Manhattan Beach Grand Prix Canceled For the First Time in 59 Years
May 08, 2020 02:14PM
By Jeanne Fratello
Manhattan Beach's historic bike race, the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, has been canceled for the first time in 59 years.
The MBGP, started in 1962, holds the distinction of being the longest running bike race in the United States held on the same course. It is also the second-oldest one-day bike race in the country.
"We agonized over the decision to postpone the 59th Chevron Manhattan Grand Prix to 2021," MBGP race director Greg Aden told DigMB. "After discussions with USA Cycling and our main sponsor Chevron, we decided that to put on the event in July 2020 would be too soon even if Governor Newsom was by chance to lift the ban on spectator events by the end of May."
Aden continued: "Without a clear outlook to having spectator events in California, and [given that] any social distancing requirements would preclude having spectators, etc., it was decided to postpone the event to 2021."
Aden noted that the race is a community event that includes a kids' race and activity area, both of which would not likely be allowed under any restrictions on gatherings.
Additionally, he said, many of the other supporting sponsors and vendors are local small businesses that are currently closed and unable to commit to the event.
He said that there are no plans to hold a virtual event at this time.
The Manhattan Beach Grand Prix is an annual bike race and festival held in downtown Manhattan Beach. The main race course runs in a circle around Valley Drive and Ardmore Ave. near Live Oak Park.
It is sponsored each year by Chevron, the city of Manhattan Beach, the South Bay Wheelmen cycling club, and the South Bay Wheelmen Foundation, which fosters national and international competition in amateur cycling, along with many local businesses.
The race, which features four-figure prize purses, draws hundreds of cyclists and thousands of spectators to town each July. It had been scheduled to take place on July 19.
Aden noted that riders and supporters have been understanding of the decision to cancel the event.
"In looking at the comments on our Facebook page the response has been overwhelmingly favorable and understanding from the riders and community," he said.