Track Events

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Track Events offer variety and speed for both endurance riders and sprinters. there is bunched racing in various formats and time trial type events as well as specialist sprint events

Scratch Race
The simplest race on the track and the same principle as a road race. It's a bunched event and first across the finish line at the end of the race is the winner. The action is non stop with riders trying to break away from the main field and their adversaries organising the chase behind. There's no room for hesitation in this high speed cat and mouse race. The last race of the evening at Reading Track League is always the 20k Scratch race.

Individual Pursuit
Pursuits are held over different distances for age groups and women. Men ride 4km, Women and Junior boys ride 3km, U16 Youths and female Masters ride 2km, male masters ride 3km and younger youths ride 1.5km

The first round is held as a time trial with the fastest 4 riders going straight through to finals to ride-off for the 3rd or 4th place followed by the final for 1st and 2nd .

At Championship events there are also ride offs for 5th – 8th places.

Britain has a long history in this event from Norman Sheil, Hugh Porter, Tony Doyle, Colin Sturgess, Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman to Bradley Wiggins all holding the men’s World Champion title since 1955. For many years Beryl Burton was the supreme woman pursuiter in the world but now we also have Wendy Houvenagel and Rebecca Romero, the current Olympic Champion.

Team Pursuit
This event for men is contested by teams of four riders, each pursuing the other over 4,000 metres. The skilful riders will be following each other only millimetres apart to ensure they maximise the slipstream shelter for the riders following the leader before making their own effort.

The women's event is for three riders over 3,000 metres

Points Race
The points race is contested over distances up to 25km for women and 40km for men superbly demonstrating the spectacle and tactics of track racing.

With sprints at regular intervals, the pace of the race varies as each sprint approaches. The complete points race rider must have the flexibility to adapt to the increases in speed and changes of tactic as the race develops. With 5, 3, 2 and 1 point awarded to the first four riders in each sprint, the last two laps before each sprint are highly animated as each rider tries to find the best position to make his effort.

Despite the points amassed in the sprints, a rider can win 20 points if he manages to lap the field. Riders will attack individually or in small groups to try to gain the decisive lap. The final result is decided by total points gained.

This race is contested by teams of two riders showing bike handling skills at their best. One rider has to be in the race at all times. The other team member takes a short rest circling at the top of the track before he rejoins the race with his team mate throwing him into the race with a hand sling. As with the points race there are sprints, in this case every 20 laps and the teams will also be trying to gain a lap on their opponents in this high speed race.

The skills of the riders are vitally important as the bunch reach speeds well over 50 kph with riders throwing their partners into the fray at key times of the race aiming to win the sprint points or to gain a lap on their competitors.

An Omnium consists of a variety of events including TT’s sprints & bunched racing. The winner is the rider with least points where points are allocated by placing in each event, so if a rider is 1st in everything they will get 1 point for each event and thus have fewest points.

In this country there is a Youth Omnium series in the summer where youth riders from U12 to U16 compete in a regional series at various tracks then go to a final usually at Manchester.

There is also a National series of Womens Omniums consisting of a 500m TT, a Scratch Race, a Pursuit, Sprinting and a Points race. These are excellent vehicles for women to learn the skills and compete against other women in a safe environment.

The men's Omnium is a new Olympic event and is the pentathlon of track cycling. Each competitor must ride in five events - 200m flying time trial, 5km scratch race, 3km individual pursuit, 15km points race and 1km time trial. If there is a tie on points then the judges look back at the timed events to determine who wins. You've got to be good at sprinting, time-trialing and bunched racing in this tough race series.

The flying 200m TT is used as a seeding event for this classic track event with lots of maneouvring and tactics as the two or three riders in each race seek to out fox their opponents over the three lap race. The leader may slow the race to walking pace on the first lap so that the riders behind do not have an advantage. Sometimes the riders will both stand still on the track as the leader tries to force his rival to take the front so he can gain a tactical advantage.

After the slow preliminaries the pace picks up, the rider following has the benefit off surprise if he/she can time his/her acceleration from 35km/hour to 70km/hour to gain a few lengths on the opponent. The times for the sprint are given over the last 200 metres which the best sprinters will cover in just over 10 seconds.

From the quarter final stage all matches are on a best of three heats basis.

The Keirin is based on the famous Keirin cycle racing which is the biggest betting sport in Japan. Contested over eight laps on the indoor tracks, the field of six to eight riders follows the Derny motor bike at an increasing pace until there are two and a half laps to go. The riders jostle for position behind the Derny to gain the position that they want in the string.

On Reading Keirin’s are simple 2 lap affairs with the bike pulling off at approximately 300m to go

As the Derny pulls off the track, the battle begins to win the sprint. The stronger riders will launch their effort early whilst others will follow until the last moment hoping that they are following the right wheel to propel themselves to the line and victory at the last possible moment. The riders will be flat out at speeds around 70 kph.

Kilometre & 500m Time Trials
These can be easily be described as time trials for sprinters. Contested over a kilometre for men and 500 metres for women, the riders start from a special gate and take to the track one at a time to cover the distance as swiftly as possible.

After an all out effort to get the speed high and get the momentum going, the skilful riders will measure their effort so that they do not ‘die’ in the last lap of the lung bursting effort.

Team Sprint
The most hectic discipline where teams of three riders start on each side of the track. As each leading rider completes one lap of the track he drops out leaving the next rider to complete a further lap before the last rider takes over to complete the three lap race. The first round is staged on a time trial basis to find the fastest four teams to contest the final.

The women’s team sprint event is the same as the men’s race except that teams of two riders complete two laps of the 250m track.

At Reading we generally do half lap turns.