Scratch race

A race of a set distance, often started on the fence and with a neutral first lap. First across the line wins.

Handicap race

A race where riders start at differing points around the track with the fastest riders having the biggest handicap and the weakest riders having the least. 

500 m TT & kilo

Standing start time trial of either two or four laps (aerobars allowed).

Individual pursuit

Two competitors start off at opposing sides of the track trying to catch each other. The winner is the one to either catch the opposing cyclist or finish with the fastest time. Distance is age-grade dependent.

Team pursuit

Teams of four riders with each team member usually riding one lap before going up the embankment and then slotting in at the back. The race is 4000m long.

Australian pursuit

A race of set duration (e.g., 3 min 30 sec) in which riders start at equidistant points around the track. The object is to catch the rider in front and therefore eliminate them from the race while not being caught by the rider behind. The winner is the first of the remaining riders to cross the line.

Devil-take-the-hindmost (elimination race)

The last rider in the field to pass the finish line is eliminated every ~2 laps, until only two riders remain to contest the final sprint.

Unknown distance

Competitors don’t know the final distance of the race until the bell rings for the final lap.


A track race where two team members compete to ride the greatest number of laps in an allotted time with points awarded in the same manner as the points race. Riders take turns racing so that they are given an opportunity to rest.

Points race 

A set distance race with points awarded to the first 3 riders according to their finishing position every 5 to 10 laps. Double points count for the final lap with 20 points gained for lapping the field.


An event in which riders take part in a number of races.

Sprint / Match Sprint

The competition starts with a qualifying round, which is a timed flying 200 m sprint. Each rider completes ~2.5 laps of the track and is then timed over the final 200 m

After qualifying, races are then run in a knockout fashion, one-on-one. Opponents start next to each other on the line and are seeded to race against each other with the fastest facing the slowest etc. Knock out rounds are then followed by a best of three-race format.  Riders who fail to win heats may have a chance to continue in the competition through repêchage races contested by up to four riders.

Team Sprint vs Italian pursuit

The team sprint is raced by teams of three over three laps of the track. Two teams start on opposite sides of the track, with each rider leading for a lap before peeling off. The final remaining rider for each team, sprints for the finish to establish the team’s time. The Italian pursuit is similar, but is not limited to three riders per team and only requires that “a rider “ be dropped per lap.