As the racing season is in full swing now is perhaps a good time to give an update on South Region issues. Starting on a positive note is the increase in the number of races this season (including more than 40 road races to date, including an uplift in the number of races for women); this, of course, would not be possible without the growing number of volunteers willing to organise events and the considerable number that form the teams of officials (Commissaires and Judges), Accredited Marshals and members of the National Escort Group.
The two recent courses for Accredited Marshals saw a full complement of trainees as did the latest course for Assistant Road Commissaires, all very positive to help promote the sport of cycle racing. In terms of circuit racing there have been a few issues that have conspired against the smooth running thus far: the cancellations at Odd Down due to a contaminated track aggregate (which rests with the Contractor to resolve) and the safety upgrade of Mountbatten (which should open shortly, commencing with Youth and Junior coaching) have reduced significantly the number of events from previous early seasons. Regarding Mountbatten, although the plan is to organise racing (with reduced field numbers) the initial events are unlikely to run in the evening as the floodlights are presently unavailable for use following a recent fatality concerning the adjoining football pitch.
Another issue that has affected circuit races is the reduction in field numbers following the introduction of revised Risk Assessments by British Cycling Headquarters – this is not to say that the circuits are unsafe, but rather by reducing field numbers serves to reduce the potential for unintentional rider interaction and thereby reduce the number of incidents in races.
The Easter Classic at Castle Combe remained a very popular meeting and with South Region Board representation it is hopeful that the evening series run by Andy Cook and his team at Chippenham & District Wheelers will continue for the very popular Youth races and also for Juniors and Seniors. The formation of a Youth Work Group has also raised the profile for developing talent and it has been very pleasing to see considerable numbers of boys and girls applying to represent the Region in Road, Track and Mountain Bike disciplines at this year’s Inter-Regional Championships.
Attached to the South Region Board are a focused team of British Cycling representatives who have sought continued buy in from local and city Councils to promote all forms of cycling within all age groups; they are also active in identifying future facilities and prospective sites for future development.
The South Region Board itself also consists of volunteers who act on behalf of the 200+ clubs and teams to ensure members’ views and concerns are represented; it is committed to open communication and for the pursuance of a safe and well governed sport. Thank you for your time in reading.
BC South Secretary