The race which didn’t deliver for Kirkcaldy

Pro cycling in Kirkcaldy
Pro cycling in Kirkcaldy

Organisers promised 10,000 spectators ... they delivered less than a quarter

Kirkcaldy’s axed cycle tour race brought under £25,000 to town last year – well below the six-figure sum agreed with the organisers.

Crowds were barely a quarter of the expected 10,000, leaving Fife Council and Kirkcaldy4All to decide it wasn’t value for money.

The figures were revealed to the Press this week in response to the decision to pull the plug on funding the televised event which brought the UK’s top pro riders to Kirkcaldy for a unique town centre race.

The Press understands the organisers’ poor PR efforts were also flagged up in 2012 and again last year, prompting the Council’s events strategy team to pull the plug.

The series sparked criticisms from some retailers who encountered barriers round the town centre, many of which stood empty most of the day and also during the main evening event, and complaints were made as deliveries struggled to get access.

Last year’s schedule included a day-long programme involving local schools, but it failed to bring huge crowds to town.

But the race finale did see a packed Esplanade with VIP area for sponsors and guests, as well as all the cyclists’ back-up teams setting up camp.

The race was shown on ITV4 and many were impressed with the finished programme which gave Kirkcaldy good national publicity.

Organisers, Sweetspot, were given £50,000 to deliver a three-year event with additional backing by Kirkcaldy4All and the area committee.

But their efforts to promote the event locally and nationally didn’t impressed its key backers in the Kingdom.

Economic and attendance targets were not met in 2012 or 2013.

Grant Ward, head of leisure and cultural services: ‘The targets agreed for 2013 were for 10,000 spectators and a £200,000 benefit to the local economy.

‘‘What it delivered was 2500 spectators and a local economic benefit of £24,000.

‘‘The evaluation of last year’s event came to the conclusion that a further £50,000 of public funding could not be justified.’’

£20,00 investment pledged

Kirkcaldy is set to get almost £20,000 of investment in events this year.

The money comes from Fife Council’s strategic events - and accounts for just 12 per cent of its total investment across the Kingdom.

The International Carnival and the Film Festival are the only two events based solely in Kirkcaldy to draw financial backing, but the town will benefit from jazz and comedy festivals which run across the region.

Five events in Dunfermline have been backed financially - including Dunfermline Food and Drink Festival, and a Highland Games - with more support going to north east Fife.

The programme for further up the coast includes support for poetry festival StAnza, Crail Food Festival, East Neuk Festival, Anstruther Harbour Festival, St Andrews Voices, St Andrews Food and Drink Festival and the Snowdrops Festival at Cambo.