Boys and Girls Racing together?

Posted: December 2, 2012 in Tips & Hints

I’ve heard on the grapevine that mixed junior racing is likely to be implemented for the under-11s and under-13s for Victorian Opens next road season.  It already happens at some open track events around Australia.  Tassie has been doing it for years.  And it happens every week in graded club racing.  So, is it a big deal?

Under-13 boys and girls at the start of a road race in Tasmania. This is set to become a regular event at Opens in Victoria.

Under-13 boys and girls at the start of a road race in Tasmania. This is set to become a regular event at Opens in Victoria.

Girls develop more quickly than boys, especially in the early years.  Boys maybe tend to be more daring/competitive than girls.  The biggest issue with this change will likely be with parents accepting it.  The reality is, there is so much discrepancy in the rate of physical development of young riders that it really won’t matter if boys and girls ride together.

There are numerous upsides:

  • Bigger fields will make for learning better race craft and better bike handling
  • It will specifically benefit the girls who often have very small fields and are racing the same riders week-in-week-out
  • More efficiently run events with perhaps two less races to be run, meaning the events finish earlier
  • Less requirements for officials and volunteers at events, saving on the need for additional commissaires, lead & follow-car drivers

Look at how it has benefited Tasmanian girls Lauren Perry and Macey Stewart.  Two girls who where always at the top throughout their junior careers (they are now first year JW19) and raced on a weekly basis against the boys – even at the Christmas Carnivals where the racing was very willing given the prize money on offer!  I think both girls benefited from not just their own rivalry, but especially from the experience of racing against the boys.

Boys and girls on the track at Wagga Wagga - the girls more than hold their own in the younger years!

Boys and girls on the track at Wagga Wagga – the girls more than hold their own in the younger years!

There will still be open events that offer individual racing for the J11 and J13 girls and boys – including the unofficial national championship for these age categories, The DBR Canberra Junior & Women’s Tour.  At events like this, these young racers get the chance to race the best kids in the land.

Another interesting point is that at The European Junior Cycling Tour, held each year in Assen, in The Netherlands, they mix boys and girls – but they do it in such a way that they mix girls a year older with boys a year younger.  The results are, that the girls do very well in the younger categories, but then, by around our first-year under-15, the boys start to take charge.

I think this is a positive move to help grow these younger categories.

Comments
  1. Robin says:

    I think it’s a great idea as it means the traditionally smaller fields of girls can find equal competition from within the junior boys ranks and ensure that both the strongest and less strong can be matched with a competitor that should extend the competition all the way to the finish line.
    That has to be good for the sport.

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