With no warm-up evenings on the schedule this season, it is straight down to action tonight for the first of eighteen weeks of track-racing at Brighton’s Preston Park.
Dubbed “the friendliest track league in the country”, the Sussex Cycle Racing League offers at least five races per meet for seniors and three for youths, three championship meets for all, primes, a weekly prize for the best youth, as well as a generous overall prize-list. In addition, there are award-winning refreshments, a race commentary and the League’s very own monthly newsletter.
What more would you want from your track league? Well, weekly reports and results from the meets appear on www.scrl.co.uk and other cycling websites, and there is always great rivalry for the senior “A” and “B” leagues, as well as the various youth age-group competitions. Attendances are regularly high, with an average total of 70 competitors per meeting.
Racing for seniors is divided into the elite “A” group and the “B” section. Some races are combined, while others are separated, and there are occasional events restricted to riders who have notched up the least points. So, at Preston Park, every rider has the chance to get that prestigious race win for their cycling CV!
The variety of racing is amazing, with scratch races supplemented with handicap events, keirins, points races, sprints, devils, unknown distance, “win and out”, etc.
There are five categories of youth riders. Under-16s, under-14s and under-12s all ride fixed-wheel bikes, while the under-10s and under-8s (who must be aged at least 5 on the day of the race) ride on freewheel machines.
All eyes will be on the battle for the senior title, which is sure to be exciting after last season’s triumph by the popular Mark Burgess. He is certain to be hard-pushed by rising star Charlie Heffernan, two-times Brighton champ Felix English, Preston Park sprint legend Lee Povey and young exocet Adam Gent. Last year’s B-league winner Richard Bailey will also no doubt be in the mix, as will 2009 youth champ Elliot Tabraham-Dowers.
The innovation this year is in the form of two new senior trophies. The Twilight Trophy will reward the best rider in the final race each meet and the Sprinters Trophy will go to the most successful senior in sprints, keirins and individual handicap races.
Enter now at www.scrl.co.uk and get yourself down to Brighton’s Preston Park track every Wednesday at 6.45pm to cheer on the riders. It’s official: there is no better way to spend a Wednesday evening.