KIRKCALDY is on the verge of securing the return of the Halfords Tour Series in 2013.
Talks with the organisers are at an advanced stage, and with most of the funding package in place the cycle race has been pencilled in for Thursday, June 6 in the Lang Toun.
All that remains is for Events Scotland to confirm its contribution of £15,000 towards the project costs.
The Halfords Tour, which started in 2009, staged its first race north of the border when it came to Kirkcaldy in May this year for the opening round in the series. It proved to be a big success and the efforts of Fife Council and Kirkcaldy4All to see the race return to the town next year look set to pay off.
Linda Temple, Fife Council’s events co-ordinator, said: “We have been in discussions with SweetSpot, the organisers and promoters of the tour, and we are in the final stages of the process.
“We have to put a funding application into Event Scotland by October 26 and we’re likely to know by the end of November.”
A £20,000 contribution from Kirkcaldy4All and £15,000 from Fife Council’s strategic events budget had already been agreed towards the £70,000 project costs.
And the Kirkcaldy area committee yesterday (Wednesday) agreed a request for a £20,000 contribution from the area budget.
Linda added: “Our previous race was on a Tuesday but we’ve gone for Thursday this time as we think it’s a better evening for Kirkcaldy, nearer the weekend. As far as we are aware we are still the only Scottish venue.”
The race in Kirkcaldy earlier this year attracted a crowd of 2500 – more than half of them from outwith Fife – and it was televised on ITV4 to an estimated 353,000 viewers.
With the profile of cycling having risen thanks to British successes at the Olympics and the Tour de France, efforts are being made to make the 2013 Kirkcaldy race bigger and better. There will be greater emphasis on the events during the day, with schools across Fife being encouraged to take part in activities.
The race circuit is expected to be the same as this year, but the Council is looking to improve the viewing area on The Esplanade and wants to make greater use of the High Street.
Kirkcaldy MSP Dave Torrance is delighted the Halfords Tour is set to return.
He said: “The coverage the town got across the UK was well worth the money spent on it. It’s a fantastic event and hopefully we’ll attract even more visitors this time, with more events to bring people into the town during the day.
“It’s something very positive for Kirkcaldy and will raise the profile of the town.”