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From Surrey League

New Race Format For Novices - Radical Experiment to Encourage Riders

Races to be held Hillingdon & Goodwood during 2003

From an idea last November, the Surrey League has agreed to promote some shorter races in the summer of 2003 that would appeal/attract riders who are still picking up speed and learning the skills of riding in a bunch.

The reason behind this is that we’ve had quite of lot of riders who came to one or other of the training days in the winter but who then evaporated. A few did only a single race before switched across/back to time trialling or some other form of competition… while others did no races at all.

The message from this was that we need something that is less daunting and more palatable.

So this is the proposal. The details have continued to take shape and now look like this:

Concept: Starter Pack races

Number of events: six     Venue: five – Goodwood one - Hillingdon

Time: 9.30am                    When: Sunday mornings

Distance: two laps of the Goodwood circuit (five miles) or five laps at Hillingdon (five miles)

Dates 30 March 20 April (Goodwood event now switched to Hillingdon) 18 May 17 August 24 August 12 October


Would they have a name? Yes. Starter Pack.

How would you restrict them to slower riders? Restrict them according to the grade of your licence…so 3rd and 4th Category women riders only.

Would there be points for the whole series? Yes.

And a trophy at the end? Yes

How would this fit in with the 1-hour race scheduled for the same time (9.30am) which is for women of all categories and 4th Cat men? You’d be in that as well, thanks to a crafty overlap of the two races

Please explain. Everyone would line up together on the line and the main group’s race would start first and those in the Starter Pack would follow in their tracks about 40-50 seconds later. As the riders off first should be riding slightly faster, the gap between the two races should widen slightly throughout the two laps. We don’t want you catching them! So you’d have your full-blooded ding-dong…. with attacks and tactics and slipstreaming and then a sprint for the line. By this time the full race would probably be something like half a lap behind - or ahead depending on how you view these things. Anyway the plan is that there would be time for you to recover before they catch up. You could then ride with them.

OK, you’ve had your race, really, so the rest is basically providing you with training and improvement.

How you perform during the rest of the period would depend on your ability and I envisage riders moving through these various phases as they progress:

Totally knackered. You just let the following race come by and never even try to pick up speed as your legs are completely gone.

Intermittent laps in and out of the bunch. You are now able to do a couple of laps with the following race before dropping out for a breather. Once lapped, you find you can join in again. It’s rather like interval training. Progress would be moving from a situation of getting dropped twice, for example, to getting dropped once…. or lasting five laps when you’d only managed four in the past.

Hanging on to the bunch throughout the whole their race. You just tuck in and enjoy the slipstreaming effect, getting used to high-intensity effort while letting someone else do all the work at the front.

And finally the upgrade Yes you are now so competent that you set off in the big race rather than with the Starter Pack.

How would we win points?

Points when 10 or fewer riders:

winner 10 points 2nd 9 3rd 8 4th 7 5th 6 6th 5 7th 4 8th 3 9th 2 10th 1

Points when more than 10 riders:

Similar format, but the winner’s tally would be enhanced to match the number of riders starting

eg 14 riders start winner gets 14 points 17 riders start winner gets 17 points

When might an individual be deemed to be too strong and be promoted out of the Starter Pack races?

Automatically when they go up out of 3rd Cat…. but also at Keith Butler’s discretion. Keith has lots of experience in evaluating both junior and senior riders and noting their progress. The aim is to keep these events competitive for all, so having a dominant individual would be at cross-purposes with that aim.

Three standards

There is a cup on offer, but if you’re more ambitious/capable you might well find yourself rising to a higher challenge – such as performing well in the following longer race – even by the middle of the season.

And since only one rider can win the cup, it could make more sense to chase personal challenges. Three levels of ability will be monitored and highlighted in results listings:

gold riders winning over 40 points (ie an average of 7 points per event – which means staying, on average, within the top 4 finishers)

silver riders winning over 30 points (ie an average of 5 points per event – which means staying within the top 6 finishers)

bronze riders winning over 20 points (ie an average of 3 points per event – which means staying with in the top 8 finishers)

This is the first season so is it set in stone or might it be slightly experimental?

The latter. If the same riders turned up event after event, then there would be a case for making races three laps, or perhaps four. But as the aim is for newcomers to find racing as palatable as possible, a regular stream of new faces could result us sticking to the two-lap formula throughout. To keep everyone on their toes, a handicap configuration might be contemplated. It’s all about keeping everyone challenged without being overwhelmed.


Enjoy your racing.

For further information contact : Surrey League's  john.leitch@rbi.co.uk

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