September 2011 |
With an annual calendar of well over 500 events, Track racing is thriving. From the cut and thrust of the weekly summer evening Track Leagues, right through to the World Championship and World Cup events which now visit our shores on an annual basis, British Cycling offers a carefully structured event calendar providing racing opportunities for riders of all standards.
Where to watch
With the track season due to kick off with the National Track Championships in Manchester between 28 September and 2 October, there's no better time to watch all the stars in action. British Cycling Members get discount on all major track events including a 2-4-1 offer at this year's Nationals! Watch Hoy, Pendleton, Kenny and co from the best seat in the house. All the info on the forthcoming track events is available on our benefits page.
Great Britain Cycling Team
No overview of Track racing and British Cycling's work on developing the sport could begin without an appreciation of the effects of Lottery funding the GB Team, which is run by the organisation.
Lottery funding, which has revolutionised Olympic sports, has nowhere been more effective than in Track Racing. From its inception in the late nineties, it took less than ten years for the programme put in place by British Cycling, on the back of the funding, to turn Great Britain into the leading Track nation in the world.
British Cycling's oft-quoted mantra of "Inspiration to Participation" neatly sums up the unique relationship between the success of the GB team and its effect on grass-roots racing. Most major sport development is structured in a "bottom-up" manner, with grass-roots participation eventually driving an improvement in elite performances.
However, Track racing in the UK has seen the flip side of this in recent years, with a golden generation of riders inspiring a "top-down" process which has attracted new participants and spectators in unprecedented numbers.
Track Cycling Facilities
With a growing pool of Olympic standard 250 meter indoor tracks - Manchester, Newport and London complete, Glasgow nearing completion and Derby at a detailed planning stage - the sport has a good base of all-weather, year-round facilities capable of hosting major events, as well as day-to-day training and racing.
However, of equal importance is the country's network of outdoor tracks, which host numerous track meetings and weekly track leagues during the summer months and provide a feeder system for the higher echelons of the sport and the GB Cycling Team.
British Cycling has been able to bring funding to these tracks to allow for re-surfacing or refurbishment at almost all of them. Most recently, British Cycling has not only re-surfaced the 1948 Olympics' velodrome at Herne Hill in London, but also secured a new lease on the site which has secured its long-term future.
Other tracks that have been re-surfaced in recent years include Halesowen, Newcastle, Scunthorpe and Maindy (Cardiff). There has also been a new outdoor track for Bournemouth, opened earlier this year, with another at Knowsley on Merseyside due for completion in December.
Development opportunities for are being sought for further new tracks to be built in the North East, Yorkshire, Eastern, South East and South West regions.
Although the Track Leagues represent a well-established entry point into Track racing, British Cycling also ensures that Track Racing is embedded in its club development, youth development and coach education programmes. A network of Regional Events Officers (REO), Regional Development Managers (RDM) and Regional Development Officers is tasked with growing the sport.
New and existing event organisers are given support and training; Grass Track racing leagues are being established for young riders where velodromes don't exist; and Go-Ride clubs, which focus on youth riders, have been attached to almost all the existing Track facilities.
Track racing also features heavily in British Cycling's Go-Ride Racing programme, aimed at young riders new to racing, whilst the lower echelons of the GB Cycling Team - including the Olympic Talent and Olympic Development Programmes - also heavily feature Track racing.
Track racing is now recognised as a highly technical discipline and British Cycling's Coach Education programme has a comprehensive range of Track Coaching courses, right up to level three: all featuring expertise and technical input from The GB Cycling Team's renowned Track coaches.
The rise of Track racing in this country hasn't just resulted in raised standards and increased participation: there has also been a remarkable rise in the popularity of the sport amongst spectators. British Cycling's Major Events team has been putting on sell-out World Cup and World Championships events for several years, whilst the growth in spectator numbers has also filtered down to the National Championships, which now feature numerous World and Olympic Champions competing in front of packed houses.
British Cycling has overseen a revolution in Track racing which has seen the sport move from the peripheries of our sport consciousness, to become a source of national pride, with a number of household names acting as figureheads and role models. The discipline's future looks extremely secure.
Volunteers & Organisers
British Cycling would like to thank the organisers, race officials, club officials, many of whom are unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs and make Track racing possible in this country.