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Why the Angry Doctor was Cancelled

Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 05 September 2010

Buck posted this on FB:

Princes hwy mogo. This fell down as we rode to the re start. A car only JUST stopped in time.

Yeah - you can't blame the organisers for cancelling an event through a forest if the trees are just going to fall over randomly! Sad

Lenny_GTA's picture

Smart call. We have postponed races (not of this size mind you) previously because of wind. Mix the wind with wet ground and even more would be falling. You don't want to be sending people into the bush when there is a fair chance something is going to drop.

After the pasha bulka storm in 2007 glenrock remained closed because trees were still randomly dropping. Add to that limbs that fell and got caught on the way down and it was a dangerous place.

hawkeye's picture

One of my good friends had a tree branch drop on the tent his then-teenage daughter was in while they were away camping one weekend. She survived, but it has had long term if not permanent consequences. Sad

Judging by the number of tree branches down around my neighbourhood and the fact I had to drop 3 gears from normal to get up the Allambie Rd hill when the headwind was at its strongest a few minutes ago, the decision to prioritise rider safety was the best they could have made.

Hop fiend's picture

it has been trashed!!!!

Deano's picture

Has it been canceled, as they where tying to organise a 20k loop last I heard to start at 12:30 so you could do Alap or two. They wherent looking to reschedule from the impression I was given, 40k is a crock when youve drive that far & paid that money to race a 100k so were all currently driving back now. Would have better to just delay it till it's safe to hold the full event.

Antsonline's picture

it wasnt cancelled.

If it were, they may have to refund.

AROC again (after Cap Pun) failed to make a decision in the interests of riders that works against the interests of their back pockets.
Never again.

Their profiteering is getting on my tits.

I wonder if the Gels / food etc will be given away, and a I also wonder if the patient souls who waited for the 'lap or two' race would have got any of the prize money allocated for the race?
Or any of the other prizes?

I'll give you a guess...

AROC - very very bad form.

Bad weather - sure. Bad luck. Look at RTE and also the Husky. Brave decisions in light of bad conditions.

obmal's picture

Hey Ant's.. Please feel free to organize an Endro event any time you want Cool

Lets put some real prospective on it, there's people down there with perhaps thousands of dollars damage, lots more money out of pocket than just an entry fee.. I drove 900+ K's for this and didn't ride a kilometer, the actual entry fee was perhaps the least of the costs (petrol, food and accommodation.. I spent more just on fuel than the entry fee) sure it would be easy to blame AROC.. but the facts are that they organized what would have been a stellar event if the weather had not bitten them on the ass again! at the end of today they still have bills to pay, lets not hang them out to dry before they have had time to take stock and decide if they are going to do anything for the ticket holders.

While I was waiting to ride, I was listening to the organizers debate the delayed start and track conditions. They really really did want to get the thing started and were trying very hard to work out a new course given the amount of work getting anything resembling a rideable track (lets not discount there were still massive wind gusts going on) and all the time there were hundreds of riders awaiting their decision, its not an easy task to reorganize the logistics for a ride like this under that kind of pressure, effectively in a near disaster area.

If anything ( given the benefit of hindsight) they could have called it off earlier, but full marks for dedication to the love of riding as they actually were trying to get a track going for those who were prepared to ride..

Tigger's picture

Although very frustrated that I had trained hard for three months, driven for 10 hours (there and back again) had my broken rear windscreen smashed and rear door dented and not even raced. I believe it was the correct decision to cancel the event.
Someone could have been killed or seriously injured if a branch had come down on someone, or if someone had come around a corner at speed and faced a log across the track. If that had happened then apart from the distraught family and friends, Aroc would have been put out of business and there would be one fewer event.

To the person who said that Aroc were profiteering, maybe they should get their facts straight. All the costs were already spent (other than prize money) by the time the event was cancelled. I'm sure replacing equipment wasn't in the budget either.



ps Anyone got a spare ticket or 4 to the Highland Fling please let me know. (Mike at [email protected])

ps's picture

I have been involved in a lot of other sporting events that get cancelled. It happens for a lot of reasons and safety should always be top of the list. The section in the briefing about refuge areas in strong winds is clear enough.

Any reasonable person would know that there were enough trees down and the winds were high enough to present a safety risk. Its probably a condition on their insurance cover so that takes the matter out of their hands.

btw my wife and daughter did the prologue on Saturday arvo and it was really muddy. As it was the first 10k of the sunday course it would have been pretty chopped up on sunday morning. I didn't hang around for the delayed start on Sunday so interested to hear if the tracks had dried out.

