Event organiser Alan MaCrae reflects on the first season of racing at Bournemouth track...
The calendar says 16 weeks but looking back the dominating question remains “How can so much have been achieved in such a short period of time?”
It had not started too well either. Over the winter damp track conditions had frustrated local cyclists, seriously limiting their ability to train on Bournemouth’s new Olympic Cycle track and, sure enough, the weather struck again when in April the 2 “test weeks” of track competition were rained off. Eventually no fewer than 5 of the planned 16 evenings of racing were to be lost through rain. That meant that when the League was officially launched on 1st May both competitors and the newly assembled team officials and helpers were desperately short of “match fitness” prior to launching into an ambitious programme of weekly racing aimed at giving riders 4 races each night.
Safety remained the organiser’s priority but initial concerns over rider skill levels were proven groundless. The organiser’s insistence that all competitors held Track Accreditation did the job as a season total of 138 races were held with no major accidents, a significant achievement when you consider most riders had not sampled competition on a 250 meter track before. The structure of events favoured as high a number of short (and fast) events as possible to give riders who finished further down the field as much race experience as possible.
Through the year, 55 riders took part in competition with rider numbers usually equally split between the Youth, B and A Groups. Normally around 20 riders would line up to contest the A/B Final Scratch Race of the night. Although below the track limit of 28 riders, this event proved beyond doubt that “short and fast” races, week on week, had improved the standard of competition. Events back in May were run off at averages speed of up to 26 miles per hour but by the end of the season, this was over 28 miles per hour, giving a handful of local riders the confidence and experience to enter the end of season National Open and Masters Championships in Manchester.
For the local track league, in its first year of operation, to provide this vital stepping stone to National Track Cycling Competition is a major achievement
The Bournemouth Arrow would like to pay tribute to our Sponsors Raymond Brown and the team of officials and helpers for their generous support without which the opportunity for local riders to make such fantastic progress would simply not have been possible.
For further information contact
Alan McRae via email@example.com