Perth GP - this is how to do it!
I've ranted about good race programs for ages to anyone that will listen, here's a great example.
Picture this, a velodrome, a sellout crowd, 3,000 people. Food vans, excitement ... Almost everyone staying 'til closing (10:30pm). Thrilling racing.
Where was it? Perth at the Speed Dome. Was it good? You bet!
What was the race program? Over one day, starting at 4pm was sprint qualifying (yes, flying 200's really aren't that exciting, even I have to admit, for spectators!). Then, round 1 of the sprints and some enduro stuff and an attempt by the local JM17 team sprint squad (who had just won the Australian title a week before) to break the Australian record (they didn't, but they gave it a great go, got loads of loud, enthusiastic support from the crowd!) . All over by about 5 or so.
The evening session started at 7pm, with sprints and points races. Then more sprints, a few scratch races which were entertaining - the women's racing was great, full of attacks, due to a strong field of German girls who were determined to light it up. There was an elimination in there somewhere too. Then, short (6 lap) keirins to finish. The field was a second string field on the whole, a couple of world class riders but mostly second tier guys, but that didn't matter, there was great, close racing and the crowd loved it.
So did the 4 sprinters I was looking after. We flew to Perth to race this stuff and all the guys got a full program of racing, no-one left feeling like they'd gone all that way for one ride. I will be begging my masters to let me go to this again and take more sprinters.
All this without a single handicap/wheelrace in sight. Awesome.
If only our Victorian race directors could see beyond the wheelrace occasionally, spice up the program with more sprints interlaced between the endurance races ... This format works and it showcases sprints. If we want kids to race sprint, they need to see it as a priority race at the major events. Austral, MCOW, Sid Pat, PAY ATTENTION. National Junior Track Series (Max ...) guys, look at what the WA guys are doing, it works.
A huge thanks to Darryl Benson and his crew at WAIS for their passion and drive to make it happen. This was a great race program. The rest of us should pay Darryl the most sincere compliment, and copy what he's doing.