Guide to Road Racing
Road racing is mass start racing, usually on roads but often (and for under 16s always) on closed circuits built for cycling or motor racing. A number of club members compete locally and nationally. Our nearest closed circuit is Darley Moor, South of Ashbourne, but there are a number of open road and closed circuit races across the region which can be found on the British Cycling website which has a calendar of road events both regionally and nationally. The club promotes events at Darley Moor. Matlock CC is an active club in the local road racing scene for adults and youth. and we promote races, run coaching sessions and have club training rides. In recent years we have had riders from fourth through to first category and a growing number of over 40s competing in veterans racing. New riders are always welcome whether they are strong experienced racers or newcomers to the sport. We promote youngsters racing through our 'Round The Pond' series and circuit racing at Darley Moor alongside youth coaching sessions to give them the essential skills for racing.
Road Racing is massed-start cycle racing on roads or circuits. First rider over the finish line wins, with anything from twenty to almost 200 competitors, depending on the event. In the UK, events range from short Youth and Juvenile (under 16) races of 20km or less, through club level events for adults of between 40km and 100km, to Elite-level one day races of 200km or more.
The majority of adult racing takes place on public roads, though there are an increasing number of circuit events, either on roads closed to other traffic or on specially constructed circuits, some which are shared with other sports like motor racing and kart racing, others are purpose built for cycling. All under-16 racing takes place on traffic-free closed circuits.
The ability to ride comfortably and safely in a bunch of riders is the most essential skill of Road Racing. Road Racing has a strong club-based culture, so a great place to start is by joining a club which regularly runs training rides on the Public Roads. This will help you to learn how to ride in the company of other riders and what the basic etiquette of group riding entails.
Road Racing beginners usually find their feet in easier events and there’s no better place to start than Circuit Race meetings. These events often have several races catering for a range of abilities and age groups and are an ideal environment in which to learn the bike handling and tactical skills necessary to succeed, without the additional stress of being on the public highway. Lap distance is usually between one and four kilometres, so if you get dropped, catch your breath and wait for the main group to come round, and join again! A British Cycling membership and Licence are usually needed for most events.
All junior and senior licence holders, male or female are categorised by their ability. Riders of the same ability category continue to compete together in races irrespective of their age category, except in the case of age related events.
4th Category – A new junior or senior licence holder.
3rd Category – Any junior or senior licence holder who has gained at least 10 but less than 40 points whilst holding a 4th category licence. Note: Riders are never downgraded to 4th category once a 3rd category licence has been achieved.
2nd Category – Any junior or senior licence holder who has gained 40 points during any one season whilst holding a 3rd category licence. To retain a 2nd category licence for the following season, a rider must obtain at least 25 points in events open to that category of rider.
1st Category– Any junior or senior licence holder who has gained 160 points during any one season whilst holding a 2nd category licence. To retain a 1st category licence for the following season, a rider must obtain at least 80 points in events open to that category of rider.
Elite Category – any rider who:
– has gained 350 points during the previous season whilst holding an elite or 1st category licence,
– at the 31st December of the previous year was listed in the top 10 in the Senior Men’s National Cross Country MTB Rankings
Points are awarded on the basis of the result gained and the level (i.e. status) of the event. These points go towards a rider’s licence category and towards their National and Regional rankings and the National and Regional rankings of their club or Team.
British Cycling Youth Age Categories for Road Racing (and Track)
Youth E – Under 8 – Until 31 December in year of 8th birthday
Youth D – Under 10 – From 1 January in year of 9th birthday until 31 December in year of 10th birthday.
Youth C – Under 12 – From 1 January in year of 11th birthday until 31 December in year of 12th birthday
Youth B – Under 14 – From 1 January in year of 13th birthday until 31 December in year of 14th birthday
Youth A – Under 16 – From 1 January in year of 15th birthday until 31 December in year of 16th birthday
You can find out more about Youth age categories here:
If your youngster is racing in British Cycling (BC) road/track/roller racing competitions they are governed by BC rules – this includes gear restrictions to the bicycle which can mean your gears need adjustment to 'lock-off' the highest gears - you can find out about gear restirctions at our webpage here:
You can find out more from the British Cycling website here https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/getintoroadcycling?c=EN
Road Race events can be found and entered on the British Cycling website here where you can filter the results to show races in the nearby region.