Abbotsford's BMX World Cup event cancelled
The BMX Supercross World Cup will not be returning to Abbotsford as scheduled in 2013.
Cycling BC announced Wednesday that the competition, set for Sept. 6-7, has been cancelled.
The provincial cycling body hosted a UCI-sanctioned Supercross World Cup meet at the Exhibition Park track in September 2012 – the first time it had been held in Canada. But the event lost money, and Wednesday's press release referred to "substantial financial difficulties" for Cycling BC.
"We're still just figuring out the final cost of it," said Nicole Rochfort, Cycling BC's communications and events co-ordinator. "But in our budgeting for 2013, with the loss last year, there was no way to come back full force and be able to put on such a great event."
Abbotsford's BMX track has undergone a series of upgrades over the past two years to allow for national team training and to host major races. A supercross start hill was built in 2011, making it Canada's only supercross facility, and the track was reconfigured and permanent bleachers were installed in 2012.
The local World Cup event suffered, though, because it occurred just after the London Olympics. While most World Cup races attract between 130 and 150 riders from around the globe, Abbotsford's drew just 70, and Olympic champions Maris Strombergs of Latvia and Mariana Pajon of Colombia were among those who elected to stay home.
Fewer riders meant less money collected in entry fees, and fewer big names in the field contributed to lower-than-expected attendance. Rochfort said the event drew between 1,500 and 1,700 spectators over the two days, while they had been hoping for between 2,500 and 3,000.
"A lot of the national teams' budgets were spent putting riders through the Olympics," she said. "We had an understanding of that. The riders that did come were good quality riders and fantastic to watch, but there weren't the numbers that are typically seen at a World Cup."
Rochfort said Cycling BC would like to bring the Supercross World Cup back to Abbotsford at some point in the future.
"Moving forward, we learned a lot from last year, and we're in a better position to take it on again when the organization is in more of a stable place," she said.
"We need to get our health back up to where it should be, and where our members are able to rely on us in all aspects of the sport."