Organisers of Rapha Super Cross have been criticised on social media after the third and final round of the 2015 series at London’s King’s Cross was abandoned yesterday evening for safety reasons.
The event schedule had already been revised after it started late due to delays in setting up the course around the Granary Square campus of Central Saint Martins art school, with poor weather also making conditions dangerous for riders.
Racing had been due to start at 10.30am with an under-8s race, and conclude with a ‘Fun’ race beginning at 6.15pm, immediately after the men’s elite race.
It eventually started at around 1.00pm, with the timings of subsequent races shuffled, but shortly after 4pm, with heavy rain and strong winds at the venue, Rapha posted to Facebook to say that the event had been cancelled.
The post read: “Due to deteriorating conditions we have been forced to take the decision to cancel the racing at Super Cross London. This decision is for the safety of all the riders.
“A full refund will be given to all racers and an email will be sent on Monday with details. We thank everyone who came out today and for your patience.”
As a result of the weather forecast, the decision had already been made on Friday to bring the event village, including the beer tent and catering stands, to beneath a covered area of the course lying between Central St Martins and a Waitrose supermarket.
The obstacles had been designed by architecture students at Central St Martins and according to feedback from some participants were not suitable for wet conditions on a course that also included cobbled corner sections as well as granite surfaces.
A number of people took to the Rapha Super Cross Facebook page to criticise the organisation of the event.
Buauna Ball commented: “What should have happened is that they have the course ready at least a week before so all the obstacles can be thoroughly tested with a cyclo-cross bike not a mountain bike, as we saw them doing, so any safety issues could have been sorted out and injuries avoided.”
Meanwhile, Duncan Wright said: “Getting art students to make obstacles for the event was a crazy idea.
“They were made so badly that they caused problems. Get students to help, but employ professionals to make them safe! Glad no one was seriously hurt!
“Let's go back to Ally Pally next year yes!?”
Andy Carpenter, the father of two children riding in the kids’ events said: “Both my boys crashed out from first place of u8s and u10s – both on the same corner.
“It was treacherous from the off – many on the start line were predicting carnage. Good decision [to cancel], but possibly a bit late.”
“What a waste of a day and appalling race management Rapha – a very poor reflection on the brand,” Chris Boulton said. “Dangerous course too in the wet – we knew about the rain all week.”
“Shambolic,” wrote Jason Bye. “Rapha should be ashamed to have put this on. Absolute amateur hour.”
Joel Phillips said: “This isn't just down to the weather & health and safety – there were still forklifts bringing barriers onsite at 1045, 15 mins after the U8 race was due to start.
“No-one was able to say anything useful about when the racing would actually start.”
He added: “What's sad is that it had such great potential. The space was great; the music was great; the kids were looking forward to it; I'm sure the races were eventually lots of fun.
“Rapha clearly invested a lot in it, but then ruined it with incompetent event management.”
The call to abandon the event did receive some support however.
Edward McAdam-Hann said: “Gutted but ultimately must have been for the best. Sad face.”
He added: “Publicly posting criticism isn't useful or in the spirit of things. People put a hell of a lot of effort to put the event on and the staff and students must be gutted.
“These things happen, they did the right thing and trying something new is what CX is all about, in this case it didn't work and no one was badly hurt.”
And Paul Rattew said: “Brave decision, and the right one. With so many of the riders crashing, continuing would have been asking for serious injuries.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.