Velodrome tactics

Dec 28, 2012
Leighton Buzzard
When racing at Herne Hill in London last week, the last event of the evening (dusk and rain) was a 'mass start' scratch race. I was sitting on the sprinters line and holding on for grim death, the pace was pretty full bore. A guy in front blew and was getting dropped. The field was streaming over the top and I couldn't see a way up into the flow safely, I ended up slowing onto his wheel and getting spat out, gutted. In this situation, can you go under someone who is riding slowly in the sprinters lane? Or, should I have barged into the faster moving flow of riders over the top?


Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
The rules are as follows:

2B1. Leaders must occupy the sprinters lane unless far enough in the lead so as not to interfere with competitors seeking to pass. If the leader is below the sprinters line, the following riders may not pass underneath [relegation or disqualification].

2B2. A competitor overtaking another must pass on the outside unless the rider ahead is riding above the sprinters line. A rider who passes another must not in any way impede the progress of the passed rider [relegation or disqualification].

So if you got passed and a rider then dropped in to the sprinters line then you can exit as long as you do not impede another rider - you have to find the slot and move in or wait till the field passes and join the back and work forward again. But as you were not the race leader then you are able to over take him - the sprinters line rule dies not apply to you as second wheel - only when you pass and then drop back in to the line.

It's been years since I did track racing so I might have got it wrong.
Likes: GSAstuto


Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
We were taught the sprinters lane was sacred ground - but expect to get crucified if you're not actually leading! Dropping below the line almost always resulted in sanction, expulsion or mayhem (sometimes all of them). Above the line and everything is more or less fair game unless you are taking out people behind you and disregarding the 'stays'. This is why you yell out your 'stays'. I'm in agreement with FE's take on this - but I'm sure there more <current> track riders here to engage. Also - depends on the event... in a mass start scratch, I think I'd vote for the over the top move as it's generally easier (and safer) to move riders UP the track then DOWN the track and into potential expulsion territory. Plus, if you move them UP then they'll have a crappier line to deal with at the sprint <hopefully>. A fair amount of shouldering, definitely. But if you were down on the sprint w/50m or so to go - I'd might be tempted to take the under line and hope the judges don't call it. But you can see the wood shavings here - --- upper guy blasts into the line - you are coming up the inside treading where angels dare - and BAMMMM. Mayhem!
Dec 28, 2012
Leighton Buzzard
Yup, agree with all of those points, looking back I made the fatal mistake of dropping concentration and then trying to think. I think the track is about reaction more than planning? As the guy caused me to 'back off', the field flooded past not giving me much chance to step out safely, might have lost a bit of bottle too LOL ;-)


Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
Track is about learning those points, remembering them in the heat of the battle when there is no oxygen reaching your brain and be absolutely fearless doing so.

For the record, in Japan on the final straight it is free for all, where not only the second wheel uses the inside. Personally, I never did it though.