Track Racing Fact Sheet

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Track Racing is one of the oldest forms of cycle racing in this country. It is different to road racing and time trialling in that the bikes are very simple with a single fixed gear (no freewheel) and no brakes! So on the face of it, once moving, you can’t stop at all!

But of course you can, the brake is the same fixed gear with gentle back pressure applied plus intelligent use of the banking to slow down. Because of the lack of brakes and enforced continuous pedaling, the racing is actually much smoother and safer than standard road racing on geared bikes with brakes.

Racing takes place on banked tracks. Indoors these will be wood surfaced and usually 250m although there are indoor tracks as small as 145m and as large as 333m. Outdoors most tracks are 450-485m, with a tarmac surface and often with a running track and athletics infield. Reading is such a track. An oddity is Meadowbank in Scotland which is an outdoor 250m wooden track!

Our nearest indoor wooden tracks are Calshot near Southampton and Newport in South Wales. London will be nearer when it is finished. Apart from that, easy to get to outdoor tracks are Herne Hill in SE London, Welwyn Gosling Stadium and Halesowen just the other side of Birmingham. To the South there are outdoor tracks at Brighton and Portsmouth and there are many other tracks around the country at Wolverhampton, Scunthorpe, & Newcastle under Lyme (which features high steep bankings). These are all used frequently throughout the year.

Local Racing
Here in Berkshire our nearest track is Reading’s Palmer Park Velodrome. A 460m shallow outdoor tarmac track which is an easy beginners Track

In the summer, April to September, there is racing for local riders of all ages from youth to veteran in the Monday Track League. Riders join the track league individually at a cost of £12 per year. The programme varies from week to week with a mix of bunched Scratch and Points races, Devils, specialist Sprinting, Keirin & Derny paced racing. The League also runs a Pursuit championship on just one evening although there is usually another opportunity to pursuit at the Central Regional Championships.

During the year there are also several major Open events and 2011 will see a round of the Sprinters League in July, the Bordeaux-Paris Endurance event in May and a round of the National Womens Omnium series paired with a Dernyfest in August

Track League entry fees for 2011 will be £10 for seniors and £3 for Youths plus the membership fee for the year although you can ride up to 3 events as a guest.

There is also track training held throughout the summer on Thursday evenings where beginners can learn the craft. The cost is around £4 for adults and bikes can be hired for £5

More information can be found at http://www.readingvelodromeracing.co.uk/default.aspx

Championships
There are National Track Championships held separately every year for Youths & Juniors, Seniors, Masters (over 30) and Veterans by the LVRC for over riders over 40 years of age, these are usually on Newport or Manchester tracks

There are also the European Masters Championships and the World Masters Championships which are all easily accessible.