Updated: Rapha Super Cross Round 3 Abandoned in Chaos
Update 09:22 a.m. 17 November, 2015
Rapha sent around an email yesterday to all competitors. It states,
Unfortunately, whilst we had the best intentions of putting on an ambitious event to celebrate the fifth year of the Super Cross Series, it did not meet our usual high standards and there were failures that should not have happened.
We would therefore like to apologise to all those who came to ride and support and we have refunded all rider entry fees.
It goes on to state that some competitors didn’t receive the promised Super Cross Cap that each participant was to receive. Therefore the company is offering a £25 coupon to be used in the online Rapha store to all competitors. But you’ll need to have received that email, which contains a special code. Contact the company if you have any questions.
Round 3 of the Rapha Super Cross series was seemingly all set to go at Granary Square near Central Saint Martins Art School in King’s Cross on Saturday 14 November. The course was planned, obstacles were constructed by first year students at the school and some fantastic food and beer vendors were lined up.
But things started to unravel on Friday when weather reports predicted heavy winds and rain for Saturday. The decision was made to continue with the event, but to move the vendors, finish line and most of the obstacles under a large covered space between the school and Waitrose.
Being an ‘urban cyclocross’ race, the course saw no off-road sections, and featured only one piece with a proper tarmac surface. Instead the course, which was routed around (and through) the school building, was mostly granite or brick (along with some carpet inside the building). Those surfaces don’t generally mix well with rain, and there was immediate concern about the lack of traction on the course.
Complicating matters were the student-made obstacles. While the unique and creative obstacles were constructed in the weeks before the race, they still needed to be put together and placed on-site. Additionally, the obstacles were not pre-approved by the proper authorities, and the hired, independent safety supervisor would not sign-off their safety integrity until some were modified or removed from the course completely.
The late decision to change the course, alter the obstacles and move the expo area beneath the cover meant that course markings, barriers and some vendors were still being set up when participants expected to be racing. Hardest hit were the kids races, which were the first to go off – more than two hours late. Unfortunately at least a few little ones hit the deck on the wet bricks.
Following the kids’ and junior rounds, the women’s race went off, but was stopped after one lap because of several crashes. Within about 15 minutes, an announcement was made that the plug was being pulled on the entire event. That left eight more rounds worth of racers and a few hundred anxious spectators left in the lurch, many of whom were upset.
Rapha seemed to have calmed frustrations by offering free beer to everyone, and promising a full refund for all racers. Reveling continued for a couple hours with racers and spectators lingering around the food trucks and beer stands while the DJ spun records as the course was dismantled.
Frustrated racers and spectators quickly took to the official race Facebook page to express themselves.
Matthew Harris posted, “Riders were falling off left, right and centre – we normally love to watch others race, but it didn’t make for comfortable viewing.”
“Sounds like it went a little but too far towards style and not far enough towards substance“, said Giles Cudmore.
But some of the most scathing responses were posted before the official decision was made to abandon the racing. Jason Bye posted at 15:43pm, “Shambolic. Rapha should be ashamed to have have put this on. Absolute amateur hour”.
Rapha announced on their Facebook page that they were stopping all further racing at 16:11pm.
According the Facebook page for the event, Rapha states that an email with further refund details will be sent today (Monday, 16 November).
We will update this story when more information is released.
Were you there? Tell us what you thought on our forum here.