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Increasing race entries - the future of racing?

innertubeinnertube Posts: 10
edited April 2015 in Amateur race
Just a quick thought for debate. I have to admit, I'm not racing this season, but many friends have been bemoaning not being able to get in their desired races due to sheer demand. This is people who have raced for years, and given plenty back to the sport.

I believe everyone deserves a fair chance to race, whether it be a new 3rd cat or a 3rd cat thats been one for years, but with increasing demand for racing and effectively a cap on supply, what happens going forward?

It's a very different sport to football for example, as the sheer time organising a race takes, as well as resources and communication, mean its more difficult to hold them (mainly talking about road races here, but Crits also apply!).

With demand for racing only going to rise in the future with the 2012 bloomers wanting a go, what do people suggest happens? Imagine training all winter to only get into a few of your desired racing targets for that season?!

This increase in demand is great for the sport, especially with purpose tracks such as Cyclopark and Lee Valley being built, but I feel for my cycling friends who cant get races, and anyone else for that matter!

Whats the solution?

Posts

  • alihisgreatalihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    I think this only really applies to road races, its not hard to get a ride at crits/circuit races.

    and because road races are the 'big' events, they're always going to be oversubscribed... they probably just need to get their entry in early, enter as part of a group, or race in an affiliated series where affiliated clubs get preference.

    I think they have increased the amount of points to move between 4th and 3rd cat from 10 to 12 though? Previously you could have moved up in one race, now it would need to be 2+ races or a decent result in a bigger race. That should slow down the progression a little, although they could probably go up to 15 or so if they really wanted to slow it down - but that would make 4th cat races a lot tougher than they are at the moment.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    innertube wrote:
    I believe everyone deserves a fair chance to race, whether it be a new 3rd cat or a 3rd cat thats been one for years, but with increasing demand for racing and effectively a cap on supply, what happens going forward?

    There's only currently a cap on supply due to lack of organisers and volunteers. Stop moaning and promote some...

    There is an ultimate cap on road racing by virtue of the actual roads, but I don't know anywhere it's close to being met yet.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    innertube wrote:
    With demand for racing only going to rise in the future with the 2012 bloomers wanting a go, what do people suggest happens?

    Whats the solution?

    It is undoubtedly a problem - several of the folk I coach can't find nearly as many races to enter as they would like and if they do find a race it's often oversubscribed.

    I think anyone who takes a dispassionate, rational view would say that there is a big shift in the culture and mindset of participants in cycling these days. People are far more likely to pay (more) for a service and expect a certain standard of delivery than to want things cheaply or for free on a voluntary basis. There never used to be a market for bike-fitting or professional cycling coaches or sportives charging £20 or more, but there is now.

    I suspect therefore that the future of racing lies with professional organisers just as it does for sportives and triathlons.

    That's my cold, rational take on it, not what I would like the future to be - but the days of belonging to a club and contributing a lot of hard work voluntarily for the good of the sport in general seem to be past.

    Ruth
  • rothbagsrothbags Posts: 12
    jibberjim wrote:

    There's only currently a cap on supply due to lack of organisers and volunteers. Stop moaning and promote some...

    I simply cannot agree more with the above statement.

    We've had a big change in the NW region with all the races coming out of CDNW's promotion umbrella and back to promoting clubs. Furthermore most people have ditched first come 1st served in favour of opting for hand picking entrants.

    I organised the Lach Dennis RR this year and received 140 odd entries for 50 starting berths.

    The circuit had not been used for 8 years and was as such under "probation" from BC, so I went down the route of picking quality riders 2nd and 3rd cats, known quantities and riders with demonstrable results on the road. The aim being to see how the circuit "raced" and if it could be brought back into wider use. We also made a point of making sure we had at least 15 under 23 riders on the start sheet

    We got the race we wanted ie a good safe race devoid of major incidents with an average speed of over 27 mph and a top three of an ex pro ringer backed up by 2 lads on the Dave Rayner Fund. BC are ok with us using it again so we achieved our aims.

    However i turned away 90 riders.... Something i'd prefer not to do.

