Foot and mouth disease is still spreading but thankfully seems to be slowing down slightly.
The latest outbreaks in Dartmoor seem to have been caused by wind blown virus as well, as the herd has been isolated all winter.
In case you’ve missed it, the disease (a particulary virulent “Pan-Asian topotype” strain) affects all cloven hoofed animals – cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, deer as well as rats and hedgehogs. Although the disease is rarely caught by humans, anyone passing through an infected area can carry and spread the disease. Once the disease has been detected the only way to halt the disease spreading is to immeadiately slaughter and burn any animal that may be infected.
To put it simply, you could be killing any hoofed animal you set eyes on.
Not a nice thought is it.
The whole countryside is effectively under an advised closure ban with use of rights of way across farmland now carrying a possible £5000 fine.
The Scottish Cyclist’s Union (SCU) has informed us that all Scottish Road, Time Trial and MTB events have been cancelled for the month of March. This follows on a similar announcement from the Welsh Cycling Union (WCU) earlier in the week. In England, event organisers are still following BCF advice to liaise with local MAFF (ministry of Agriculture) Animal Health Offices before deciding whether to run events or not.
New cancellations for Sunday 18th March.
Isle of Purbeck Junior RR at Wareham, Wessex
Crest Spring Road Race, Essex
Circuit of the Mendips RR, Western
Saturday 24th-Sunday 25th March
National Points Series Cross-Country MTB Round 1, Thetford, East Anglia
Sunday 25th March
John Cull Memorial RR, Halsall, Merseyside
Swinley (Bracknell) Forest is now closed.
The next Gorrick MBC race at Crowthorne woods is cancelled
The first round of the Ace Race Adventure series in Yorkshire has also been postponed – more details on new dates at Ace Race’s website.
However Romford-Harlow, the first race of the 2001 Premier Calendar series, looks like it may well be run, thanks to the sterling efforts of organiser Alan Sanders. Careful liaison with his local MAFF and a couple of tweaks to the course mean that the 160kmrace should go ahead, as long as the Foot and Mouth situation doesn’tdeteriorate in the area. Alan has taken the additional step of preparing posters which will be distributed around the course reminding competitors, officials and spectators of their responsibilities in keeping off farm property. The posters also spell out the fact that the race is going ahead with permission from both MAFF and the local police. Following on from the news that this Sunday’s Jock Wadley Road Race has similarly been given MAFF permission to go ahead, it looks like MAFF are giving organisers every opportunity to run races where practical.
Here’s the previous list of closures from the BCF if you needed cheering up any further.
Foot and Mouth 1: Road Race Cancellations Update
All Road Races in Wales during the month of March have been cancelled, including this weekend’s Mersey Roads Spring 2 Day and Legstretchers Memorial at Wick. In England, the Spring Chicken Road Races this Saturday (10th March) have been moved to Hillingdon and there are also changes to the race times, with the 3/4/J race now starting at 12-00 and the E/1/2 race at 15-00. In addition, the Spring Road Races at Great Gidding, Cambs, the Philip Russell Memorial Pursuit 2 at Newby, Cleveland and the Stags Head Road Race at South Molton, Devon, all scheduled for Sunday 11th March, have been cancelled. The following weekend, two races scheduled for Sunday 18th March have also been called off: the Isle of Purbeck Junior RR at Wareham and the Circuit of the Mendips. With news of cancellations coming in all the time, we recommend riders contact race organisers to confirm details before all races.
Foot and Mouth 2: Time Trial Cancellations
We’ve received the following from the RTTC’s Neil Wishart: Cycling Time Trials due to be held on roads in South Durham and North Yorkshire during March 2001, have been cancelled. Individual race organisers have taken this decision in consultation with the Teesside District Committee of the Road Time Trials Council. A total of five events are affected, four of which were Teesside Spoco events.
Foot and Mouth 3: NPS Round 1 Postponed
The first round of the BCF’s NPS Mountain Bike Series, to have been held on March 24-24th at Thetford, has been postponed indefinitely due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak. All riders who have entered the race will receive a letter outlining the situation. Decisions on the running of subsequent rounds of the series will be taken three weeks before each event, giving us plenty of time to write to all entrants, for the media to circulate information and for riders to cancel travel and accommodation arrangements.
It’s now best just to advise you to ring up organisers before you start getting all excited and race ready.
Whatever the official closures are in your area we strongly urge you to follow the advice given to the the BCF by the MAFF: All cyclists should avoid trips to the countryside in any form (on foot, on bike or by car) wherever possible, even if the intended journey is restricted to roads.
Basically the whole countryside should be considered off limits until the disease is “slaughtered out”. that way the whole crisis will be over a whole lot sooner.
If you are worried you might have ridden through an infected area and want to clean your bike then apparently normal household cleaners (even bleach) aren’t strong enough, so get yourself to a farm / veterinary supplier (although presumably not one in the country).
Thanks to those members who’ve already contacted us with updates, but if you’ve got any more information on local problems mail them to us and we’ll update the site as often as we can.
In the meantime we’ll be making sure that being “grounded” for the next couple of weeks is as much fun as possible, so keep watching this space.