At 6.30 am on 20th September 2015, the residents of the beautiful village of Tickhill, South Yorkshire will still be sleeping soundly as the lorries, transporters and equipment start to arrive at their destination along with hundreds of contractors and volunteers each ready to embark on their their own specific task of they day.
Race day has come and within less than 3 hours the roads are converted into an amazing Racing arena, lined with 900 barriers, advertising flags and hoardings, speakers systems, 2 huge 13m2 LED video screens, a Cycle Kitchen of Street Food vendors ready to feed the 5000 spectators who are due to witness a fantastic day of exciting, action paced Cycle Racing as the YESSS Tickhill Grand Prix moves into its third year.
It’s funny, because by 9.00 pm at night the village will be morphed back into its original sleepy state and other than a few folk finishing off with a street brush, and the noise of the celebrations still ringing out from the Scarborough Arms public house from the day’s talented winning teams, you wouldn’t even know anything had happened.
But it is this level of dedication and organisation that has made the Tickhill Grand Prix what it is, which is quite simply an overnight success story, one of the best Cycling Criterium Races in the UK, that has come from nothing but a simple idea, then hard, hard graft and boundless enthusiasm.
The Race itself offers the public free admission to watch 8 Races over the day ranging from Youth Under 12 Boys and Girls right up to the professional ‘Elite’ Men’s and Women’s Races which boast the UK’s biggest Prize Fund.
The organisation of the actual Races is one thing, attracting about 500 Riders, and running under British Cycling rules, with a back up team numbering about 100 of Marshals, Judges, Scrutineers, Medics, Commissars, Commentators, Car Park attendants, Signing on staff, litter pickers, helpers etc, but running an event such as the YESSS Tickhill Grand Prix requires dedication to get the event infrastructure in place.
As spectators, you see what is in front of you, but have you ever considered, who turns on the lights at the temporary traffic lights which works in conjunction with a major diversion of the main A roads ? Who draws out the diagram of exactly where the 900 + metal pedestrian barriers will be placed ? Who contacts the Care companies to ensure that the bedridden lady at No 39 will still be able to get her Meals on Wheels ? Who decided on the colours of the ribbon for the Winners bouquet ? Who charges the 45 radios to ensure great communication ? Who do you originally speak and apply to at the Police and the Council to organise a Temporary Road Traffic Order? How many Ty-Wraps do you need to secure almost 1000 metres of advertising bannering from about 75 different companies ? And has anyone ever considered that someone had the job of calling door to door to each and every resident in the village directly effected by putting on the Race and giving them opportunity to voice their concerns ?
Well those are just a tiny fraction of the thousands of different jobs that have been ongoing since the day after the last event finished in August last year.
So why does an event need to be so diligent ? Race organiser ‘Rapid Rich’ Stoodley explained;
“ When you decide to put on an event like the YESSS Tickhill Grand Prix, you soon realise the costs are going to be huge and to cover these you need to fund them by offering the event as a vehicle that companies want to use to promote themselves, you have to give them something with value, exposure and prestige, and that is when it becomes serious.”
“Everything needs to look right, sound right, read right and be right. A sponsor may be giving you tens of thousands or just a few hundred pounds but each equally need their adverts to be right, each wants to revel in the atmosphere of the day which is only achieved if both the Spectators and the Riders are enjoying themselves, so it it crucial that every element is planned and controlled from the 900 + Barriers to the freshness on the Cream in the VIP’s scones, from the Pantone colour of the YESSS ELECTRICAL logo to the toilet signs, from the fair pricing and quality of the coffee to the 1000th second photo finish timing ..... ALL and EVERY task is as important as the next.”
It is hard to believe that on the 20th September this will only be the 3rd time the Tickhill Grand Prix has run, such is the slickness of the operation, but equally as impressive is its standing as a British Cycling event.
It was the recognition and belief that Women’s Cycling needed to be given equal status that put Tickhill firmly on the map. The organisers gave the Women Racers what they wanted and included equal prize money, and overnight, on its inaugural running of inclusion of Women’s Races it was hailed as the biggest and best Women’s Crit Race in the UK.
No bad for the first one you have put on, and even better when you find out the organiser doesn’t really have a clue about Cycling and only climbed on board the saddle himself aged 53 in October 2012 !
We will be previewing the YESSS TICHILL GRAND PRIX in more detail in out JULY /AUGUST (?) issue, but be sure to open your diary to visit this beautiful historic village on 20th September, and as you enjoy a Paella or Pizza in the Cycle Kitchen or are supping a pint of their own Grand Prix Ale whilst flicking through the comprehensive and informative full colour programme, just bear a thought .... how did this all come together !
WHERE: Tickhill, Nr Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN11 9PY
WHEN: Sunday 20th September 2015 - Racing starts at 11.30 am