Jack 12's picture

Hi Tigger,

I agree 100% with you and it was a tough call to call it off and with so may riders ready to go just like yourself.

Look on the bright side you got to hang out with 4 of your mates in a great part of the world

Well done and keep riding hard

Jack 12

Brian's picture

I stopped and rode Sparrow Hill and Mount Stromlo on the way home. When riding Sparrow Hill we witnessed a massive tree falling over so there was a real chance of danger. The only thing I'm not sure about, if were weren't there to hear it, would it have made a sound Smiling

obmal's picture

Was thinking about Sparrow (actually all the signs; Wingello.. Appin.. made me nearly cry) on the way back, but the wind was soooo strong at the Braidwood turnoff on the Kings hwy that I gave it a miss, did perimeter long instead... gotta be the furthest Ive driven for a local ride trail for sure Smiling

Lach's picture

Just before they were going to send everyone off into the forest at 12.30 there were further reports of trees falling, so it ended up a c. 9km out and back course up the power line track that runs along side the highway. Not fun. Fire trail steep up / steep down/ steep up / steep down, repeat about 6 times, turn around and go back.

They even called this off halfway through - ostensibly because a landowner had complained, but also there were a couple of riders down at the bottom of one hill, with a second vehicle coming in as I rode back. Would have made it tricky for the proposed repeat laps. As it was, the "track" was not one that many not in contention for prize money would bother with extra laps.

I know AROC were trying to give riders "something" in the way of a ride, but it ended up pretty crap. While I can understand not giving refunds, something like a discount on a future events might make it a bit more palatable.

Having seen the amount of trees down on the Princes Highway, Kings Highway and Tomakin Rd, I have no argument with it being called off. With the benefit of hindsight, they should have just announced that this morning and let everyone move on. At least a bit more $$ were spent in Eurobodalla as a result of the numbers that did stay on.

There were probably a few that didn't have a choice - most of the servo's in the area had no power, no pumps and couldn't serve fuel.

As there was still no power back at the beach house we were staying at (and no hot water) and I had plenty of fuel, we packed up and left at 4.30 instead of staying for a long weekend as intended.

Not a good year for enduro's overall - the Dirtworks was great, as was the Husky 2nd time around, but the 1st Husky, Capital Punishment and now this is a bit of a sorry story. La nina?

Jeff's picture

Mogo was way too dangerous. We then went to Stromlo. Fortunately no trees there to blow over.

Jandrew's picture

I really think they had no other choice but to can it.
The winds were that strong over night that in the gusts the house we were staying in (is on big metal poles) was swaying... Scary stuff in the middle of the night!
The road from Malua Bay to Mogo was all but closed due to trees down, thankfully my mates and I were in 4wds so we just drove around them.

While waiting for the restart we went for a ride up some of the marked trails for the race and there were a few trees down and if you did not see them in time or were coming in to hot you would have been cleaned up. It sucks but there was nothing they could do, good on them for at least finding something for people to ride on and keeping us informed every 15-20mins on what was happening, being upfront and honest.

Antsonline's picture

Obmal - dont get me wrong - the weather was well out of their control.
Nobody can be blamed for that.

I wont be organising an Enduro event, as its not my job. I dont run a professional organsiation whose sole purpose it is to arrange events.

If their decision to run something (a 20km fireroad loop) was indeed 'dedication for the love of riding', then they are more out of touch with their customers than I had at first thought.

It is tough makling pressure decisions. But at work we all do it every day. This was their job, their business and their reputation. It is not a charity organisation. Its not even a club race (who by the way would have had no fear in calling the event off should conditions have been bad - we all know of instances like that).

There is no excuse for not making a decision. Their need to pay bills is not my concern.
They knew it was unridable. Thats the end of it. Tell everyone at 6am - via the SMS numbers they collect but never use (rather than Facebook - completely useless unless you are a FBer or have a suitable phone) and let us all go away diappointed but happy that the right decision was taken.

Rob's picture

You know - I hear whisperings that the main cost of events such as these are for insurance. That being the case, wouldn't you imagine that an organiser would get the insurer to include cover against the event having to be scrapped due to events outside their control - like weather, bush fire, stuff like that - exactly what happened here.

In this case the best outcome for riders would surely be to get a firm decision early in the day and the offer of free (or very much reduced) entry to another event in the future (which their cancellation insurance coverage would pay for).

