The Way Ahead: Peter Harrison

The Way Ahead from Brother Cycling chats to Peter Harrison, organiser of the Beaumont Trophy and Curlew Cup

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The Way Ahead: Peter Harrison

British domestic road racing faced serious challenges even before Covid19 decimated the 2020 calendar. How can it recover, strengthen and achieve sustainability? Enjoy part three of our in-depth investigation. You can read the full article on the Brother UK Cycling Blog.

A matter of organisation

Peter Harrison joined Gosforth Road Club in 1961 and has organised the Beaumont Trophy, a jewel in the crown of domestic road racing, since the 1970s. In 2011, he created the Curlew Cup, a National Road Series race for women.

Still more significantly, he has grown the Cyclone Festival of Cycling around both events. The relationship between family rides, challenge rides and two major road races is complimentary.

Worryingly, Harrison is not fighting off volunteers from Gosforth Road Club eager to replace or even assist him. Now in his seventies, Harrison’s principal source of administrative support is his wife. Between them, they process up to 4000 entries for the Cyclone Festival and superintend the huge variety of organisational duties for the club’s two national races.

“We’ve got to have new, young organisers coming through prepared to put on races, because the appetite exists among riders to race, if we can get those organisers in. I believe that we have 92 registered clubs in the North East region and only about five or six put on races. If they don’t start to help, then races are going to disappear even more than they are now,” he warns.

“You used to be able to race every weekend from March until October, and possibly even at a mid-week race. On a different night, you’d probably ride the track league as well. The amount of races has reduced right down. This is why riders are scrambling for places. So in that respect, the future really is in the hands of the riders.”

Harrison is prepared to share his wealth of experience with anyone willing to learn. He has much to pass on, notably a proven ability to raise the six-figure sum required to stage the Cyclone Festival each year. He has long experience of dealing with British Cycling, too.

The national organisers group, of which Harrison is a member, has been involved in a stand-off with the federation over the distribution of branding rights at National Road Series events. The impasse delayed the publication of the 2020 calendar. British Cycling, he says, promised 50 per cent to its title sponsor HSBC, who also stipulated that the organisers could not seek sponsorship from other financial institutions, however small.

Rowsell’s appointment has helped to defuse the issue, but it has not gone away. Harrison warns that he and his colleagues will not tolerate a similar deal if it is offered by British Cycling to HSBC’s successor.

Click here to read the full article or listen to a panel of experts including Phil Jones MBE, Erick Rowsell and Larry Hickmott on the Brother UK Cycling Podcast, available now from Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify.



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