Moving Things Forward
The cornerstone of Van D’am Racing will always be the team. However it has also given us opportunities to work on other projects, mainly here in South Australia, to help grow the sport and return it to a more sustainable model. We wrote a list of things we wanted to achieve this year which were in addition to running a successful team. The primary goal of these initiatives was to return South Australian Cycling to a stable footing.
The Winter Road Series (WRS)
South Australia has a history of disharmony between its cycling administrators and clubs. This is not a failing of the current administration, but a legacy left by some of their predecessors. One of the first aims of the WRS was to bring Cycling South Australia (CSA) and the clubs, who put on the majority of the racing, together. But the overarching aim was to join our dwindling winter road races into something with more long-term sustainability. So what does the series provide?
- A narrative. The series adds an extra element to the story, something extra to race for.
- It provides another incentive for riders to keep racing throughout the year, even when the weather starts to turn.
- Something extra to race for. Cyclist are a competitive lot, so why not introduce another thing for them to attempt to win.
The primary benefit from this will be higher entry numbers and greater media exposure. The flow on effects are much further reaching with greater sponsorship opportunities and lower entry fees, which will continue to grow the series. A positive cycle of upwards growth.
A Points Based Handicapping system
This is well in the works. We have support from the majority of the clubs and from CSA. The system revolves around scoring points for placings at races. Riders need to accumulate a certain number of points each year to maintain their grades, and they need to attain a certain number of points to move up a grade. This is similar to what is done in Europe and America. But why should we have a points based system, and how does it help?
- No more complaining when you get moved up from C grade to B grade (or down the other way). You only have yourself to thank (or blame).
- Turns a grade into something which is earned, not given.
- Removes the burden on the person placed in the handicapper position.
- Encourages riders to turn up to races.
- Riders won’t get stuck in a grade where they can keep up, but have no chance of winning.
This will be an ongoing plan, starting by supporting those who already put races on in and effort to make these events more sustainable. In the future we plan to expand what we do to include putting on our own events. Starting with time trials, hillclimbs and kermesses, and then slowly growing to larger events, all catering for a diverse range of participants.
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