The text of the following race descriptions are largely borrowed from our friends at the Ed Rudolph Northbrook Velodrome in Suburban Chicago, IL.
The scratch race is the simplest of all the endurance events; a bunch race over a set distance and the first across the line wins. Despite its simplicity, the scratch race can be an enthralling contest, with breakaways, lap gains, and bunch sprints.
The unknown distance race is identical to the scratch race only run over an unknown distance, riders will hear the bell with one lap to go.
The points race is a bunch event over a set distance with points available at ‘intermediate sprints’ for the first four riders across the line (5/3/2/1), the last sprint of the race is worth double points. 20 points are also given for lapping the field and the rider with the most points at the end wins. The final placing of the racers is determined by their accumulated points. For riders with no accumulated points, placing will follow riders with points and is determined by finishing order on the final sprint. The points race is one of the most physically and mentally demanding of the track disciplines, with speed, stamina, technical skill and tactical awareness all required in large amounts.
The elimination race is a race where every lap, the last rider across the finish line is called ‘out’ and must retire from the race (as determined by rear wheel). This continues until there are two riders left who sprint for 1st place.
MISS AND OUT
The miss and out is a variation of the elimination, where riders are eliminated as in the elimination race (every lap, the last rider across the finish line is called ‘out’ and must retire from the race as determined by rear wheel) until there are three riders left, after a predetermined number of no-pull laps, the three remaining riders receive the bell and sprint for final placing.
The devil’s scratch is another variation of the elimination where half of the field is eliminated as in the elimination race (every lap, the last rider across the finish line is called ‘out’ and must retire from the race as determined by rear wheel). The surviving racers will then race a scratch race over a predetermined number of laps as indicated on the lap counter (usually 3-5).
The tempo is a race over a predetermined distance where the first two riders across the line on every lap are awarded a fixed value of points, two (2) points for first, one (1) point for second. The final placing of the racers is determined by their accumulated points. For racers with no accumulated points, placing will follow racers with points and is determined by finishing order.
POINT A LAP
The point a lap is a race over a predetermined distance where the first rider across the line on every lap is awarded one (1) point. The final placing of the racers is determined by their accumulated points. For racers with no accumulated points, placing will follow racers with points and is determined by finishing order.
The snowball is a mass start race similar to the tempo and point a lap but with a more complex points breakdown and multiple variations. The final placing of the riders is determined by their accumulated points. For riders with no accumulated points, placing will follow riders with points and is determined by finishing order.
One variation: The first rider across the finish line on the first lap receives one (1) point, first rider on the second lap receives two (2) points, second rider receives one (1) point. On each subsequent lap, points and placing are increased by one, on lap 5 and thereafter, 1st = 5 points, 2nd = 4 points, 3rd = 3 points, 4th = 2 points. 5th = 1 point.
Another variation: includes a point a lap structure with increasing points for the first rider only on subsequent laps.
BELGIAN WIN AND OUT
We’ll never do this race at Penrose. Thank you.
DANISH WIN AND OUT
The Danish win and out is a race that has a predetermined number of no-pull laps after which the bell is rung and the winner of the next lap is the 1st place winner and retires from the race. The bell is rung again and the winner of the next lap is the 2nd place winner. This continues for a predetermined number of places (frequently 5 places) or until all places have been won. If the format is for a predetermined number of places (example 5 places) then at the time of the final placing (5th place sprint), the remaining racers will be placed in sequential order.
The chariot is a one lap standing start race where riders line up at the start/finish line and are held by holders.The race begins with the starting gun or whistle and the first rider across the finish line is the winner.
The Keirin is a race where the racers draw numbers for placement on the track, with the racer drawing 1 placed next to the sprinter’s line with subsequent numbers placed in order up to the rail. Racers are held in place with holders and the race starts with the starting gun. At the start, riders shall take their positions determined by the draw, directly behind the pacer, for at least the first lap. The riders shall remain immediately behind the pacer until such time as the pacer leaves the track. Racers are ‘paced’ by a motorcycle for the first part of the race up to 32 mph. After the ‘pacer’ exits the track (with 2 laps to go at Penrose) the racers sprint the final distance to determine their placing. The Keirin is usually run in heats with the top finishers advancing to the final.
The Madison is named after Madison Square Garden in New York, one of the birthplaces of track racing. The Madison is a points race for teams of two riders who take turns racing over a set distance. One team member is competing at all times, while the other team mate is riding ‘in relief’ (or resting) above the blue stayer's line. The riders do 'changes' which are hand slings or some form of touching, riders must draw equal if no contact is made. Like the points race, there are points available for intermediate sprints (5, 3, 2, 1) and 20 points are awarded for lap gains. The Madison also awards double points for the final sprint. The final placing of the teams is determined by their accumulated points. For teams with no accumulated points, placing will follow teams with points and is determined by finishing order on the final sprint.
The international omnium is a mass start event that is composed of 4 races, the scratch race, tempo, elimination, and points race. Riders are awarded points based on placing in the first 3 events which are added together. The final event, the points race, is scored as a normal points race with points earned added to the racers previous 3 event total. The finishing order for the omnium is based on the accumulated points total, the racer with the most points wins the omnium.
FLYING 200M TT AND MATCH SPRINT
A match sprint is a head- to-head contest between two riders over 2 laps of the track. Competition begins with a 200 meter flying time trial which decides the seeding for the sprint tournament. Racing is highly tactical yet explosive, with slow ‘cat and mouse’ tactical battles followed by all-out drag races for the line.
The individual pursuit is a standing start timed event over 4000 m for men and 3000 m for women, riders are held and released with the starting gun. A racer’s finishing place is determined by their time compared to the other participating racers.
A pure standing start effort against the clock, the time trial is 500 meters for the women and a kilometer (or killermeter) for the men, riders are held and released with the starting gun. A racer’s finishing place is determined by their time compared to the other participating racers. Either way, it’s known as one of the most punishing of the track disciplines.
A standing start all-out effort, the team sprint involves three riders over three laps for the men and two riders over two laps for the women. At the end of each lap the front rider leaves the track until only one remains. Races are short and thrilling, with titles decided by thousandths of a second.
Similar to the individual pursuit but for teams of four riders. Both men and women compete over 4000 meters in this technically exacting discipline, which sees teams ride in formation often just a few centimeters apart.