Race from Scratch

The velodrome’s most fundamental race. All riders begin at the same location (on scratch). On the last lap, the cyclist who crosses the finish line first wins. Scratch races can last anywhere from 8 to 20 laps and are usually the first event of the evening (can be refered to as a Heart Starter).

Chariot Race or Dash

From a standing start, a 1.5 or 2 lap “drag race” to the finish line. Riders compete in preliminary heats of 4-6 riders to qualify for the final. The Velodrome’s quickest races are held here.

Race for Points

Riders must complete a certain number of sprint laps and travel a specific distance (4km – 40km). The race is won by the rider who accumulates the most points. On designated Sprint Laps, which are signalled by a bell or whistle, points are awarded. In these sprints, the first four finishers receive 5,3,2, and 1 points, respectively. A rider receives 20 points if he or she laps the field. A rider’s total is deducted by 20 points if he or she loses a lap to the field.

Sprint Race for Matches

This is the traditional track sprint race. Over three laps of the course, two or three riders compete against each other. The winner is the first person to cross the finish line. Only the last 200 metres of the race are timed.

Keirin (Keirin Race)

The Keirin is a massed start sprint race that lasts 6 or 8 laps. The cyclists are paced by a “pacer” or motorcycle for the first 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 laps. The pace begins slowly at 20 kilometres per hour and progressively increases to 40 kilometres per hour before the “pacer” comes off the course, leaving the riders to race to the finish. Preliminary heats are frequently used to qualify riders for the final.

Sprint Race for Teams

Two teams of two or three sprinters compete against each other and the clock in the Team Sprint. Each team member takes a turn leading the group for a full lap at maximum effort. The lead rider pulls up and out of the race after lap one, leaving the rest of the squad to continue. The second rider pulls up and out of the race after completing his loop at the front, allowing the third rider to finish the race. This event is frequently run in heats before moving on to a final. Occasionally, the race is held as a time trial, with the fastest time winning.

Race to the End

The Elimination, Miss and Out, or “Devil Take the Hindmost” race is one in which the last rider across the finish line every (other) lap is eliminated. The field is whittled down one by one until only two or three riders remain, who then sprint for first, second, and third place.


The Madison (so named because it debuted in Madison Square Garden) is a two-rider team race that is one of the most entertaining to see on the track. During the race, the cyclists must use an exchange to turn off their bikes. While one teammate races, his buddy circles the track slowly above the blue line. When they meet, the racer uses a push or “hand sling” to give his momentum to his partner before moving up to the blue line to recover for his or her next effort. Races can be run over a set number of laps or for a set amount of time. Sprints for points are frequently presented as a way to liven up the action.

500 metre Time Trial (women) kilometre Time Trial (women) (women)

From a standing start, the cyclist rides for 1 kilometre or 500 metres as quickly as possible. The winner is the person who completes the task in the shortest amount of time. To prevent motorcyclists from “taking a short cut” through the corners, foam pads are put along the inside edge of the track.

Individual Goals

This race is four kilometres long for men and three kilometres long for women. Two motorcyclists start on the circuit facing each other and literally chase or “pursue” each other around the track. A rider can win the race in one of two ways: by catching his opponent or by completing the course in the fastest time. When a cyclist completes each half lap, the time is recorded. The greatest riders stick to a “schedule,” which is usually announced by their coach at the track. Riders may qualify through heats to a final round, or the event may be played as a time trial, with the rider with the fastest overall time declared the champion.

Pursuit as a group

The Team Pursuit is similar to the Individual Pursuit, but each team is made up of three or four riders. The riders ride in a single file, or “pace line,” and alternate leading the team around the circuit. The lead rider moves up the embankment to slow down, allowing the following three riders to pass below, and then drops down the track to the back of the “pace line” at each turn. The lead cyclist sets the pace, while the remaining cyclists labour inside the draught to maintain their speed while recovering. The time recorded when the third member of the team crosses the finish line determines the winner. When the third member of one team gets passed by the second or third member of the other team, the team is deemed caught.


A track handicap event is one in which the strongest riders are assigned the longest distance to go based on previous results, with the goal of levelling the playing field for all riders.

Handicap races usually last between 1000 and 2000 metres. Riders must begin at the Handicapper’s assigned starting position.

Scratch Race of Unknown Distance

This is a scratch race, and the distance will not be announced before to the start. Intermediate Sprints or a Points score system may be used in the event. With one lap remaining, the whistle will be blown.