Or is this too optimistic a view of how things work?

psd's picture

Just a guess but probably the main insurance cost they're talking about is public liability insurance i.e. against claims for injuries / death etc. That sort of insurance would be essential (if not a legal requirement). Insurance against the event being shut down by a weather event is probably more an optional thing and would be a separate policy.

Just a thought but from a business perspective (devil's advocate view) if they don't have to refund customers due to cancellation for bad weather they wouldn't incur any additional costs so there's nothing to insure against. What do the conditions of your entry to the race say about refunds if cancelled for bad weather?

Buck's picture

We were glad it was cancelled anyway. Loz and I were looking up at every tree as we rode back to the cabin after we took that pic!

Same for the drive home. Trees were everywhere and some were bending a lot! Well done to the RTA, RFS, SES etc for clearing up the highway so quickly. It was a smooth drive home with only minor delays.

in regards to refunds....

Should the event be cancelled for any reason no refunds will be made.

leximack's picture

it seems as though they changed there website
check out post number 230 from user "Spiza"

daveh's picture

I don't know much about them but I assume that AROC Sports are a corporate entity or are they some sort of NFP organisation putting on these events partly out of goodwill? If they are a corporate entity then they accept that there are certain risks within their business model just the same as every other business. Of course, they try to minimise these risks with insurance, terms and conditions, etc. so that they do not lose money (and everyone who goes in these events wants them to be successful) but they need to accept some of the responsibility for these risks for their own money making venture.

Obviously each person needs to accept the costs involved in accommodation, transport, etc. but beyond that, surely the organisers should be shouldering some of the costs and, at the very least, not profiting from their failed venture (even if it is not their fault - which it clearly is not) at the expense of their paying customers.

king_nelly's picture

Hmmm that is a good post from SPIZA on Rotorburn... Im not overly impressed by an organisation that has these sort of ethics (or lack of).

I have also noticed that they removed all the comments on facebook in response to people asking for refunds. Basically an AROC employee responded saying that they had a a whole load of sunk costs (understandable) and that they were the ones that had to put up with all the buraucracy etc etc to organise such an event. Thats a part of business and defensive comments such as these just piss people off.

They could have easily saved their reputation by donating a portion of the proceeds to a charity and given next years riders preference and a small discount 5%, I reckon that would have kept people happy...

Anyway will be interesting to see how AROC recover from this....

Sinkes's picture

Caught out updating a website can be fraught with danger!!!!

Original entry form.
QUOTE "Should the event be cancelled for any reason we will endeavour to reschedule the event to the following weekend (11th and 12th September). If you are unable to attend the rescheduled date or if the event cannot be rescheduled for any reason no refunds will be made"

Sunday Morning.
QUOTE "Should the event be cancelled for any reason no refunds will be made."

I think you have a point given what has been stated.
My 2c

Damien's picture

Very bad form on the part of AROC probably doing themselves a lot more harm than good maybe they dont intend to continue promoting mtb events.

king_nelly's picture

Here is the google cache from the 25 Aug 2010 03:22:42 GMT

AROC are pulling the wool

Lach's picture

Given the vegetative carnage in the area and the need for local resources to focus on getting power back on, roads cleared etc, I doubt whether AROC could have pulled off a reschedule to 11/12 Sept even if they'd wanted to.
The issue seems to be that they didn't want to, and purported to change the terms on which people had contracted to enter the event.
They would have incurred all the same costs as actually running the event - perhaps some extras in getting things up and running on Sunday - probably had to hire a gen set rather than rely on mains power. They would have had some gear trashed (qwikshades, etc), but that should be covered by insurance. They saved on cash prizes to the elite riders.
Not really a "profiteering" situation. Get together a class action for refunds and you'd probably put them out of business.
I've made my point previously - some sort of discount or preference for rego next year might be the way to go.
Or maybe send everyone a sticker "I got blown at Mogo" Smiling

VC's picture

The event cost me about $550, for a ride along the powerlines. AAAAh nature sure can put us in our place.Poor mogo, they sure missed out on some precious business. AROC....hmmmmm

Safire10's picture

I fully agree that the event had to be cancelled given the conditions. I do however feel that AROC should do something for the MTB community, either by rescheduling the event, helping fix the mogo trails, and/or giving everyone who participated some money back. I'm not suggesting that they give 100% refund, but surely at $105-$140 per regos, they can give something back. I understand these things happen, but the way the entire thing was handle and the fact that they deviously changed their website is appauling. I say everyone should email Alina [email protected]

I also wonder how the sponsors feel being affilitated with AROC?

