Holy Crit organisers made a comeback with legalised races

CHARLES LEE | 9th Oct 2016 | NEWS

The duo who made headlines about two years ago for organising a series of Holy Crit street races without the approval from the authorities have returned to the limelight.  The difference is that their races will be organised with the authorities’ full backing this time round.

Bicycle businessman Eric Khoo Shui Yan, 29, and freelance project manager Zulkifli Awab, 40, revealed to The Straits Times that they have managed to secure a race site in Stadium Drive with the close assistance of the Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF).

The Straits Times also understood that the Stadium Drive race site was secured without incurring any cost.   SCF’s Honorary Secretary Hing Siow Chen explained: “They did not have enough funding and were driven to the edge. We want to help them as much as possible so they can run the race legally.”  Aiming to reach out to some 500 fixed-gear riders in Singapore, the SCF will be extending its support in the form of offering technical advice on safety and circuit planning.

The date of the race has yet to be confirmed though.

In December 2014, Khoo and Zulkifli were investigated by the police after reports were lodged against them for organising Holy Crit races without any permit.  Started in September 2013, the races, which involved the use of fixed-gear bicycles that are not installed with brakes, were held about once every month in different locations.  Stadium Drive and the Changi Business Park were used as race venues.

Last Tuesday (4 October), both Khoo and Zulkifli were each sentenced to imprisonment for seven days and fined $5,000 for organising and promoting the races without the relevant approvals and permits.  They are currently serving their jail terms.

In sentencing Khoo and Zulkifli, District Judge Carol Ling ruled that there was a certain level of disregard for the law displayed in holding the race, and the safety of the general public was compromised.

Khoo disclosed that the races he had co-organised were not intended to make profits for himself.  Rather, the events aimed to bring young people together through sports.  He said: “We didn’t want them to go astray or hang out with bad company in their free time, so we tried to get them to cycle with us as a hobby.”

The rules of the races were simple.  Each participant had to pay $10 to take part in the race.  The rider who wins the race would be entitled to all the money.

Whilst both candidly professed that they erred in going ahead with the races with any permit, Zulkifli maintained that participants were thoroughly briefed on safety before the flag off.  He added that there were at least four first-aid helper and nearly 20 road marshals at the side in every race.

For a proper legitimate race to be staged, Khoo projected that they require at least $25,000 for things such as marshalling personnel and insurance for the participants and spectators.  Both are working to rope in sponsors to defray the costs of organising the races.  If there is no sponsor, participants would have to fork out at least $50 to take part in a race.

Zulkifli said: “Moving on is important for us and we want Holy Crit to be an event that people will not forget.”