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Guildford town centre races risk cancellation after resurfacing work leaves course "dangerous"

Hard to get clear answers from Surrey County Council, says organiser

Cyclists usually welcome road surface improvements, but in Guildford resurfacing work is jeopardising the running of the Guildford Town Centre race on July 9.

According to Nick Edmondson of Get Surrey, organiser Jon Lewis is concerned that resurfacing work on Market Street has made the race course unsafe at one of its fastest sections.

Lewis has called on Guildford Borough Council to make the problem section safe and has even threatened to make the necessary modifications himself.

He said: “I understand there are plans for large-scale renovation of the road surface but what we are dealing with here is a pretty serious problem with the transitions from Market Street.

“The issue we have is that the race line used to run through that area at a flat curve, with cyclists hitting the apex of the bend and being able to go right through in one smooth turn.

“Now they have raised the kerbs and that makes it impossible to take the bend the way you would expect. The bumps are in a very dangerous position and that is the fastest part of the track.”

Lewis said he has had difficulty getting a clear answer from Surrey County Council to his request for a temporary solution to make the race course safe.

He said: “It is so difficult to get clear communication and for an event like this, that is something you want.

“I was happy to hear the setts won’t be replaced but this is a big problem and it is not one that will go away.”

The Guildford Town Centre races started in 1984 and use a 600-metre circuit that includes the High Street, making for an event that has become increasingly popular.

“Cycling has become a huge draw in Surrey,” Lewis said. “The number of people involved in riding in recent years has shot up. One of the things that is most exciting is the fact that the number of kids we have wanting to compete this year is a big rise compared to previous years.

“The organisers just want to put on the best possible event. There is something special about a race in the High Street and we have a pub on the route as well. For a spectator, there are few events like this, where there is such a small course and you get to see so much.

“But it all comes down to safety. I would like to think we will make it work no matter what but support from the council is what we need.”

Councillor Matt Furniss said: “Events like these are very important to Guildford and we work alongside the county council to ensure they get the support they need to go ahead.

“Things like this put Guildford on the map and we are happy to help in any way we can.”

Surrey County Council said it was looking into the problem, but could make no comment at the time.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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jova54 | 9 years ago

They're having a bit of a blitz around Guildford at the moment and it's good news if they manage to reduce the risk on the transition to Market Street.

Going to miss the race this year as Mrs Jova has decided we need a holiday which means I also miss the first week of TdF but I think the hotel has satellite tv and WiFi.

Good luck to all those taking part.

freespirit1 | 9 years ago

It does appear to be in hand to be sorted out.

Perhaps the county council can now go around sorting out the massive holes elsewhere!

georgeince | 9 years ago

I've been wondering about this ever since i saw the new curb on that corner, glad I'm not the only one  39

tomturcan | 9 years ago

Went there last year and loved the atmosphere - Joanna Rowsell and Hannah Barnes battled it out in the women's race. Great event, I hope they fix the road!

jova54 | 9 years ago

I've seen this bodge and commented on it to Mrs jova about a month ago. The relaid surface on Market Street looks really good but the transition from the High Street is about a 6-8" step currently filled with tarmac. I'll see if I can get a picture tomorrow when I'm in town.
The town centre races are a real challenge but this is a road crit circuit not a cyclocross event.
For being the richest county in England, if not the UK, the roads in Surrey are a disgrace.
The only time they get repaired properly is when there's a major road based event on.
Maybe we need more of them to get more roads repaired  19

balmybaldwin | 9 years ago

At least your local council try to improve things... in Surrey, there are fairly major roads (including the a31) that would barely qualify as a by-way open to traffic the surface is so poor

Some Fella | 9 years ago

This is slightly off a tangent but seems like as good a place as any for a rant.......

Local councils round our way seem to be persisting with 'surface dressing' even though it it is clearly useless.
Roads, especially in East Cheshire, that were surface dressed only last year have failed and the solution t'council have found is just to go back and do it again.
It is potentially lethal for cyclists and its almost they drew up a check list of what type of surface cyclists will hate and went with that. It is very draggy, when it is first done the tar flicks up onto your bike, the gravel collects and is very very dangerous to ride through and if you are overtaken by a car at speed your get spattered by sharp bits of stone. Ive luckily never come off on it but im guessing the road rash would be horrific - much worse than on decent tarmac.
It clearly doesnt work and obviously done because its cheap but if you have to go back and re-do it after only a year because it has failed (which it does) then it is a false economy.

Leviathan replied to Some Fella | 9 years ago
Some Fella wrote:

This is slightly off a tangent but seems like as good a place as any for a rant.......

Also a bit off topic but I not only agree with Somefella I am avoiding the same roads. I regularly do a 40km loop around Manchester Airport and go out via Ashley and Mobberley. I was recently pleased to see lots of repairs on the left (wonderful) but having fixed the pot holes they have dressed whole sections of road. It is like spunking money (sorry vulgar) all over the road, it has been fixed twice, once correctly, then once again to ruin it. These dressings turn into drift of gravel and it takes months to bed in. Meanwhile within a year holes start to appear in the surface again. Waste, waste, waste. The waste of money is even more offensive than the ride conditions. I just learn to avoid these routes for 6 months and hope they improve. My nightmare is being surrounded by these roads.

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