Round 1 – Statement to riders

NewsPosted on 20th March 2018

Thank you all for the support in our actions of calling off the event on Sunday.  I’d like to have all the answers at this stage, I don’t quite yet, but I will share with you the situation and next steps.

For the original postponement, we had started planning for that eventuality more than a week before the event.

When it got to Wednesday we had a new date agreed with the FC, confirmed key members of staff were available or replaced, confirmed medic cover and we were able to announce the postponement and new details at the same time. That for me, and I hope you, was the ideal situation; I was quite proud of the way we had been able to handle that.

For this second date we had hoped to run, the forecasts were not as bad, shortened stages and loop options were drawn up should they be needed and many, many notes added into the dynamic risk assessment. It was known that the FC were not keen on any dates past this one to reschedule again. Course setup had gone well and on Saturday ground and air conditions were suitable for racing up until around 4pm.

When the course inspection at first light (5am) was performed it was obvious the conditions were not suitable for racing, or for marshals. The ice build up was extreme and the ground was concrete hard. B-lines on stage 4 were not usable, you couldn’t stand up on stage 2, the wind-chill at the top of Stage 1 was unacceptable.

So what now?

First thing to note is that Gisburn’s Beat Forester is on holiday until next month, so we can’t discuss new dates until his return.  However, previous conversations would suggest that we will not being offered any new dates. I would hope to make a final decision by Round 2 at Grizedale, I know that’s a month away but that is realistic.

The second thing is unfortunately down to funds.  We incurred and stood charges for the first postponement, and called it early enough to have those charges at a manageable level.  As yet I’m still waiting for final confirmation of charges the event has incurred, but they are expected to be significant. If we can find another date, we will find a way to cope with this. We thank our title sponsor, Hope, for already offering to help fill any funding gaps for a 3rd go at this event.

It maybe that that’s it – and we have to fully cancel the event. Within our T&Cs for the events is the following statement

“SMK Events / PMBA Enduro reserves the right to modify or cancel the event if circumstances beyond the control of the organiser should arise. This includes cancellation of event due to extreme weather, acts of God, violence, civil disobedience and war.
If the event is cancelled we will not be liable for costs of travel fares, hotels, or any other expenses that may be incurred.
It is your responsibility to ensure the race is going ahead before travelling. We will do our best to inform you if the race has to be cancelled but we do not accept liability if we are unable to contact you. We strongly advise that you check before making travel and accommodation arrangements.
If the event is cancelled we would endeavour to reschedule if possible, and transfer all entries to the new date. Please be aware that we may be unable to refund or part refund any entry fee. We may be unable to transfer your entry to another event. We will always allow entries to be sold on upto 7 days before the rescheduled event, this will be via the “Substitution” button within SiEntries.”

If the event is cancelled, I do not feel it is appropriate for SMK/PMBA Enduro to make any profit, but nor do I feel the series should make a significant loss.  I hope you all want the series to be sustainable and being realistic, the series cannot stand the levels of loss if we provide full refunds, so please be aware that is not an option. This year was always going to be challenging financially with the split from Borderline events and the purchasing of all the equipment that partnership brought to the series requiring significant investment. However the loss of this event won’t put the rest of the series at risk – please do not worry about that. I have no intention of repeating the mistakes of the failed UKE series.

I therefore would aim to see what is left “in the pot” after the expenses of 2 tries at running the event and see if a partial refund is best way forward; although please appreciate that significant costs have already been incurred.

However, if we get to that point, and many of you have already suggested this to me, I would prefer to take what is left in the pot and donate a portion to the NW Air Ambulance charity and to try and do something for Callum Russell, who crashed on Saturday.

That brings me Callum and an update on his situation, I was able to visit him yesterday myself, after being kept informed by his mother and several friends who have been at his side. He has had an operation which has enabled him to be able to sit up in bed, and that went as well as it could. As good as modern medicine is a severed spinal cord is not something that can heal. He will be in a wheel chair for the rest of his life, but he has accepted that and still regards himself as an athlete and upbeat about the things he can do rather than dwelling on those that he cant.

He has been instructing the hospital staff on the diet requirements of an athlete, turning away pie for omelette and fruit. Specialists from Southport spinal rehab centre (the #1 spinal cord rehab centre in the North West) are visiting him this week and it’s hoped he can jump up the long queue for treatment there given his drive and determination to succeed and get back to racing; be it in a wheel chair, pedal cycle or similar.  He has full body control above the waist so will be able to do stuff on his own.

Callum has been praising the NW Air Ambulance team that attended him and has said he would like to do some fundraising for them, so I’m sure if the event does get called off and we can donate some to them he would be happy.

His cousin has set up a Just Giving page for help for Callum’s initial needs, but I’m sure we’ll be doing more in the future to get him a racing wheel chair, adapted car, housing, or towards the many other things he will need.

Lastly I’d like to thank all the marshal and helpers who volunteered for the 2 tries at running the event, the help from the FC, RMS our Medics and SPORTident in trying to control the costs incurred. Special thanks to Karen who has joined the PMBA Enduro team as safety officer / chief marshal, a job which has had a very tough and stressful start.

SMK / PMBA Enduro Series