Latrobe Christmas Carnival cancelled over dispute with AusCycling

NOT HAPPY: David Foster and Noel Pearce have been vocal about their opposition to the fence. Picture: Simon Sturzaker
NOT HAPPY: David Foster and Noel Pearce have been vocal about their opposition to the fence. Picture: Simon Sturzaker

If people persist in the view that a fence around the track is needed, it will mean there's no more Latrobe Bicycle Race Club.

That's according to LBRC vice-president Noel Pearce, who on Wednesday afternoon officially announced the Latrobe Carnival was cancelled for 2021.

"It's a line we've drawn in the sand," Mr Pearce said.

It is the second year in a row that the 126-year-old carnival has been cancelled, after being an event previously only put off by World War II.

He said the club had not been able to meet a resolution with AusCycling and as such could not proceed.

Leading into the carnival season, AusCycling did a track assessment and told the club a steel fence was required between the track and the perimeter, for improved safety.

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"We think it's unreasonable, and we think the track is safe as it is," Mr Pearce said. "AusCycling weren't prepared to shift and won't sanction the event, so we won't have cycling at Latrobe."

He argued this fence, which "100 per cent" of the club were opposed to, could actually make the track more dangerous.

"Around the top of the track we have a grass verge which is generally pretty flat. Our view is, and we've seen this happen many times, if the rider gets forced off the track and onto the grass, it enables them to come back onto the track without impacting them."

Mr Pearce disputed claims from AusCycling that cyclists were on board with the safety measure.

"I've had calls from mainland people involved in cycling, people in Tasmania calling me all day saying how ridiculous it is."

AusCycling executive general manager Kipp Kaufmann said they were committed to "finding a way forward to make sure the Latrobe Carnival can continue".

Picture: Simon Sturzaker

Picture: Simon Sturzaker

"We've been in ongoing communication with LBRC and certainly they haven't been in agreement with our position, but we've been offering support and trying to find a way forward," Mr Kaufmann said. "That's where our focus has been."

He said AusCycling was open to finding a compromise that would keep all parties happy, and safe.

"We want a safe carnival and the safety of riders and the public is paramount.

"AusCycling and SCAT have been working together on this... and reached out to provide any support to ensure the event can go ahead. That's been put to them."

"Latrobe Carnival is really important and we want a safe and great carnival put forward in the future."

This story Latrobe Carnival cancelled, future events unlikely first appeared on The Advocate.