A date change has been forced on the organisers of the annual Dartmoor Classic sportive, following concerns voiced by two public bodies.
Previously held in May, the Mid-Devon C.C./Colin Lewis Cycles promotion will be run on Sunday 28 June to avoid a clash with another mass participation event, which has been held on the moor for over 40 years. A meeting recently took place between the club, the Dartmoor National Park authority and Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, who raised fears that, should a major incident simultaneously occur in the Ten Tors hiking challenge and the sportive, the response of the emergency services could be compromised.
The potential problem was only highlighted this year (2008), when both events were held in near tropical conditions and the authorities became fully aware of the volume of cyclists using the moor-land roads at the same time as the hundreds of walkers trekking between the tors.
In 2007, when the Dartmoor Classic was first held, the Ten Tors was abandoned due to torrential rain and the army became engaged in a major evacuation of walkers. “To be honest, we would have preferred to stick with the May date because, later in the season, the calendar is very crowded. With many other things to consider, the end of June became the only alternative for us.” said the event’s promoter Ron Keegan.
“However, we have to agree with the concerns of the police and there are some pluses to come out of the date change. We can now accept a bigger field, the organisers and riders have an extra six weeks to prepare at it will be a long summer day.” he added.
Entry to the 2009 event is now open and early indications are that it is heading for another sell-out. Oversubscribed for the past two years, the number of places has been increased to 1500, with over a third of them having already been snapped up. For further information on the UCI listed event or to enter on-line, visit www.dartmoorclassic.co.uk