A sprint race is a short distance race between 2 riders. Riders begin from a held standing-start position at the Start-Finish line and race over a short distance with the first to cross the line declared the winner. Riders draw for starting position prior to the race and line up at the start line according to the draw – #1 on the inside of the track and #2 on the outside.
Distance: Typically 750m
Variation: Riders may be included in a ‘3-up’ or ‘4-up’ derby during minor rounds of a ‘sprint competition’ depending upon the format of the event.
Key Rules: Once the final ‘sprint’ has started and a rider has entered the sprint lane (between the black and red lines) the lead rider cannot come out of the lane and the overtaking rider cannot enter the lane unless their rear wheel is clear of the front wheel of the other rider. Warnings and disqualifications (relegations) are not uncommon.
Tactics: Tactics play a huge part of a sprint race with riders avoiding riding fast from the start and giving their opponent an opportunity to ‘draft’ in their slipstream, thereby conserving energy before overtaking the lead rider at the finish line.
Riders will try and slow the pace and occasionally try and ‘track-stand’, to force their opponent to take the lead.
The front rider will try and stop the second rider from using the element of surprise by turning their head to constantly looking behind and they ride.
The front rider may try to force the second rider up to the fence, blocking their ability to accelerate quickly down the bank.
What to watch out for: Endurance riders who prefer to keep the pace high may try and sprint from the start, hoping to negate the more powerful acceleration of a sprinter by wearing them down with a long fast race.