    I know other local promoters have received similar interest for events and returned over 50 % of entries.

    With the circuit I was on, and the fact it had not been used for years I had no choice. I looked into running two events consecutively or concurrently but neither were possible under the circumstances and the race permits.

    My gut feel is that for too long First come first served has suppressed the true level of demand for races. But furthermore FCFS has actually suppressed the Quality of racing as it only serves those with a debit card, an internet connection and those with disposable income when races are 1st put onto the calendar.

    I have to say that from first hand experience there are some riders who expect to race who are below racing fitness which results in typical negative racing. That then becomes the whole " How do you get a ride if you dont have the experience " question. The answer is clear - more races

    Time trialling entries operate as a meritocracy and few complain about not getting a ride if an event closes on a fast time. Selective entry policies have always been part of sport,
    I suspect therefore that the future of racing lies with professional organisers just as it does for sportives and triathlons.

    Cant disagree more with that statement. If I as a 1st time organiser, with a brand new club on its 1st official day of business can put a race on with 4 NEG Riders, Accredited Marshals, 1st aid and a prize list ( god forbid ) to the standards that BC want promoters to aspire to, then I fail to see how much more a professional company might offer?

    The heart of grass roots racing is in the club community, not resting with commercial enterprise. We dont need goody bags, banners etc. Just a good hard race that's accessible with a decent enough rider limit on the permit.

    I suspect anybody could promote a road race now and get a full field now... Its not rocket science, its hard work though and most of all very rewarding.
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    jibberjim wrote:
    innertube wrote:
    There is an ultimate cap on road racing by virtue of the actual roads, but I don't know anywhere it's close to being met yet.


    There have been a loss of roads over which road races have previously taken place for many years. It doesn't take a lot; the introduction of traffic lights or a pedestrian crossing or some traffic calming measures and it makes it very difficult to use as a road racing circuit. As an organiser I've had to find new circuits that are a reasonable distance (more laps of a shorter circuit requires fewer marshals) with appropriate turns. This has resulted in moving out into the 'wilds' on quieter roads. The problem is then getting marshals to commute out to a circuit to give up their time.

    With reference to entering early the LVRC has started on-line entry. With the rise in older racers their number have increased greatly. Problem is some people are entering their entire season's racing as soon as they are advertised and they fill up extremely quickly.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,628
    I can only see professional promoters working on circuits - it's far easier to put a days racing on at Darley Moor and charge £18 a pop and make money than it is on the open roads. I know the charges circuits like Darley make have gone up but they are making a fair whack out of that compared to a couple of hundred tops on your average road race - in fact of the road races I put on in the past the only one to make that much (for the club not me) was the one I got a sponsor to cover the prizes. By the time you've paid NEG, drivers, paramedic etc it doesn't leave much.

    As for the quality of racing - well as your average 3rd cat/vet if road racing moved up a level to become the preserve of 2nd cats and above I'd just give up helping out at races - I don't see why anyone would want to get involved in promoting a sport that didn't cater for them. I've always been of the view that organisers can choose the field how they like and while I've got nothing against people who do select on ability as a now 47 year old 3rd cat who mixes half a dozen BC races with half a dozen LVRC (if I can get into them) over a season I'm not likely to go higher - I'm not interested in organising or getting involved in organising races in a sport which doesn't cater for the likes of me ! I've put on five 2/3/4cat races over about the last 8-9 years and not yet had a serious injury where the rider couldn't get back on their bike in any so for me I'm happy with the standard of racing.

    I think the situation isn't as bad as all that anyway - yes it's getting harder to get into races but this is early season - by July plenty of people will have got fed up with taking a kicking or training like a pro without the money and places in races will open up.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    I can only see professional promoters working on circuits - it's far easier to put a days racing on at Darley Moor and charge £18 a pop and make money than it is on the open roads. I know the charges circuits like Darley make have gone up but they are making a fair whack out of that compared to a couple of hundred tops on your average road race - in fact of the road races I put on in the past the only one to make that much (for the club not me) was the one I got a sponsor to cover the prizes.

