Track racing returns to Sydney’s Olympic velodrome this week – with a new organiser in charge.
After the beloved Racing All Winter (“RAW Track”) came to an end last year, two devoted members of grassroots track cycling have stepped in to fill the void.
No Brakes Racing, founded by Bankstown coach/commissaire/commentator James Brown and St George photographer and father Andrew Trovas, launches its new flagship Friday night racing this week.
The six-week series will be the first chance for Sydney cyclists to race since summer. It will feature rider favourites such as scratch races, derbies, point-a-laps and wheelraces.
“We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel,” Brown said. “We’re looking to improve on an already very good model. What riders can expect is good, old-fashioned bike racing, with a modern twist.”
Brown and Trovas are active volunteers for their home clubs, but this will be the first event of their own. They say the series has a crucial place in what is traditionally a summer sport.
“We both played small roles in the grand machine that was RAW Track over the last few years,” Brown said. “We saw that a big hole in the cycling community was going to exist.
“You don’t have to look far to see what comes out of Friday night racing. For as long as I’ve been involved in the sport, it’s been a really important part of the track scene because it keeps riders engaged through winter,” Brown said.
“It also proves an important breeding ground for semi-pro riders and emerging talents. For juniors stepping up to Under-19s and Elites, it offers a more ‘Elite’ style of racing that isn’t always available year-round.”
For new and curious riders from the Sydney area, the Friday night event is a first opportunity to discover what makes the track so exciting.
“For someone who hasn’t seen a track race before, it’s kind of like NASCAR – but for cycling,” Brown said. “It’s this really wild take on cycling where you don’t have any brakes, you’ve got one fixed gear on a bike and you just have to work as hard as you can.
“You just have to see it. It’s immersive when you sit back, you see the banking, you see the restrictions they have to work with in terms of equipment, but you see remarkable performances.
“State champions and national riders come and race against Masters riders ... You can be an average Joe, come out on Friday night and rub shoulders with our state’s and nation’s best.”
The No Brakes Racing Friday night track series is sponsored by Brennan IT. It will be run under a COVID Safety Plan developed by Bankstown Sports Cycling Club. For entries and information, visit their Facebook page.
Words and photo by Ryan Miu.