What is Track?

Track racing is an especially exciting, spectator-friendly form of cycling competition in which riders race on a steeply banked oval track, or velodrome. The bicycles used for Track racing are very different from regular Road bikes in that they have single-speed “fixed gears”, no shifting and no brakes. Fixed gears allow a rider to come to a complete stop on the track and balance indefinitely, which can be a useful tactic in certain events such as the Match Sprint.

Currently there are two indoor velodromes in the province. Forest City Velodrome located in London and the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, a host venue for the 2015 Pan American Games. Ontario has managed to produce many medal winners at World Championships and Olympics over the past 30 years in the track events!

Bunch Races:

Scratch Race

Competitors begin together lined up on the home straight. After a neutral lap, the Commissaire begins the race. The competitor that completes the prescribed distance the fastest wins.

Tempo Race

As with all bunch races, riders line up on the home straight to begin and after a neutral lap, the Commissaire starts the race. After 5 laps, a single point is awarded to the leader of each lap. Final results are first tabulated based on the points that have been awarded and ties are broken based on the final finish order across the line. A modification of this race is called point-a-lap and is very similar however doesn’t include the initial 5 laps where no points are awarded.

Elimination Race

Similar to all of the other bunch races above, riders begin on the home straight. After one neutral lap the race begins with an elimination of the rearmost rider every other lap. This race could be perceived as one of the most exciting of the bunch races as this race is not only based on power, but also tactics and strategy.

Points Race

Similar to a scratch race but with additional intermediate sprints where points are awarded for 1st through 4th place with 5, 3, 2 and 1 point(s) respectively. The final sprint is for double the amount of points therefore resulting in 10, 6, 4 and 2 points for 1st through 4th place. Points are given to athletes who lap the field (+20 points) thus encouraging a very active race. If you get lapped by the pack in this race, you can also lose points (-20). Final results are first tabulated based on the points that have been awarded and ties are broken based on the final finish order across the line.

Omnium

The Omnium is a combination of all 4 above mentioned bunch races run in the order of Scratch, Tempo, Elimination and Points race. Points are tabulated at the end of each race from 40 for first place, reducing by two points for every remaining place. Competitors carry these accumulated points into the final race and begin the points race with their current total accumulated points. The points race then becomes quite exciting and strategic as competitors battle it out to obtain the most points by the end of the race.

Sprint Races:

Match Sprint

An initial qualifying time is taken during an event called the Flying 200m where over the period of 3.5 laps riders build up speed by utilizing the steep banking of the track. The official qualifying time is taken during the final 200m of the event with any ties being broken through the final 100m time. Riders then enter a sprint tournament where racers are paired off with the strongest facing the weakest competition racing a 3 lap, held-start race. The number of rounds is dependent on the total number of competitors entered into the event. The winner of each round is determined by the rider who finishes first. They will then move on to compete with the winner of another bracket until the finals. Some rounds are best 2 of 3 and this competition can last an entire day from qualification to final depending on number of competitors.

Keirin

Riders line up side by side along the home straight pursuit line while being held by their coaches or assistants in the order they selected during a random draw. A rider drawing number 1 would be closest to the infield, while a rider drawing 6 or 7 would be the highest up on the track. A motorized derny then begins from the opposite side of the track and brings it’s speed up to 30km/h. The starter will signal the beginning of the race by firing the starters pistol and riders must fall into order behind the derny. The following three laps, the derny then accelerates gradually from 30 to 50km/h where it will exit the track and racers will compete for the following 3 laps without the motorized assistance. First across the line wins, or if there are multiple heats of competitors, the prescribed number of riders will move on to other rounds to battle their way into the finals.

Timed Events:

Time Trial

This race is run as a solo race against the clock where two competitors start on opposite sides of the track. The racers are held in place before the start by an electronic gate. Time begins once the count down clock reaches zero and the riders are released. Competitor distances range from 500m (2 laps) to a kilo (4 laps) depending on gender, age and ability level. The rider to complete the distance in the shortest period of time wins the race.

Individual Pursuit

Similar to the time trial, the IP is run with either one or two riders on the track at the same time. Riders will start on opposite sides of the track and typically have an electronic gate keeping them in place until the race has begun. Time begins once the count down clock reaches zero and the riders are released. Competitors distances range from 2000m (8 laps) to a 4000m (16 laps) depending on gender, age and ability level. The rider to complete the distance in the shortest period of time wins the race.

Team Sprint

These events are run in teams of 2 (female) or 3 (male) and can be run with either one or two teams on the track at the same time. Riders will start on the home and back straight pursuit lines and typically have an electronic gate keeping the first rider in place until the race has begun. The other team members are held by neutral holders also along the pursuit line however higher up the track. Time begins once the count down clock reaches zero and the riders are released. Race distances range from 500m (2 laps) for female teams and 750m (3 laps) for male teams. Each rider will lead their group for 1 lap, pulling out of the line, and out of the way of their team mates once they have completed their lap. The final finish time is taken when the last rider crosses their pursuit line.

Team Pursuit

These events are run in teams of 4 and can be run with either one or two teams on the track at the same time. Riders will start on the home and back straight pursuit lines and typically have an electronic gate keeping the first rider in place until the race has begun. The other team members are held by neutral holders also along the pursuit line however higher up the track. Time begins once the count down clock reaches zero and the riders are released. Race distances range from 2000m (8 laps) to 4000m (16 laps) depending on age and gender. Riders will take turns pulling their team around the track and once they are done their turn swing up the track “exchanging” and re-joining the back of their group. It is important to note that team’s final finishing time is taken when the third rider of the team crosses their pursuit line upon completion of their distance, so all teams must finish with a minimum of 3 members.

Selecting a Track Category and Licence

All competitors above the age of 18 will need to purchase a UCI Track Racing License. This can be done individually if you only wish to compete in track events, or be bought as an “add on” to your pre-existing UCI license. Competitors under the age of 18 will be allowed to race with a Citizen’s permit at most local races however a UCI license is necessary for National and International level competition.

Track competition at the Youth Development, Ontario Cup and local race series are based on ability level. Provincials and Nationals categorize riders based on both age and gender. Please consult your local race tech guide for your recommended category selection. It is to be noted that during ability-based competition, the race organizers reserve the right to move competitors within categories based on their experience levels and previous competition results.

Junior/Youth Gear Restrictions

Youth racers competing at the Youth Track Development Series will be expected to follow the roll-out distances as prescribed within the associated tech guides. Junior and upgraded U17 athletes racing at the Ontario Cups within combined ability-based categories will not be subject to roll-out. Gear restrictions are still required at events such as Provincials and Nationals for U17 athletes competing within their age group and they are being asked to consult the applicable tech guides for more information.