top of page

Types of track races

Match Sprint

This is a two lap race in which two to four riders battle it out to be first across the line. Only the last 200m metres are timed. Tactics is the key to this event as riders play a game of cat and mouse to try to manoeuvre themselves into a favourable position from which to launch an explosive sprint.

Riders obtain a seeding through a qualifying 200m flying time trial round. Each rider is given 2.5 (3.5) laps to get up to speed and record a time in the last 200m. Riders then progress through a series of rounds and repercharges until only two are left to race for glory. Initial rounds and repercharges may see two, three or four riders racing against each other but once down to quarter finals, sprints are between two riders and are best of three heats.


Another one for the speedsters. The keirin is a motor paced event where up to seven riders compete over six laps. A motorbike, known as a derny, leads the field for the first four laps starting at 30km/h and gradually bringing the riders up to a speed of 50km/h (25km/h – 45km/h for women) before leaving the track. Riders manoeuvre for position behind the derny until it exits then the battle of strength, speed and courage begins.

Start procedure is five to seven riders line up side by side along the pursuit line leaving the sprinters lane free for the derny to come through. Positions are determined by drawing lots. The start is given when the derny approaches the pursuit line and the rider in position one (closest to the inside of the track) must follow immediately in behind the derny, unless another rider voluntarily takes that position. Riders must remain behind the derny until it pulls off the track.

Keirin competitions are run over several rounds and repercharges until the final six fight it out in the final.

Longest Lap

One lap race where riders set off from turn four, and have to track stand to ensure they do not cross the start/finish line until the bell rings. The bell rings sometime between 1-4min to signify start of sprint at Race Manager’s discretion. Riders get eliminated if they put a foot down, grab the rail, ride off the track surface, fall or touch another rider or ride backwards during the track standing period. Not sure – watch the video.

Individual Time Trial

Riders race individually against the clock from a standing start for 1000m (men) or 500m (women). In competition riders get one ride to set the fastest time they can.

Individual Pursuit

Two riders race from opposite sides of the track against each other and the clock from a standing start. Races are 4000m for men, 3000m for women, masters and junior men and 2000m for junior women.

This event is raced as a knockout competition with an initial qualifying round. During the qualifying round if a rider is caught they must still complete the distance to record a time. The fastest riders go through to the next round. During the knockout rounds a caught rider is deemed to have lost the race and the race is over.

Team Pursuit

Similar to the Individual Pursuit but with teams of four riders racing against each other. The team’s time is taken when the third rider crosses the line.

Scratch Race

Scratch races are the simplest and often the most exciting events at any track meet. It is a mass start race run over a set number of laps. Riders are given the bell with one lap to go. The winner is simply the first rider across the line. The race is started with a rolling start. Riders who are lapped by the main field are eliminated from the race.

At national champs distances are 15km for men, 10km for women and junior men and 7.5km for junior women. Where there are qualifying heats in the competition, the heats are run over 10km for men, 7.5km for women and junior men and 5km for junior women.

Team Scratch

Riders are divided up into teams of four to five each with the aim of working together over a fixed distance to secure a victory. Riders are credited with the same placing as the highest placed finisher in their team. Team tactics and collusion essential!

Points Race

Riders race for a set number of laps, with placings determined according to accumulated points won by riders during sprints and by taking laps. Points (5, 3, 2, 1) are awarded to the first 4 riders across the line on each sprint lap and at the finish. A rider who laps the main field is awarded 20 points and any rider who drops a lap on the main field loses 20 points. If 2 or more riders are on equal points at the end of the race, places in the final sprint will determine their placings. The race is started with a rolling start and sprint laps are indicated with a whistle.

At national champs (on a 250m track) distances are 40km for men, 25km for women and junior men and 20km for junior men with sprints every 10 laps.

A rider is considered to have gained a lap when they have caught up with the rare of the largest bunch.

A rider who has dropped behind the bunch, and is caught may not lead.

Lapped riders may be withdrawn from the race by the commissaires.

