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Wiggle New Forest 100 Becomes Latest Event Targeted By Saboteurs

by Nick Gregory

This weekend the Wiggle New Forest 100 became the latest sportive to be targeted by saboteurs in 2013.

In scenes that have been replicated a worrying number of times across the country this season, fears were raised over rider safety and event security at the Wiggle New Forest 100 this weekend as saboteurs tore down signs, and allegedly made one road impassable by placing a thick layer of mud on it.

The event, which ran on Saturday and Sunday, and is organised by UK Cycling Events, was the second to be targetted this season in the New Forest area alone, following disruption to the New Forest Spring Sportive back in April.

On that occasion drawing pins were scattered on the road, and over 1,000 signs were ripped down. Some particularly belligerent motorists event went as far as deliberately driving slowly along the route to impede cyclists' progress.


Director of UK Cycling Events, Martin Barden, expressed his concerns to the Bournemouth Echo ahead of day two of the event on Sunday; "We are making constant checks throughout the event. There have been no injuries caused by the saboteurs yet, but we have been keeping one step ahead of them."

He continued, "there was potential for serious injury to cyclists and that's why we are taking these precautions. It's important that (the event) continues not just for the riders to enjoy their hobby, but for them to enjoy the national park... the event has been extremely well received by the riders and it's been a fantastic boost to the local economy."


Groups including the Commoners' Defence Association, which represents New Forest pony owners, and the New Forest Equestrian Association have been extremely critical of the increasing number of sportives taking place in the area, citing danger to both livestock and other road users as justification.

However, unsurprisingly, it is in fact motor vehicles that would appear to be the biggest danger to animals in the New Forest; A detailed breakdown of statistics on the Verderers' website states that 64 livestock deaths, and 18 serious injuries, were the result of road traffic collisions in 2012. Private cars are responsible for the vast majority of these. The last recorded incident of a bicycle being involved in such a collision dates back to 1999.


The New Forest is not the only area of the country to have seen saboteurs targetting cycling events; in early-September, tacks scattered on the road at the Wiggle Etape Cymru caused six riders to puncture and put one safety motorbike out of action. In this case, the closed-road nature of the Welsh event meant some residents were unable to use local roads, and it has been suggested that this may have been what motivated the attack. Nick Rusling, CEO of event organisers Human Race, said at the time, "it's very disappointing. It's also dangerous - it could have caused riders serious injury. It's not a sensible way of showing dissatisfaction towards the event." 

More recently, controversy has also raged in Surrey, where over 2,500 residents have signed a petition claiming to feel "pestered" and "confined to their homes" by cycling events in the county.

1 Comment

8th October 2013 9:05pm Ken Yates wrote:

I'd say the event was pretty poorly organised. Too many of us. Locals weren't very friendly in pub but suppose can't blame them, horses going loopy all over the road. Think the organisers have got a bit greedy. Not for me any more I'll try somewhere different. NF pain to get in and out of - especially Lyndhurst. Camped at New Park in Brockenhurst or should I say MUD PARK! More mud there than any I saw on the road.