The Wacky Races event, in just five years, has become a “must see” event with competitors and visitors coming from great distances and from all points of the compass. It would appear that our event is one of only 23 annual downhill racing events in the UK, which of course adds to its appeal. Tetbury Wacky Races were featured in The Daily Mail, The Times, Cotswold Life, local “What’s On” guides and on BBC Points West, all of which boosted numbers and it is crowd control issues that must now be addressed for safety reasons. Because attendance is free, there is no official record of numbers attending, but a rough estimate seems to be about 3,000 people attended this year and this is probably our capacity limit. However, the situation must change for if we have little ability to limit spectator numbers, we will be unable to address some very serious crowd control issues for 2017 and beyond for we have figures to suggest that this number is sure to grow. For example, the Wacky Races web site has had over 82,000 hits since the middle of February from 60 countries and is still generating over 1,200 hits a week. Those statistics alone are frightening given the size of Tetbury and the need for the safe movement of the public at all times between the Chipping car park and Millennium Green on what is a very narrow pavement.
The support from the town was fantastic with a wide range of business sponsors providing banners on the course, raffle prizes and full page adverts in the programme, all boosting what has become a major fundraising event for the Lions Club. It is difficult to tell exactly how much money was raised but Tetbury Lions will probably net about £3,500 from the event but when we take into account the car parking revenue from the two sites which generated over £4,000 and the vastly increased takings in the town, particularly the pubs, hotels and cafes, we have without doubt generated a major event for the town. Of course, success comes at a price and Wacky Races is no exception. The increased visitor numbers this year created a number of congestion points the situation, critical at times, eased only by a heavy downpour of rain. It is now a priority for the organising committee to consider several options to either ease or eliminate this concern in planning next year’s event. Fortunately several options are open to us, some may be considered radical but all will be essential, details of which will be revealed over the coming months. We can say however, that we hope to run a Wacky Races event in 2017 in the locality, provided we can adhere to strict health and safety guidelines.
Tetbury Wacky Races Publicity Team