Very disapointed AROC!!!

P.S.: I like the sticker idea Lach!

StumpJump's picture

AROC should offer something back to their supporters. From a business perspective I believe it's understood if they cover their costs, time and a little fat for the back pocket, but to not hold an event and walk away with their coffers full is wrong. Their business is running events and their contingency plan was to change their refund policy on their website the night before an event. I hope they rethink their decision.

Hop fiend's picture

is there some form of corporate law breaking going on here? or are they just following boxing promotion skills?

hawkeye's picture

If the allegations are true, it raises suspicion of breach of contract. However I think the facts are that the original clause is sufficient to give them an effective escape clause.

All the alleged change is doing is needlessly trashing their reputation. I don't understand it - all they needed to do was communicate properly and they'd have been fine with what they had. Now, though, they've got people riled and all it will take is a few emails to Fair Trading and ACCC mentioning what they're supposed to have done and the number of people impacted and they could be on the receiving end of some unwelcome attention.

A case study in how to destroy a business by the swift press of a few buttons... regardless of official involvement. Sheesh.

Fatboy's picture

I may be on my lonesome here but I thought the organisers did well. Let's face it, nobody had power for 100km around Batemans Bay so those low on fuel were stranded. We didn't have our ideal bike race. So what?

The area was carnage but the organisers knew the wind was dropping so delayed the start. The same decision most would make given the investment in time and money to get the day happening. They were right. The wind stopped late morning and the day was perfect. They had a 20km loop ready for us to do 2 laps. As we were on the start line the organisers got word from one of their crew that a tree just fell near them and would have killed them. The organisers have a duty of care so exercised it appropriately. The problem was they had a couple of hundred riders on the start itching to go so had to re-route in minutes. There were subsequent dramas that left them pulling the pin after 1 lap.

I was particularly excited as we all took a wrong turn about 6km in but it worked out worst for the front runners who had further to double back so there was a time there when I had Olympian Dan McConnell on my tail. He then put things back in their right place by calmly surging past me like I was standing still on a climb. I was giving it everything in my small ring and he just stood up in his big donk and made it look so easy...

They tried their best to make amends by giving out prizes to as many people as they could. In fact the prize giving took longer than the race. I would guess more than half of us left there with something.

AROC did a pretty good job under a lot of stress. Shit just happens sometimes but at least we aren't one of the people who have to repair houses or businesses!

Jandrew's picture

"We really hit a completely unexpected and not forecast natural disaster and only wish that we could have had better luck with the weather. It was impossible to hold the event on the intended course. To be in the forest was unsafe and is still unsafe now. The course was impossible to use and the access roads were cut off making first aid access unavailable. We are unable to hold the event on the back-up date of the 13th September (which is why we updated the website on Sunday morning when we realised it would take months and not just one week to clear the course of all the fallen trees and hanging up trees). With all costs of the day having already been spent we are not able to offer refunds. That is why there is a no refund policy if we have to cancel the event on the day. We would however like to offer all competitors from this year a guaranteed entry for the 2011 event and 10% off next year's entry price."

Find it here

I still feel they did the best they could. My house at Malua Bay (10km away from Mogo) was moving in the wind and we had a small portion of the roof blow off, trees down in the driveway and so on.. Was too dangerous for a trail ride. I think that 10% off and a guaranteed spot is great for next year!

Supagav's picture

SO now AROC are trying to justify their actions when they tried to pull the wool over the competitors eyes....

They come out trying to sweet talk to everyone and offer them a place in this race next year.
So by offering guaranteed entry into next years race they are basically rescheduling the event and asking you to all pay for it again!!! whats more people like myself basically dont have much of a chance of getting an entry as they have pre allocated all of the entries already.....

Now given their wonderful lack of ethical practice over the way they handle things with regards to money, refunds and information sharing whats the bet the entry fee for next year is going to be $154 ($140 + 10%)???

I wont be attending any of their events any time soon. There are plenty more great events out there to choose from these days.

obmal's picture

Geez, all this talk of boycotting the event next year? oh well I guess if anything then perhaps there will be a few less of the precious and angry type of MTB riders on the track next year.. Eye-wink

Perhaps we could all offer to assist/donate towards getting the trail up to spec again, I'd be happy to donate my 10% discount if it went to the trail maintenance/fairies?

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