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Carnival is over: End of the road for Tasmanian cycling event

A 126-year Tasmanian tradition has come to an end, with the Latrobe Carnival cycling event in the state’s north-west cancelled after its volunteer organisation failed to overturn an adverse track report by AusCycling.

Latrobe Bicycle Race Club vice president Noel Pearson, who has been on the committee for 45 years, said AusCycling came to inspect the track in the state’s north-west last August without telling his club.

AusCycling then handed down a report in March, which called for the club to build a steel barrier in between the track and its spectators.

But Mr Pearson said the club refused, believing the barrier would be dangerous for riders.

The club wrote to AusCycling, asking it to reconsider its position, but the organisation refused.

This was the first time the new governing body had overseen the event and Mr Pearson said the track had previously been inspected by Latrobe Council and the club on an annual basis and no safety issues had been identified.

“We’ve never had any problems when accreditation of the track was left up to the state,” he said.

“The first year AusCycling takes over, despite their intentions of maintaining existing tracks and road racing events, they’ve certainly made it very difficult for us to continue.

“In fact, they won’t allow riders to ride on the track.

Mr Pearson said he was one of several volunteers aged “around the 70-year mark” and some committee members had volunteered for 50 years.

“All of that has gone out the window,” he said.

The end of the traditional race comes after two years of disruption, first falling to COVID restrictions in 2020 before missing out last year when the safety barriers became an issue.

Mr Pearson said the carnival began in 1896 and had previously only not taken place a couple of times “during the wars”.

AusCycling was approached for comment for this story.

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