Big changes for Wednesday racing!

The Committee of the Sussex Cycle Racing League are always looking for ways to improve cycling and racing at the park. Over the last few years, we’ve introduced circuit racing to further foster local, grass-roots racing and to help maintain the sustainability of the track.

Our Wednesday track league is our premier race promotion and representative of the great heritage of track racing at Preston Park, the UKs longest standing racing track. To keep the racing fresh and to improve both the quality of, and access to, racing at Preston Park the SCRL committee have agreed to update the racing format for the 2019 season.

What’s changed?

The number of Senior categories has been increased

The number of Senior categories have been increased, seeking to improve the racing across the league, but also looking to develop riders coming through the ranks and to enable more exciting racing for new comers to the sport, especially for women riders. The major change is that there are more opportunities for all riders according to their ability. We would like to readers to note that we welcome equally male and female riders to our league.

The number of youth categories has been reduced

The number of youth categories has been reduced from 5 to 2, A, B, C, D, E is replaced by Youth Major and Youth Minor.

There are more racing groups to choose from for Youth A and Youth B riders

Youth A can choose to race in any of the 3 senior groups, Youth B can choose between Youth Major or Senior B’s and C’s.

All racing will be on track bikes

All track racing will be fixed wheel bikes across all age categories. This is because the league are now mixing all youth categories. This aligns to British Cycling (BC) rules as outlined in the BC handbook.

What are the new categories?

Senior A

As it’s always been, this is for the most able senior riders in the SCRL ranks, competing to be the Sussex Champion for the year but now is also open to any Youth A riders who are capable of this level of racing.

Senior B

For those riders who want a good level of racing, but feel that the Senior A is currently a step too high. These riders may be new to racing track, stepping down from the level of commitment implied by racing in the A group or, wishing to further develop their skills or fitness prior to taking on the faster riders of the A league.  This league is electively open to Youth B and Youth A riders.

Senior C

A new league for the season, aimed at offering greater competitive opportunities for riders who may previously have been reticent at having to race against both Senior Bs and Senior As in combined races. These riders may be either new or returning to the sport and wish to build fitness against riders of an equivalent level. We intend that this will give a greater number of women a more appealing opportunity to race track. This category will on occasion be combined into a B/C race, depending on numbers on the night.

Youth Major

U14 and 2nd Year U12 riders. This combines the age categories with a single champion crowned at the end of the year. By splitting second year U12’s, it will help to push the young riders in more competitive racing.

Youth Minor

First year U12/U10. For our youngest riders, this league offers a testing competition on fixed wheel bikes for first year under 12’s and younger riders.

All these categories are elective, though the Committee has oversight on eligibility to race in a given group and reserves the right to direct riders to the group they consider most suitable for the league. If you do not feel our guidelines meet your racing and enjoyment needs then you should contact the Committee to discuss what might be done.

When numbers are low, and when our track limit allows, Senior B and C races will be combined. The number of races per evening will be comparable to previous years, and the calendar will soon be updated with the new schedules.

Will I need a new bike?

To repeat the above, the league will require the use of fixed wheel bikes across all age categories.

Parents of those who are racing in the U8 and U10 age brackets will need to look to hire or buy a new fixed wheel (track) bike. They will no longer be allowed to race freewheel (‘road’) bikes.

SCRL has put money forward to refresh the SCRL, PPYCC and VCJ bikes, giving new, smaller, handle bars and stems.

If parents feel that they cannot accommodate another bike which is specialist, then please speak to your club who may be able to help [check you are a paid up member first].

Why the changes?

1. It stretches both our top youth and our top senior riders.
2. It gives more riders the chance to ride in their own ability groups by offering more Senior B races, and Senior C races.
3. Racing should be more competitive and more exciting for all levels.
4. It will allow greater progression from C, to B, to A seniors.
5. It reduces the length of the programme.
6. It allows youths a better level of competition helping our riders to progress on the regional and national scene.
7. It looks to encourage more women to race.

A New Championship Night

This year we are also introducing a new format to our annual Championships, being the much loved (or feared) Elimination (“Devil”) Race. There is also going to be a Pursuits Championship night, run on a single evening to avoid the elongated qualification rounds.

For both the Sprint and Pursuit Championship evenings, riders will need to opt in to racing the Championship event to become the League Champion, or chose to ride a “non-championship” event in its place. Points for each of the Championships events will also be changing, with 18 points available to the winner. Points will drop in two’s down to 9th place receiving 2 points (i.e. 18, 16, 14, etc.).

The non-championship events will offer normal league points, with up to 12 points across the two races available (i.e. winning gets 6 points per race). This way if you are not a sprinter, you’ll have a reason to come down for the night, to maximise your points!

What do I need to do?

In most cases, absolutely nothing. If you did not race last year don’t forget to register and if you have not raced fixed wheel (track) at Preston Park before under SCRL, please be aware of the accreditation requirements.

As noted above, U8/U10 age bracket riders will need to have, or arrange to use, a fixed wheel track bike.

The season is almost upon us and we are very excited to get what we feel will be a revitalised, exciting and inclusive league underway.

Got questions? Either use our new “SCRL Racers” facebook group, which can be found by clicking https://www.facebook.com/groups/racersforum/ or if you would prefer the query not to be public you can contact the committee by clicking http://scrl.co.uk/contact-us/