The two biggest annual mountain biking events hosted in Polokwane, the Makhulu 5 and Lentetrap, may have reached the end of their existence due to concerns about financial risk, compliance and personal time constraints upon event organisers and sponsors following Limpopo Cycling’s recent annual general meeting (AGM).
Not only does this imply massive revenue loss for the city as riders came from almost across the country to participate in the events but it will also shatter the dreams of those who dedicate their talent and time to the Makhulu 5 in order to achieve Limpopo colours.
Polokwane Pedallers Cycling Club (PPCC) during the AGM informed the organisation that the club would not be applying for a spot on the 2020 cycling calendar due to their concerns. PPCC Chairperson Roy Kirkpatrick said the decision was not taken because of new regulations by Cycling South Africa (CSA) as initially understood, but because of an increased focus on safety and other measures pertaining to the hosting of organised events over the past few years.
“The regulations are not ‘new’ as such but they still appear to be in draft form. On studying the regulations it became clear to us that a lot of risk fell upon the event organisers (and even the sponsors) should it be found that something before, during or after the event was not compliant,” Kirkpatrick said.
He added that the compliance to the regulations is becoming complicated, expensive and time consuming for a small band of volunteers like those involved at PPCC.
Asked whether it was a definite that the city’s two biggest races will not be hosted again with immediate effect he answered: “We do not have members willing to expose themselves financially should it be found that some aspect of the event was not compliant.”
Is seems as if the club will not seize to exist though as Kirkpatrick indicated that PPCC would still continue to organise Saturday outrides, social and training rides. “We are currently investigating other avenues to develop the sport with our membership. I believe that in time mountain bike races will become the domain of professional cycling event organisers,” he said.
Kirkpatrick forwarded a link PPCC had received from CSA to the 2011 overview of safety concerns in the sport.
In the document containing guidelines and regulations it is clearly stipulated that the event organiser(s), and their appointed safety management consultant(s), are primarily responsible for ensuring the application of the regulations to relevant events.
In the overview of the Event Safety Plan (ESP) set out in the document it is stated that event organisers must submit to CSA, or the provincial affiliate, a comprehensive written ESP for sanctioned events. The plan must be submitted in writing, electronically or hard copy. Such plans will not be requested until two calendar months preceding the event date, unless CSA deems the event to be of significant importance to the image of the sport. The plan must be compiled and signed off by a competent professional, who carries adequate professional indemnity insurance for such consulting services and holds valid registration with CSA as a Safety Management Consultant.
The ESP must adhere to the legal requirements as contained in the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (Act 2 of 2010) and must contain the following sections: event overview, high level risk overview, venue plan, route map(s), spectator profile, sanitary and waste management plan, detail of on-site liquor sales if applicable (copy of liquor licence(s)), motor vehicle parking plan, security plan, communications plan, fire safety plan, medical management plan, access and egress plan(s) and emergency management plan.
It was learnt at the time of going to print that CSA General Manager Mike Bradley had resigned and efforts to obtain comment from a relevant official at CSA proved fruitless.
Story: RC Myburgh