It is with regret that I announce that the OBC will not be hosting the Grand Prix in 2014. I have been involved as either a racer (1999-2008) or an organizer (2009-2013) for all but the very first edition of this race (back in 1998).
Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I want to publicly state that the NCC has been a very close partner in the Grand Prix for the past 15 years. It has been a pleasure working with the NCC - our race showcases the Gatineau Park in a unique way.
As was discussed at the 2013 AGM, the principle reason for the cancellation of the Grand Prix is one of risk. I have noticed (with feedback from a number of experienced volunteers) that the number of recreational riders in the Park on race morning has increased. There is no way that the park can be closed to recreational riders on a Saturday morning. We have now reached the point where the risk of an incident between a recreational rider and the race is too high. Over the past years, we have tried to inform recreational riders about the presence of the race through signage, through volunteers, and through media alerts. Many listen and pull over as the race passes. However, there are an increasing number of recreational riders who, despite our best efforts, ignore our warnings and ride against the flow of the race (i.e. into the race). There were far too many near misses last year (between recreation riders and both experienced race caravan drivers and racers); it is only a matter of time before an incident occurs where there is serious injury.
Part of racing is taking risks - racers acknowledge these risks when they sign up to race. Part of organizing a race is taking measures to control external risks. In this case, I do not feel that I can adequately control the risk of a collision between a recreational rider and a racer. Thus, I am left with no choice but to not host this race for 2014.
Racing Events Director