What about a National Junior Road Series?

Posted: December 3, 2012 in Opinion, Racing

We are smack bang in the middle of the National Junior Track Series (NJTS) – a series that has given under-15 and under-17 juniors the chance to race each other more often than just at Nationals.  I think it’s fair to say this series have provided a much needed pinnacle to the junior track calendar and, in only its second-year, it can be lauded a huge success.  But what’s happening on the road?

Most states are now starting to release their 2013 Winter Junior Calendar.  They unsurprisingly look very similar to the previous year’s calendar… and the year before that… and the year before that.  One good thing is that states now seem to try and not conflict junior opens – something that wasn’t the case even three-years ago.

The DBR Canberra Junior Tour is arguably the best Junior Tour in the country.

The DBR Canberra Junior Tour is arguably the best Junior Tour in the country.

On their calendar, each of the Australian states offer a ‘pinnacle’ junior tour (JT).  In Queensland, it’s probably the Toowoomba JT (or the Goldstars Carnival); in NSW I think its the Wagga Wagga JT; in the ACT its the Canberra JT; in Victoria it’s the Eildon JT; in Tassie it’s the Mersey Valley JT; in SA its the Central Districts JT; and in the West, its probably the Peel JT.  Most of these events have a rich history and all offer terrifically organised racing over challenging courses.  They are also usually well attended by local and some interstate riders.

What’s stopping CA taking these events, or whichever events put up their hand, and creating a National Junior Road Series (NJRS)?  It would be a whole lot cheaper than the way they have set-up the NJTS!  These are existing events. Sure, it would be great if they could offer travel subsidies like they do for the NJTS, but even starting without this would assist each of these events and strengthen junior road racing in Australia.

There would perhaps have to be some guidelines put in place so all the events were run in a similar fashion.  It would be good if they were all timed events for the under-15/17s and run on points of the under-11/13s.  It would be good if there were mandatory distance totals for age groups (currently Eildon run circa 50km stages for under-15s, which is well above the CA guidelines) and perhaps that each event includes four stages including an ITT.

The Mersey Valley Junior Tour does it right with winner's jerseys, trophies and speeches from the riders.

The Mersey Valley Junior Tour does it right with winner’s jerseys, trophies and speeches from the riders.

Come on CA, put this on the agenda at the next Road Commission meeting to discuss.  Junior road racing might not be as financially rewarding for CA as the track – given its ASC funding is based on international results largely from the track – but this is an initiative that will take just one person to champion and organise.  If you’d like to see this, why not send an email to Sean Muir from CA <sean.muir@cycling.org.au> and let him know!

  1. cycdad says:

    Some great ideas coming in about how it can be made more cost effective… say it’s a six event series – one event in each of the main states – then maybe only points from a riders best three results count. That way, if you can afford to do all events great, if not, you only need to race three events to have a chance of doing well. What do you think?

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