It’s with a heavy heart that Cycling Shorts brings you this sad, sad news about the SCCU Good Friday Meeting (Southern Counties Cycling Union), I won’t drop the other Cycling Shorts writers in it, but a few of us have been having the same collective grumble about this all morning.
I wanted to call this article “Herne Hill abandoned for shiny new venue with no soul”, but I’m resisting.
Personally I feel the event will lose a lot of it’s core supporters who have stood by the event no matter the weather, in fact the weather is part of the charm of the Good Friday Meet (and other Good Friday races around the country)… people will still go out in mucky weather to watch or take part in cycling in the UK. At least at an outdoor track the riders pass the spectators repeatedly keeping the audience gripped, the same can not always be said of road racing, it whizzes past you once… reach for your flask of coffee and hobnob (other biscuits are available) and the photo opportunity is gone! Isn’t part of the point of these races to get outdoors and enjoy what spring throws at us?! Herne Hill will be remembered with more fondness than Lee Valley ever could be. It seems it’s yet another event cashing in on the new and sacrificing the old. In my mind this isn’t a move of location, it’s a total change of event.
I want to see grass roots venues being treated with the respect they deserve, if the cycling bubble we are currently riding in does burst (fingers crossed it won’t) you need venues like Herne Hill to help keep cycling going in the bad times, don’t snub it in the good times, why can’t these venues continue to host these sorts of races?… so what if demand outstrips supply of tickets, it becomes a more exclusive event.
The international pro riders I know who ride the GFM year in year out always tell me they love going to Herne Hill, they say it feels like you’re in the heart of a community.
I won’t be able to make it down this year to Lee Valley, I know I grumble, but I know it will still be a great day of racing and I’m sad I can’t go this year, it’s always well organised and quirky… if you haven’t been to the Good Friday Meet before and don’t like British weather then you have no excuse this time, get down to Lee Valley for an action packed day of cycling!
I’ll give it a go next year…. maybe.
Disappointed of the weather beaten (but hardy) North.
So after much rumour…here are the details of the relocation we received this afternoon.
On 18th April 2014 The SCCU Good Friday Meeting will be departing one historic Olympic Venue for another as it makes a move from Herne Hill to Lee Valley Velopark to help celebrate the opening year of the park and the cycling legacy of London 2012.
We know that many of our supporters at Herne Hill will be disappointed that they will not be making their annual pilgrimage to Burbage Road ‐ and it will certainly be a very strange feeling for us to not be unlocking the gates at 6 o’clock in the morning – but after 110 years of forecast watching we will not be at the mercy of the British weather this year!
This decision has not been taken lightly. We’ve spent several months weighing up all of the options whilst constantly aiming to bring the best afternoon’s racing we can to our loyal supporters.
Herne Hill is a much‐loved and highly respected venue and work to renovate and evolve into a multi‐use facility is ongoing, taking it from strength to strength and elevating it far above it’s Victorian peers. Whilst the Good Friday meeting is undoubtedly a part of the velodrome’s history we are aware that track racing has moved on over the years and the event also needs to evolve to meet the expectations of the new generation of enthusiasts and supporters.
With this in mind, we felt that it was appropriate to bring the meeting to an indoor venue.
Rest assured, Herne Hill will continue to be a home of world‐class events and we fully intend to expand the number of outdoor‐specific and continental‐style events we promote at the venue, returning to the traditions and racing styles which the venue has hosted for over a century.
To our traditional supporters we say come with us, and to our new supporters we say welcome to some great racing!
Event website: http://www.bristowevents.co.uk/GoodFriday.html