It’s been a while since my last post, since I’ve been busy promoting grassroots cycling in my real job with Cycling NSW. But I just had to share this fun new race in western Sydney with you.
You can now race your bicycle in the evenings under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP). And you can do it in the reverse course direction!
Cyclists have been racing at Sydney Motorsport Park for many years, but it’s always been during the daytime and usually in the early morning, before we have to clear the track for other vehicles (those of the louder variety). We’ve raced under lights at the dragway next door, but not for a while due to difficulties getting the venue.
Last year, permanent lights were installed at SMSP, and now Penrith Cycling Club have started running weeknight criteriums.
I loved my first race under lights. The circuit is brightly lit, so it’s no less safe than a daytime race. But at night it feels faster, more dramatic, and you get the cool effect of chasing your shadow around the circuit.
The races are about one hour long and run in the reverse direction to normal. I think this is great, because:
- The start-finish straight becomes a long uphill drag with a pinch at the end, lending to possible attacks.
- The final sprint is slightly uphill, making it a bit slower and safer.
- The uphill sprint tips the balance a little bit towards slighter riders like myself, and also makes it a little fairer for juniors on restricted gears.
Anyway, check out my video below from my first race under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park.
What do you think of night time racing under lights?
Penrith Cycling Club will be hosting racing under lights throughout May and June 2021 on Monday nights, starting at 6:30PM. Go check them out at their Facebook page.