Scottish Road Race Leagues (Implementation)

Nobody said this was going to be easy, but with a good bit of cooperation & some help from the Scottish Cycling RDO’s (Regional Development Officers) we can get interested clubs together to make some progress. I’m also not saying the ideas I have are in any way perfect, but in a vacuum of any other published ideas on how we can get a road race league system up & running, I thought it was relevant to the times to get some ideas out there. So maybe what would work in practice requires some tweaking, so I’ll summarise what is in the following linked posts.

You can find them all under the Race Development page.

Local Leagues (Entry League)

Local Leagues (Advanced League)

National Leagues (Elite League) (not complete, yet…)

Why this way?

The benefits of running things in this manner (as far as I see) are as follows:

A defined league structure, designed to:

  • Encourage promotion of league events by clubs & reward that with guaranteed entries to an allocated number of club riders.
    • Resulting in more events at the correct level.
    • Resulting in riders joining race promoting clubs who are taking an active part in supporting Scottish cycle sport.
  • Racing in more clearly defined levels to allow easier progression.
  • No more ‘wasted points’ in events, where higher category riders were scooping up points, with some events barely having any points allocated. Hence the race licence rule, you need a licence that allows you to accrue licence points to enter these leagues, otherwise we’ll get day licence riders scooping up points instead.
  • Club rankings only in ‘Entry‘ & ‘Advanced‘ leagues allows a variety of good things to take place (individual ranking published would damage this)
    • Riders who upgrade their category will be moved up a league, their points are added to their club’s ranking & there isn’t an incentive to hang on, so they are not left in a lower category, taking points that could be allocated to others. We need as many points allocated as possible to progress riders.
    • The club will feel it’s wise to encourage new riders to take the allocated club places in races, ensuring a steady flow of novice riders into the ‘Entry‘ league. This removes the ‘ringers’ from that league, who hang on & become, as somebody commented on a forum, “King of the Gringo’s”. A genuine novice league results in no such thing, the winning club will have a significant number of riders upgrading & a likewise in new riders coming through, otherwise they won’t accrue points, the ‘Entry League’ winning club will be a club to join for development & progression.

Points Allocation

You’ll see that I’ve allowed a crossover of junior & female riders in the events, to allow riders with higher aspirations to compete up a level, whether for training or ability, this can only help them progress too.

The ‘Entry League‘ events would be classified as Regional C+, would be 4th category male entry & as British Cycling guidelines a max time of 90 minutes. So if we assume we’ve got a bunch engine in there who can ride at that speed on the front, I’d say limit these to 60km. Women of any category can ride these according to the BC guide, so to avoid 2nd category women being forced to race against 2nd category men in the Advanced League, these should be open to 2nd & 3rd category women (I have a later blog on Women’s events, so hold fire for 4th category women’s racing on that). The British cycling guidance on this is quite open on the C+ category of races, so it looks like it’s one that can be ‘tailored’ to suit.

Entry League Summary:

  • British Cycling Event Classification: Regional C+ (max 60km)
  • Open to: Male 4th category, female 2nd & 3rd category, junior 3rd & 4th category.
  • Points to first 10 riders as follows: 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1.
  • Race licence required for riders to enter, to ensure all licence points are allocated.
  • No individual league standing prizes, or any individual standing published. Overall league club standings only published, but prizes in each event allocated as normal.

The ‘Advanced League‘ events would be classified as Regional A, male entrants would be 2nd & 3rd categories (4th are allowed in the rules, but to make the league work, I’d suggest we don’t include them, unless in areas where filling the field is an issue). Female riders of all categories can be included.

Advanced League Summary:

  • British Cycling Event Classification: Regional A (Minimum 80km)
  • Open to: Male 2nd & 3rd category, female Elite, 1st & 2nd category, junior 1st, 2nd & 3rd category.
  • Points to first 15 riders as follows: 30, 25, 21, 17, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
  • Race licence required for riders to enter, to ensure all licence points are allocated.
  • No individual league standing prizes, or any individual standing published. Overall league club standings only published, but prizes in each event allocated as normal.

Notes:

    • To upgrade to 3rd category, a 4th category rider requires 10 licence points in one season.
    • To upgrade to 2nd category, a 3rd category riders requires 40 licence points as a 3rd cat (So going from 4th to 2nd in one year, you need 10 to get 3rd cat licence, then another 40 to get your 2nd cat licence).
    • To upgrade to 1st category, a 2nd category rider requires 200 licence points as a 2nd cat.

The Theoretical League

So to see how this works in practice, I’ll define this using a theoretical example of a league comprising 12 clubs, each allocated 5 riders in a 60 field, each club promoting one race per season. I’ll ignore the Elite league in this for now, as riders in that are beyond the development phase & one of the purposes of the league system is to try & get enough riders with points to fill that league with E/1/2 riders.

So with 12 clubs, our theoretical league is split equally (it may not be this way in practice, but that’s up to the league, and demand). Each club has access to both the ‘Entry League’ & the ‘Advanced League’ by promoting an event. So in our theoretical league, each club has five 4th category riders (plus a load of novice riders pondering racing) & five 2nd or 3rd category riders. The 6 ‘Entry League’ events will create one 3rd category rider out of each race winner, with 10 points, we than have an additional 37 points allocated from 2nd to 10 places in each race, that’s 222 points across the 6 races, enough to promote an additional 22 category riders to 3rd category. If we multiply that up, across Scotland with 6 similar leagues running, we have 36 race winners guaranteed promotion to 3rd cat & theoretically 132 others (it may be 1/3 to 1/2 that number in practice, due to various licence points being allocated to various riders).

It all adds up, the theoretical ‘Advanced League’ has similar stats, with a whopping 165 licence point allocate in each event, that’s 990 across our theoretical ‘Advanced League’. Enough to allow a very good number of Scottish former 3rd category riders into 2nd cat licences & access the ‘Elite League’.

Remember that all these points are being allocated to riders who are part of hard-working clubs who promote events, otherwise they wouldn’t gain entry to the league system, or have their club listed on the club rankings. You’ve got to be in it to win it.

So what does it require

We need the following:

  • Geographically local clubs, for ‘Entry League’ events who can field enough riders for a minimum 30 rider field (see the ‘Entry League’ blog for costings). I’m thinking especially places like the West Coast away from cities could benefit, currently places like Fort William, Oban, Mull etc have clubs, but Argyll is all covered by WOSCA, which is of little use to them. They could form a mini league & can probably attract riders from further afield if required, there’s no minimum number of events, it doesn’t have to be a huge league, it can start small.
  • Scottish Cycling can help by bringing their Regional Development Officers on board & forming introductions, these leagues don’t need to be formed in regimented regional groups, but ideally geographically local leagues. That way they can expand & contract, divide & join as required, without any definitions, leagues can work cross-boundary, we may not even require a shake up in the regions/centres.
  • Action before the 2014 calendar is put together, this involves more than anything else, some communication between clubs. You don’t need approval by anybody to run a league, you need cooperation. It would be great to have Scottish Cycling involved in something, whether or not they choose these ideas, they can be an active part in a new regional league system.
  • You need one person in each league who can put a spreadsheet together, if you like, I can draw one up & provide an easy club points scoring system, where you just fill in results. This will provide results, then it would be good to have your own blog area where you put results, doesn’t have to be slick, these WordPress blogs (like this one) are very easy to use, and they are free.

This blog will be getting updated as a thoughts form, this is draft 1

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