Judkins replies to gripes, nods to good ideas

GREG FORD
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013
Robin Judkins
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ
ROBIN JUDKINS: The Speight’s Coast to Coast has been sold.

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Robin Judkins has some bad news for those unhappy about the cost of entering the Coast to Coast.

The race owner said yesterday in the wake of multiple champion Richard Ussher's criticisms: "There won't be a reduction in race fees. The cost to run the event is astronomical. 

"If anything, entry fees will go up, and they should and always do."

As for Ussher's other major gripes about prizemoney, Judkins said: "More prizemoney? Yes, that would be fantastic, but we're in the middle of a recession. That is really basic."

Coast to Coast competitor numbers have dropped significantly in recent years compared with a decade ago, when the race sold out.

Ussher took the unusual step of listing 10 things he believes could return the race to its former glory.

He even suggested Judkins consider hiring new blood in his executive team, to which the colourful race owner yesterday said: "'I have calmed down. I spent the first 24 hours in angst before I had read [yesterday's story].

''Then I was angry for six hours and now I have come right after reading it four more times, and I have to say there are a couple of bloody beauty ideas in there.

"Some of them get my goat, but that does mean they are getting through, I guess."

Judkins' reaction on Monday was vastly different. He vowed to have it out with Ussher before raceday.

But yesterday he confirmed that he had not "bothered to make contact with him and I won't before the race''.

"That has been a total blessing. I needed the time to cool down,'' he said.

"It's a funny race. Everyone takes it so personally, including me, because I love it.

''So if anyone has a crack at me I am as happy as a sandboy to stand up and take a slog back at them."

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- The Press

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