    Professional promoters on the road would be tough, would you really marshal a road race so someone else can make money, and if not, that's minimum wage or above for every marshal, and you're already close to the limits, because you cannot scale the number of entrants over all the fixed costs.

    Also, why would a BC commissaire volunteer to help out the promoter - and they're not allowed to be paid under current rules - which would mean the promoter would likely need to do it outside BC, so no BC points etc. A new entrant charging lots more would get a very different style of race.

    As you say, could be done on a circuit, but then circuits are also pretty easy for clubs to promote on. But London commutable distance circuits are not selling out as quickly as London commutable road races - so I'm not sure there is a shortage of circuit racing, it's just road.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • ozzzyosborn206ozzzyosborn206 Posts: 1,340
    unlikely to ever kick off in the UK as too many people would moan, but if we could get road races on closed roads it would mean you could have twice as many people racing like in France and Belgium you often see in excess of 100 riders at races
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    I think there is still a strong ethic of organisation to underpin the future of racing.
    As a vet I could race probably far too much for my own good but my budget makes me self selecting the races I want to enter.
    I do assist in marshalling for those events that are local but I dont enter as a rider.
    If private enterprise were given any sort of green light to organise road races then I only fear for the pricing out of this amateur sport of quite a few people.
    Only takes a few google searches to see that in triathlon, entry fees as high as £250 for individual qute commonplace.. and no mention of any prize money for that but a maybe a free t shirt.
  • markwb79markwb79 Posts: 932
    Its been interested to read this thread. Some questions though.

    You are only allowed to start a race with a max of 50 people?

    It doesnt sound very far (I know life isnt fair) that you then select which 50 out of 140 entries actually get a place?

    I race in Holland and Belgium and I dont know of this happening.

    In Holland its first come first served on an online registration. Thats on closed road critiriums.

    In Belgium I just got back from 4 days of racing where there was 250 people at the start line each day. The roads were not 100% closed, but was marshaled very well with plenty of police out riders. Then the sections of roads were blocked off when the peloton came through.

    All for €10 a day.
    Scott Addict 2011
    Giant TCR 2012
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    The law puts a limit on most races of 80 racers. However depending upon the course BC or the organiser/commissaire may decide that a lower limit might be appropriate.
    http://lvrc.org/documents/road_traffic_act_1960.pdf

    Mass cycle racing in the UK was banned on the road until the 1950s and hence the popularity of time trailling in the UK. The UK authorities and general population therefore do not have a tradition of cycle racing.
    It's accepted that a large number of police officers will attend a football match for free (outside the ground).
    If you want your race marshalled by the police you will have to pay. For police on motorbike (which probably would not be available anyway) this would be hundreds of pounds per marshal which puts this option outside the amateur organisers reach. .
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    whoof wrote:
    The law puts a limit on most races of 80 racers. However depending upon the course BC or the organiser/commissaire may decide that a lower limit might be appropriate.
    http://lvrc.org/documents/road_traffic_act_1960.pdf

    A lot of the racing in the south east (and possibly elsewhere, I know less about them) is not actually under the act, but by agreement with the local police etc. The act requires very large circuits (because you can't pass the same point too regularly) and long circuits are just not practical with out right turns or traffic lights etc.

    But either way, bunch size is limited as the agreement will generally be along the lines of the act, selection is very often done on FCFS, only National level races are required to be selected fields, anything below that is down to the organiser to do what they want. Some go for the ease of FCFS, others select a field so they don't have 10 from one team, or get to pick stronger riders for better races.

    A lot of road races will have NEG motorbike marshals, some will have static marshals with the ability to stop traffic (as opposed to the ability to stand in the road and warn drivers that there's a hazard ahead) that's currently a regional thing.

    Here in the SE, the roads are pretty busy, and you couldn't have many more riders on a circuit, as the more riders and groups you have the more hold-ups you have, the more cars get delayed and you can end up running into the back of other jams!

    Of course you can go more rural - easier away from the SE of course, but then the problem is getting marshals etc. to come out.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
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