In the case of a recognised mishap (i.e. a fall, a puncture or a breakage of an essential part of the bike) a rider is entitled to a neutralisation of the number of laps closest to 1300m and then can resume the race in the same position they occupied before the mishap.


TheMadison is raced by teams of two riders and raced over a number of laps equal or close to 50km with intermediate sprint every 20 laps, whatever the track length. Points are awarded for sprint in the same way as for the points race however no points are awarded for laps gained. Final ranking is determined first by distance (i.e. laps taken) and then by accrued points. In other words if a team gains a lap on everyone else then they are in the leading position no matter how many points they have. Only where two or more teams are on the same lap do the points start to matter.

Only one member of a team is racing at any one time while their team-mate rides around the top of the track until it is time for them to ‘tag-team’ into the race. The changeover is affected when the two riders from a team touch. This is usually done by way of a spectacular hand sling where the racing rider grabs their team-mate’s hand and throws them into the race. The race is started with a rolling start and sprint laps are indicated with a whistle.

Handicap Race

Handicap races are typically short races where riders start off their designated handicaps from a held start. Only the scratch rider(s) complete the entire distance of the race and the race is won by the first rider across the line. The beauty of handicap races is that everyone has a chance to win which makes them one of the most exciting races to watch.

Elimination Race or Miss ‘n’ Out or Devil Take the Hindmost

A mass start race where the last rider to cross the line on each lap (sometimes every second lap on 250m tracks) is eliminated from the race. The bell sounds when three riders are left in the race and they are left to sprint the final lap to the finish.

Mystery Distance

This is essentially a scratch race except for the fact that the riders do not know how long the race will be. The distance of the race is decided randomly, and secretly, at the beginning of the race by the lap counter. Riders then race until they get the bell indicating there is 1 lap to go.

Derby or Chariot Race

This is a short race of 1-4 laps between five to seven riders. Riders line up for a standing start along the start line with positions decided by drawing lots. At the gun it is simply a drag race to the finish. First across the line wins.

Point-a-Lap Race

One point is awarded for the first rider across the line each lap. The rider to finish with the most points is the winner. The amount of laps in the race can be decided by the Race Manager at the start.

Devilish Point-a-Lap

One point is awarded to the first across the line each lap, but last rider eliminated. Winner is rider with most points, regardless of when/ if they are eliminated. If riders are equal on points at the end, placing is determined according to the order they are eliminated.

Hare and Hounds

Three riders, selected by Race Manager with a low number of Speed League points, start on the back straight red line with the bunch on the finish line. Every time the Hares cross the finish ahead of the bunch they score 1 Speed League point each. Once/ if they’re caught, it’s a straight scratch race and the Hares stop scoring lap points. Then it’s 5,3,2,1 on the finish line as per scratch races. If the Hares stay away, they score 5,3,2,1 on the line.

Snowball Race

A points race of about 10-15 laps where points are awarded to only the first rider across the line on each lap. The first lap is worth 1 point, the second 2 points, the third 3 points, and so on until the final lap which is worth points equal to the total number of laps. The winner is the rider with the most accumulated points.

Danish Points Race

This is a combination of a points race and an elimination race. Riders race first section of the race accumulating points as per the points race, after which there are 3 neutral laps followed by an elimination race. The first rider eliminated is awarded 1 point, the second 2 points, the third 3 points and so on. The winner is the rider with the most accumulated points.

Team Sprint or Olympic Sprint

The team sprint pits two teams of three riders up again each other and the clock for three laps. Teams take a standing start on opposite sides of the track at the pursuit lines. On completion of the first lap, the first rider pulls up the track to leave the remaining two riders racing. The second rider pulls up at the completion of the second lap and leaves the last rider to complete the final lap and set a time.

Emma’s All-in Pursuit

Every rider at the meet rides in this event which is like an extended Team Sprint. All the riders are divided into two teams of equal levels. The teams line up on either side of the track and start with the slowest rider first and with the fastest last. Each rider in the team must complete one lap on the front, before pulling out. Run much like a Team Sprint. A fun way for the youngest rider to ride with the fastest Elite rider. Introduced in 2008-9 season by Emma Wensing of Australia.

bottom of page