The CTC Wessex have made changes to the route of their annual Gridiron 100km event that takes place in New Forest, in an attempt to stop a head-to-head collision with a Wiggle event happening the same day.
The second day of Wiggle’s New Forest 100 Sportive is taking place this Sunday, and along with those riding the CTC Wessex Gridiron, there could be in excess of 3,000 riders in the area on the same day.
The original routes of both events were likely to meet on the same road in opposite directions, said the New Forest Safety Advisory Group last week, calling for the organisers to liaise with each other in order to avoid issues.
The CTC Wessex released a statement this week announcing the route change to the Gridiron event, which has run for the last 21 years, claiming that UK Cycling Events, who organise the event with Wiggle, were unwilling to make any changes to the route.
“In June we discovered the full nature of the clash, wrote to UK Cycling Events and the directors of Wiggle and informed SAG (Safety Action Group),” the statement read.
“SAG informed those concerned that the Wiggle route had been amended and their major concerns had been satisfied but this was not the case.
“CTC Wessex attended a meeting of SAG to conduct a final review – this should have been a formality – but to everyone’s surprise we discovered that there remained a serious clash. We have been in regular communication with UK Cycling Events since then, unfortunately they are unwilling to make any changes to the Wiggle event.”
James Knight, chairman of SAG, responded to the route change announcement by saying:
“We’re pleased that the organisers have acted on our recommendations to ensure that their events can take place as safely as possible.
“Our concerns have been lessened, although the public should still be aware that congestion may occur and should take extra care when travelling in the area.”
Both the Gridiron 100 and the two day Wiggle New Forest sportive have now both sold out all their places for riders.
Since the original announcement about the route change was made, Martin Barden, director of UK Cycling Events, has responded by telling the Daily Echo:
“Although we would have liked to have adjusted our route, it was unsafe for us to match the direction of the original Gridiron route.
“This route was in a clockwise direction meaning the majority of turns would have been right hand turns across a lane of oncoming traffic which is not as safe in our opinion.”
“The only shame is that the Safety Advisory Group issued a premature press statement last week further heightening the tensions in the New Forest towards cycling.”
New Forest Safety Advisory Group says it wants to avoid Gridiron 100 and New Forest 100 taking place on same