Race organiser rules out Bourne CiCLE Festival for 2020
The organiser of the first-ever Bourne CiCLE Festival has ruled out any possibility of the event being staged again this year.
Instead, race director Brian Moran is leading a campaign to resurrect the event in 2021, but this time with a three-year commitment from South Kesteven District Council (SKDC).
The campaign is being backed by Bourne Wheelers Cycling Club (CC) whose annual Sportive event for cyclists of all ages and abilities became part of the two-day festival last year.
A total of 400 professional and amateur riders took part in the festival which featured Sportives over three distances, men's and women's road races, along with a women's team time trial, with all the events starting and finishing in Bourne town centre.
Mr Moran said: "The first official notification I got that the festival wasn't going to happen was three weeks ago when I got a call from InvestSK (the council's economic growth and regeneration company) to sat that the event won't be taking place.
"From my perspective as race director, the deadline to go ahead with organising the event was January 1, 2020 because you need continuity for the general public, sponsors and British Cycling.
"The energy that I'd normally put into organising the event is being put into a campaign to submit a three-year plan to SKDC for them to commit to in 2021.
"A lot of people are behind it and Bourne Town Council is having a special meeting so they can go back to SKDC and ask them to commit to a three-year plan for the event."
A report on the festival, jointly produced by InvestSK and SKDC, stated that about 10,000 people were in Bourne to watch the two days of cycling, generating an economic boost to the town of nearly £128,000.
This compares with a total expenditure of nearly £109,000, with more than £40,000 raised through sponsorship and donations.
Sian Botteley, a member of Bourne Wheelers CC, said: "The Bourne CiCLE event was my home race, having lived in Bourne my whole life.
"Three weeks before the race I was in the best form I 'd been in for a couple of years before a crash and broken collarbone put me out of action for the remainder of the race season.
"Instead of having an opportunity to get what I hoped would be a great result at the CiCLE event, I helped out with the racing by producing a live social media feed from one of the lead cars as the action in the races unfolded.
"Being unable to race was hugely disappointing for me, but it made me even more motivated and excited for the race to return in 2020.
"The fact that the race isn’t going ahead now is a massive disappointment, despite the overwhelming positivity from racers, sportive riders, volunteers and spectators alike."
An overspend of just over £51,000, underwritten by InvestSK, is believed to be behind SKDC's decision to withhold its support for a repeat of it this year.
However, an SKDC spokesman said: "An official decision on whether or not to stage the Bourne CiCLE event in 2020 had not yet been made and will not be made until the relevant governance processes have been completed.
"Given the extent of planning and organisation required to run an event of this size, the associated timescales might preclude it from taking place this year.
"SKDC is committed to delivering festivals and events across the district but has to ensure they meet the needs of local communities as well as visitors, whilst offering value for money for council taxpayers.
"The council will, of course, update all partners on the CiCLE event itself and any other activities planned for Bourne, once the appropriate processes have been completed."
The festival was launched in response to calls for an event in Bourne to match those held in Stamford (Georgian Festival), Grantham (Gravity Fields Festival) and the biannual Deepings Literary Festival.
A spokesman for British Cycling, the sport's governing body which sanctioned last year's event, said: “This is disappointing news for riders, the community and all those who worked so hard to establish the festival.
"Our regional team will continue to work within the community to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to cycle and for the sport to thrive."