Changes to National Junior Track Championships schedule

Posted: October 2, 2013 in Opinion, Racing, Tips & Hints
Tags: , , ,

A paragraph in the latest CA e-Cycle that may have slipped past most – and would have slipped past me had I not been alerted to it:

Track Commission: Adopted the introduction of the Points Race as a new event in the U17/15 Junior Track National Championships.

This is great news for junior endurance riders… and an inclusion that helps even the balance of sprint and endurance events at the Track Nationals.  I mentioned that the program was very sprint heavy in my review of this year’s Nationals titled Junior Track Nationals – Could it be better?  It is terrific that the Track Commission has acted to balance out this pinnacle event.

Another change I’d like to see is the championships being opened up to additional riders (outside of state teams) who qualify in other ways.  What we’re currently seeing is that some of the bigger states have very competitive kids missing out on a spot while some of the less competitive states are sending kids more for the experience.  I’m not suggesting that smaller states shouldn’t get to send whoever they like to fill their numbers, but there is a lot of down-time at the championships and I don’t think that an extra say 10-kids per age category would have any significant effect on running times.

One of the end of night podiums from this year's nationals.  An amazing experience for those lucky enough to be selected for their state.

One of the end of night podiums from this year’s nationals. An amazing experience for those lucky enough to be selected for their state.

How these kids are chosen is up to the Track Commission; but some thoughts are:

  • Top four kids from the NJTS standings that aren’t selected in their state team.
  • Three fastest sprinters (adding their flying 200 time with their TT time) not part of state team.
  • Three fastest IP times outside of those kids chosen for the state teams.

This would give you 10 additional kids per age category which, as I say, from last years experience at the event is more than manageable.   It would also place greater impetus on racing and performing well at the NJTS, which can only be a plus.  And places strong impetus setting a good time at your State Championships – you might not be able to win out of a deep field in one of the stronger states, but you’re competing to post your best possible time with a view to getting one of the wildcard spots at the Nationals.

This idea is particularly beneficial for bottom-ages with clear talent but not the development to challenge for a spot on a strong state team… but had they been born in another state they’d be an automatic selection.  It would give them vital experience as there is nothing that compares to the pressure of racing a Nationals and to experience it a year early would really prepare them for the future.

Let’s hope representatives from the track commission stumble across this whacky idea and give some serious discussion.  There’s nothing stopping them from implementing something like this even this year.

  1. Another cycling parent! says:

    Wow. You must be reading my thoughts.

    There is obviously allowance for kids from the NT should they qualify, so there is space in the program. These kids must have first option, but it gives opportunity to those who, for what ever reason, have not been able to perform at their respective State Championship.

    How to select?
    1. Nominate – if you miss your state selection, nominate for the wild card entry. It’s going to cost so parents will only nominate if they can afford it.
    2. State your preference – Sprint or Endurance. 1 spot per each age category for each stream to each state. That’s potentially 7 extra riders per event, but more likely less. It’s fair without bias to state strength or influence.
    3. Each state therefore has options for an extra 8 riders to experience Nationals.

    Selection could be simply the best non-state rider from each state of the nominations based on State IP and TT results. Very clinical.

    Sprint stream get the Sprint and the TT. Enduro stream gets the IP and the Points Race. Names get drawn for the Scratch Race. If there is a Keirin all get a heat start if wanted.

    As for the Team IP or Team Sprint … Probably not due to the lack of training.

    It’s certainly not un-achievable. It just needs a willingness to acept a change. They’ve now done it for seniors (opened it up to individual entries – according to the CyclingSA website), so why not the kids!

  2. Cycling mum says:

    Selecting from njts not fair for some my daughter is new to the sport this year and every heat of un17 women she was against u19 girl who placed at junior world’s and only first place went to finals and she was 2nd to this rider in most races

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