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Scramble for refunds as cycling sportive organiser goes into administration after suffering heavy losses through the pandemic

Sportive HQ said it had been “fighting for the past three years since the pandemic to keep everything afloat” and had ran “out of personal funds”

British sportive and cycling event organiser Sportive HQ has announced that it has entered administration and ceased trading from today, with all upcoming events organised by the company now cancelled.

Sportive HQ was formed by Matthew Porter in 2016, with its team consisting of staff who had been organising cycling events for the past 18 years. The company has also worked with local charities and cycling clubs, raising over £50,000.

In an email sent today to riders who had signed up for its events, Sportive HQ said that all sportive are now “cancelled as of this date”, as “there are currently no assets or funds within the business to continue”.

Porter added: “I am so sorry that this has happened, I have been fighting for the past 3 years since the pandemic to keep everything afloat but have failed and run out of personal funds to keep things going.”

Matt also shared this news on the company’s Facebook page, where it said: “After suffering heavy losses through the pandemic and surviving by the skin of our teeth, the knock on effect and putting personal finances into the business we can no longer continue.

“We always tried to put quality first in what we did and wanted to do so going forwards.

“Our last 10 years work in the industry has come to an end and I am personally so sorry for everyone affected.”

As of now, it is unsure that whether cyclists who signed up with Sportive HQ for the upcoming events will be receiving a refund or not.

Jonathan Stone, who had signed up for the next event Flat 100, a 100-mile sportive in South Yorkshire scheduled to take place this Saturday 8th June, told road.cc: “I signed up on 27th November 2023 and was supposed to be doing it with a couple of mates from South Wales. Sportive HQ emailed a few days ago to let us know the rider numbers and timing chips would be sent out this week.

“Then all we got was this email this morning saying they had gone into administration today and everything was off. Luckily my friends hadn’t paid for their hotel rooms. I’m only in Wakefield, so 30 minutes or so drive away from the start, so it's just the £40 fee we’ve lost.

“I’ve put in a claim via my bank but as I paid by debit card, I probably won’t get it back. But people who paid via credit card or PayPal will probably be able to claim. It’s a real shame and it’s only £40 but I do feel sorry for those that might end up losing quite a sum of money and of course the staff and other debtors.”

There were several other sportives scheduled to take place organised by Sportive HQ, one of them being the Lands End to John O’Groats, or LEJOG, from 30th June to 13th July, with entry tickets costing £1795 per participant. However, from Sportive HQ’s community page on Facebook, the riders who signed up seem to be confused as well whether they will receive any refunds or not.

> “Easier than selling Manchester United, but still not easy”: New Tour de Yorkshire organiser in talks with UCI and British Cycling to make race “as big as it was before”

Just two days ago, the company shared a post on Facebook informing about a late cancellation for the LEJOG ride and was offering others that place with a £200 discount.

Greg Butler wrote: “I have little sympathy, 2 days ago , still taking money knowing never going to run events,” while Will Croson commented: “What annoys me more is only just last week or so they were sending out emails trying to get more to sign up for LEJOG. They must have known about this then.”

However, there were plenty of people who also expressed remorse at the company shutting doors and backed Porter for the work put in organising the events over the years.

road.cc contacted Sportive HQ for a statement, however they’ve replied with an automated email saying: “This email address is not monitored so no further response will be given at this time.”

In March 2022, Tour de Yorkshire organisers Welcome to Yorkshire also entered administration, after it was cancelled for a third year in the row. However, the company was relaunched last year and the director Robin Scott said that he had been in talks with the UCI and British Cycling, attempting to revive the defunct race in time for this year’s tenth anniversary of the Tour de France’s Grand Départ in the county.

“We’re looking to make sure we’ve got enough funded support for the event to be as big as it was before, without having to go to local councils and ask them to dip into their pocket,” Scott said.

Meanwhile, in September, Tour of Britain organiser Mick Bennett addressed critics of the route of last year’s event by pointing out the huge organisational, logistical and financial stress that goes into just getting a race on at all.

> "It's at the limit now": Tour of Britain organiser highlights "enormous" costs involved, responds to critics who called route "dull"

“It frightens the death out of me,” Bennett said after the latest edition, won by Wout van Aert for the second time. “The costs are just enormous. I’ve been doing this since 1983… the cost of living has gone up, local governments are being squeezed; if they have to choose between closing a library or a youth club, they're not going to do that [pay for a bike race].”

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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7 comments

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jaymack | 1 week ago
1 like

Seeing a cycling releated business go down the pan is always sad even for those like me who've never really understood the attraction of Sportives. Riding with like minded individuals is a pleasure; for that there is always Audax.

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a1white replied to jaymack | 1 week ago
0 likes

jaymack wrote:

Seeing a cycling releated business go down the pan is always sad even for those like me who've never really understood the attraction of Sportives. Riding with like minded individuals is a pleasure; for that there is always Audax.

Not everyone is capable (or wants to ride) 200km+ challenges.

Avatar
jaymack replied to a1white | 1 week ago
0 likes

100km is by far the most popular...

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wycombewheeler replied to jaymack | 1 week ago
2 likes

jaymack wrote:

100km is by far the most popular...

certainly the most populaire

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jaymack replied to wycombewheeler | 1 week ago
0 likes

...you shall have an extra like for that!

Avatar
SteeveB | 1 week ago
1 like

This is such a shame for the Sportive HQ team and the riders. 

I'm signed up for their Coast to Coast ride in three weeks. Hopefully, we can still ride it anyway. Some things seem to be happening in the background.

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to SteeveB | 1 week ago
1 like

SteeveB wrote:

This is such a shame for the Sportive HQ team and the riders. 

I'm signed up for their Coast to Coast ride in three weeks. Hopefully, we can still ride it anyway. Some things seem to be happening in the background.

Well the roads will still be there, nothing to stop you riding, you might need to manage without a bag drop though.

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