The PNP club has a clear policy around the grading of handicap races. The rules that form part of this policy are described below. The rules are intended to provide riders with a clear understanding of the handicapping and grading system that the club enforces. The purpose of this policy is to ensure fair play on the field to all riders when racing.
The policy is a guide and the club understands that some riders may be suited to a particular grade depending on the type of course and not all riders regardless of result may not be moved unless they request to do so. Having a bad day or not feeling well on the day is not an excuse or reason to move down a grade. Likewise feeling good on the day is not a reason to move up a grade as both incidences are unfair on other riders who are legitimately riding in that grade and could be disadvantaged by unfair movement of riders and points that may be competed for in a series. If a rider elects to move up, with the approval of the handicapper, then he/she remains in that grade unless approval by the club handicapper is given or otherwise asked to move down by the club.
The following rules will be applied to handicapping and grading in the Club:
• If a rider has 2 top 3 finishes in a grade in 4 PNP club races or a complete series they will be considered for promotion to the next higher grade.
• If a rider has 3 consecutive bottom results in a grade in 4 PNP club races or a complete series they will be considered for movement down a grade.
• Over and above 1 and 2 the Club Handicapper may reconsider regarding any rider who is believed to be unsuited to race in a grade or handicap group.
• Handicapping for Handicap races and series will be conducted based on a similar policy as above but based on 3 consecutive races.
Here is a visual aid to selecting the right handicap group – <Wgtn cycling grading and handicaping>
The current club handicap list can be found here: BP Handicaps Sorted By Name (23 August – version 6)
If you are not on the list, or are not in the correct group please email the club handicapper. and provide some details to assist the handicapper select the right group for you.
Tips for Handicap Races
In handicap races faster groups of riders are given a later starting time than slower ones (a handicap) so that in theory (if the handicap is right) everybody gets to the end of the race around the same time with a chance of winning. The winning time is the lowest result of actual time less the handicap.
The slowest group would be referred to as Limit, and goes first, followed at intervals by groups called Breaks and numbered 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and just Break, and lastly by the fastest group, called Scratch.
The best way to approach a handicap race is for everyone to work together to keep your group ahead of the one behind and catch the one ahead and place your bunch to the front of the race (on time) so one of you can try and win it.
In contrast, some people ride handicap races the same as graded scratch races, treating others in their group as threats, and sitting in the bunch conserving energy waiting for the sprint, or even attacking their own group. Others seem to treat handicap races as a group ride and are happy to get towed along, doing little, if any, work. Others may try for a while, then see latching on to a faster chasing bunch when it goes past as an attractive option.
In a handicap event there is a clear expectation that everyone should rotate and do a pull on the front. Even if you are a sprinter thinking of the win, then you should still try to do your fair share of the work.
It is acceptable though in handicap events to just roll through and drift to the back again. But don’t just sit the entire race and then jump everyone at the finish, leaving other riders wondering whether you’ve actually been in the same race. You’ll make no friends racing this way!
In a handicap event you should not attack your own bunch for most of the race as this disrupts the flow and slows things down. You should be working with them, not against them. As you get closer to the finish feel free to attack your group, or as a group you can attack any other bunch at any time.
Being part of a well-functioning group in a handicap race where everyone is sharing the workload, aiming to close the gap to the group ahead while working hard to stay ahead of chasers behind, can be an exciting and satisfying experience. In your next handicap race get your group working together properly and you have a really good chance of talking the win.