Tweed Cross 2017: bringing cyclocross racing to the Scottish Borders
The event at Tweedbank Park provided a good opportunity for the public and other riders to see top British and international athletes perform.
The event at Tweedbank Park, Tweedbank went ahead 27thAugust as planned and the feedback on the day from riders and the overall view of the organising committee is that it was very successful. The committee with the help of all of the volunteers and support we were given achieved our aim of bringing cyclocross racing to the Scottish Borders. This off-road racing is one of the most accessible forms of the sport, being open to a wide range of ages, fitness levels and attracting mixed-gender participation. Tweedbank Park was a very good venue, providing a varied course on the banks of the Tweed, close to local Borders’ communities and accessible to riders from the central belt and beyond.
We had 120 entries in the A and B races, including novices and a handful of professional cyclocross riders in the A race. This provided a good opportunity for the public and other riders to see top British and international athletes perform. The course layout was challenging as expected, and performed well in allowing the field to separate out and the faster riders plenty of opportunity to pass the slower ones. There was also a junior coaching and short race event organised to run earlier in the day. This attracted about 12 participants and was managed by Live Borders.
This included the sign-on, mechanics tent, toilets and food wagon. This all worked as planned, sign-on was well organised and staffed. The portaloos were clean and tidy throughout the event and enough of them for the number of riders and spectators. The food facilities were not that busy and their location may have contributed to this. For future events we may look to provide more variety of food and drinks and place closer to the key spectating areas.
Facilities provided on the day were open to all public in the park (toilets, food wagon). Much of the race was visible to people walking through and all of the main pathways remained open allowing access to people with aided mobility. The local fire service asked to park an appliance on the park during the day to promote fire awareness and safety; this was an added bonus and attraction on the day.
SPONSORSHIP OF THE EVENT
The committee attracted a number of local businesses to provide gifts as prizes for competitors. Particular thanks to: Tempest Brewery, Tweedbank; Orbea Cycles, UK; Wonky Woolies, Kelso; Scottish Rail, UK; Fairbairn Fabrications, Fife; Hardies Bikes, Melrose. We are confident that the social media, print, and photo opportunities of the event will give promotional return to these generous sponsors.
We were very active on social media, with a Facebook event page, Instagram and twitter account. We uploaded 3 promotional videos on youtube. Peak audience for FB posts was 2000 with over 200 reposts or likes. We had pre-event coverage in two local papers. At the event Orbea and Hardies Bikes had a tent, feather flags and van by the finish line which achieved a lot of coverage through podium and finishing photographs. Wonky Woolies hats were worn on the podium and the gift bags also gave good text space. Orbea supplied course tape, which was visible on the day to riders and spectators. Tempest Brewery supplied two large banners which we placed near the pine tree and beer hand-up section – again these featured in many photographs.
Other sponsors generously gave prizes to give out for winners but also in the beer-mat hand up raffle. All of these sponsors were featured in the pre-race notice and on the event FB page.
TWEED CROSS 2018 – TX18
Based on the success of the day, and positive feedback from riders, we plan to run the event again in 2018. We expect a growth in riders once the race gets talked about, videos posted, and we improve the experience for TX18. We will be looking to partner with sponsors again in 2018 and have ideas for sponsoring specific activities, facilities and locations. For example:
• Riders race numbers – branded, appear in race photos, collected by each rider
• Tents and E-Z ups – for sign on or first aid
• Finish barriers sleeves and feather flags
• Presentation podium
• Course tape – does not have to be the whole course, sponsor a key section, near an obstacle or photo area for example
• Flyover – the Big-Daddy for TX18 – large wooden construction in the centre of the park – lots of advertising ‘real estate’ and opportunity to be the headline TX18 sponsor
• Sales point – have something to sell or promote to riders or
the public? Demo bikes or gear for example.