Longtime race promoter Brook Watts has parted ways with the 2022 UCI world cyclocross championships in Fayettevelle, Arkansas — the race he was set to organize and oversee.
Watts announced the news in a post on social media.
Additionally, Watts is no longer working with the 2021 UCI World Cup set to be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“For those who know me, my passion and commitment to the growth of cyclocross in the U.S. has always been front and center,” Watts said in a statement. “In departing from my position as race organizer, I feel I’ve left a mark by designing a unique World Championships worthy course as well as a cyclocross park that will serve aspiring future champions. I remain dedicated to use my position of influence in the cyclocross community to fight for equity in racing, and to ensure that the sport is accepting and welcoming to all.”
Watts’ departure comes weeks after the UCI world championships and other major bike races in Arkansas came under fire following that state’s passage of laws that limit the rights of transgender people. Watts released a statement in late March condemning Arkansas’ laws, and last week he told VeloNews that he would not have submitted the bid to host the event had he known of Arkansas’ future anti-trans laws.
Watts submitted the bid in 2018 and in 2019 Fayetteville was awarded the host duties by the UCI. Watts submitted the bid on the behalf of Experience Fayetteville, the city’s regional tourism bureau.
“The situation in Arkansas remains problematic and unfortunately, I don’t see any satisfactory resolution,” Watts said. “I have sincerely, but unsuccessfully, attempted to work out my concerns and differences with constituents. However, regrettably, we were not successful.”
Watts was the owner and organizer of the successful Cross Vegas event, which ran from 2007 until 2017 in conjunction with the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. After selling Cross Vegas, Watts became race director of the Trek Cup and Waterloo World Cup events in Wisconsin.