With so many events on the South African mountain biking calendar, we’re truly spoiled for choice. But there are always one or two nagging things we never quite understand about events, so we decided to ask Mike Bradley, General Manager of Cycling South Africa to give us some answers. – by Sean Badenhorst
What are the benefits for a mountain bike event to be on the CSA calendar?
In terms of legislation (Sports and Recreational Events Safety Act and the Sport Act), any sporting activity, including recreational activity that falls within a sporting code, has to apply through the controlling body of that sport to host an event. Irrespective of the Act, if Cycling SA did nothing in terms of hosting a calendar of events, with some form of organisational structure, there would be total anarchy with events falling on the same weekend – thereby by depleting entries for events and resulting in less events actually be hosted.
How does an event get added to this calendar and when is the deadline?
The calendar is historically is opened in June each year and finalised by October. There is no deadline and event organisers may still apply for events into the new year. But bear in mind that the later one applies the less number of participants one will receive and the less chance of a free weekend will appear. Events are given priority based on date of application.
What are the risks an event faces if it is not sanctioned by CSA?
The SAPS have every right to close the event down on the day, as the organiser will be in contravention of the Acts, and the event would be considered illegal in terms of SA law. The event organiser will be subject to a further substantial fine by the SAPS, thereby impacting on any refund the riders may expect due to the event being cancelled on the day. I re-iterate, that this is the SA Law and Cycling SA has to ensure full compliance with the current terms and conditions of these Acts, as does any person wanting to host an event within South Africa of any kind.
So you are saying it is illegal to hold a MTB event in South Africa without CSA sanction?
It is illegal to host any sporting or recreational event that falls within that sporting code without the controlling body’s approval – this covers every sport in SA, not just cycling.
Has the SAPS ever closed an event down because it was not CSA sanctioned?
The SAPS has closed down a triathlon event and a few marathons (road running) that I am aware of – almost all cycling events do apply through Cycling SA. Remember the onus is on the event organiser to get the event risk categorised by the SAPS, and on that form they have to state the federation they fall under.
Is avoiding a calendar clash the ONLY benefit for an event to be sanctioned by CSA?
No, but it is a vital one – the emails we receive from event organisers when their event is threatened are quite vociferous, so it is quite a process. Unless you have tried to manage a calendar before, you have little understanding of the intensive work and time it takes.
With only about 45 weekends a year on which to hold events, what would constitute a calendar clash?
We try and encourage the spread of events throughout the year. There are many who only want events at certain times of the year – for example road – everyone wants October–February, and then road dies almost completely. In MTB, the mad rush is May–July, then September–October. It is inevitable that there will be weekends that have more than one event – so one tries to place them to attract different riders from different areas – one way is to give a distance related “event-free zone”, but this is becoming harder to achieve.
What does a R35 CSA Day Licence secure an event entrant?
The day license does not secure the applicant anything. It is to a fee levied to the participant through which he/she agrees to participate within the rule-set of Cycling SA, the UCI and the event. The fee is set at R35, to rather encourage riders to join Cycling SA as a member (R75 per annum). A member does not incur day license fees. Remember that this is a DAY license fee not event license fee, therefore for stage races a non-member would have to take out a day license per day!
Where does this R35 go exactly?
A full financial report showing what Cycling SA did with the income it received was sent out to members in September 2013 and is placed on our website for all interested parties to peruse (www.cyclingsa.com) – click on ‘Governance’ section.
What exactly are the benefits of taking out an annual CSA licence?
The million-dollar question. Everyone asks what he or she gets for R75 per year. Nobody asks what they would like to get for R75 per year – 1.5 tubes, 5 beers, 6 1L cokes? The benefit of becoming a member of Cycling SA is that you can compete in any of the disciplines without paying for a day license. The sport that you have chosen to participate in has the ability to grow and develop and bring events like the MTB World Masters and Elite World Championships to the country. It allows our masters and elite riders to participate internationally. It enables anyone who is a member, to have a say in how cycling in his/her district, province and country is run. Whether you are a complete weekend warrior or the passion to compete at a higher level tickles your soul, you have the ability to do so in a free and fair sporting environment. As our membership grows, we as Cycling SA, can start to offer better value to our membership. To consider that our membership in 2012 was 12 000 odd, and a mere 5 years ago was hovering around the 6 500 level (annually), we have been limited in what we could provide. With the numbers we have now though, there is real value that can start being attributed to our members to make their membership a valuable purchase.
How many CSA licensed riders are there in 2013?
A total 27 622 members of which 5 786 took out full racing licenses.
Looking at the financials, we see CSA relies heavily on government grants for funding. Is it not possible for CSA to seek corporate sponsorship to increase income?
You would think so, but sponsorships in cycling are cheap and easy to come by. We are competing with every event organiser out there and many “give” away cycling value – R50K per event, with title rights! The problem is that sponsors are starting to realise that with the number of events on the calendar these ‘cheaper” options are lost amongst the masses. For example, can you name three sponsors of events over the last five weeks? We are busy with a new concept that we have taken to the corporate market, to try and attract new sponsors and more meaningful value, but because of the quick, cheap easy offerings, it is very difficult for sponsors to understand our real needs.
Want to find out more about Cycling SA? Visit www.cyclingsa.com or follow @cycling_sa on twitter.
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 26, 2013 – All rights reserved