Blackburn - the case for our own velodrome part 1
There's talk of moving Blackburn's track racing to DISC on Friday night, I say emphatically no, and here's why ...
Yesterday I got a call from one of the Blackburn race committee people warming me up for a discussion at the (postponed now ...) committee meeting that was supposed to happen last night.
The gist of it :
DISC may become available on Friday nights, and the person wanted to move our Saturday racing to Friday nights at DISC.
My response is a rigourous and emphatic NO.
The first question to ask is why move to DISC? What's the gain? DISC is indoors so it's unaffected (mostly, it leaks when it rains and it's a furnace when its hot) by weather. Ok.... That's a plus. DISC is wider than Blackburn so you can, in theory run bigger fields in races and DISC is a faster track.
Ok, even if we pay those two advantages, let's look at the losses :
Blackburn's home ground - DISC is in Darebin (duh...), Blackburn's track is local to Blackburn members, DISC is not. If we move our racing the council will lose interest in us (we're not locals any more) risking losing our clubrooms and our local training venue.
DISC is not free for us to use. It costs at present $70p/h to hire including lights - that means that no more cheap entry for the D-F grade riders etc.
DISC is a 42 degree banked track. Great if you're riding at 50km/h+, terrible for novice and club level racing. Really ... How many crashes happen at DISC? Lots. How many happen at Blackburn? Last season, I remember 2 crashes for the whole season. Why is that? It's because DISC is an unforgiving track. The banks are too steep to ride slowly on and any mistakes rapidly turn into crashes. I know many club level track riders who refuse to ride at DISC, and that's fair enough. Blackburn's velodrome isn't a dangerous track, DISC is.
By running races at DISC Blackburn loses its identity. We become just another Northcote or Brunswick. Our Saturday racing at Blackburn has had a real resurgence over the last few years, why break that by moving to DISC for no gain except that 'we can'. "We can" do a lot of things, but I don't think DISC is a good place for club level racing.