closures?

Avatar
11speedaddict [75 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I am always wondering how they close roads ?How can you marshall hundreds of drives and junctions. how can you stop a person pulling out of their drive to go for the Sunday Paper ? Especially someone against an event.
I certainly would never race down a hill on a blind bend presuming no car is coming the other way because the organisers have said there will be no traffic. No one can be 100% certain.
So dont charge silly money for closed road events because its impossible to be fool proof.  7

Avatar
JonD [389 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Pragmatism ? Perhaps they feel there's more chance of being able to hold it again next year if they back off a bit this year - they can always apply for road closures in later years, but if they get enough entrenched opposition that could provide more problematic in holding any kind of on-road event next year.
The real pity is that during the Olympics it wasn't a problem - we live close to /inside both the RR and TT routes and apart from a bit of grumbling it was very well received.

Avatar
doc [167 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

At £125 for a race entry "reduced from £145", there must be some very well off triathletes about, and some profit centered organisers, hopefully doing a good job.
The difference regarding the closures is clear, it's called the Olympics and had massive following, this event is a tri which does not have the same level of following or support, and the names of the stars are not so well known as cycling stars by the public (a lot of whom may have a problem understanding how a tri works anyway). So hardly a surprise and the comment about enforcing closure is a valid one.
It's a pity, but sadly a cultural thing, and perhaps involving the communities on the route more heavily would shift the perception. As it is I suspect the locals in the most crowded county in England simply see this as a "nusiance" to be stopped.
Though a large tri with lots of competitors of varying abilities on open roads may prove even more of the dreaded "nuisance" than they could ever imagine!

Avatar
fatbeggaronabike [756 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

So...
1/ the local council had already agreed to close the roads but has now backed down.
2/ the running part is still on closed roads.

One can only assume the locals that objected only objected to the cycling part!

Avatar
Ham-planet [112 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Christ, triathlons are expensive  13

Avatar
Al__S [957 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

as I said on the previous article on this, the circuit they're using is being closed for a full day a couple of weeks later for RideLondon. There's a bigger picture.

Avatar
northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Crazy to pander to the nimby's.

Avatar
antonio [1103 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

£125.00? Long live Cycling Time Trials.

Avatar
andybnk [97 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
If it’s preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run, it is not called a bike race, it is called duathlon or a triathlon. Neither of which is a bike race. Also keep in mind that one should only swim in order to prevent drowning, and should only run if being chased. And even then, one should only run fast enough to prevent capture.
From THE RULES, therefore must be obeyed!

Avatar
nellybuck@msn.com [165 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

For the next few months, pretty much every weekend will see roads being closed for running events in towns and cities across the UK. They just don't seem to attract the same degree of opposition that cycling events do, which must have something to with how cycling/cyclists are perceived by the general public.

Avatar
ragtag [200 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Many of the people in the area have UKIP placards outside their large estates, I see them when I ride around there.