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The Future: Is Cycle SpeedWay The New Gold Sprints?
Judging by some comments and the high fives from racers, I think there is real interest in a future of Cycle speedway in Portland. “It was what I wanted to be. It was rough, rowdy, and super fun,” said Sundover about the turn out. “People got hurt, but none severely injured. Except my boss Kyle, he separated his collar bone during his moto, but sometimes that’s the price you pay for leading by example.”

During the event I was approached by several folks who wondered if we were going to keep the track for a race series. Other bike companies in the area have since expressed interest in sponsoring subsequent races. “After the event, I received an email from Tim Metcalfe, who does some work for the British Cycling’s Cycle Speedway Commission, asking me about the event and asking me if I plan to do more.” Sundover added, “It is something that I am really interested I think that is something that would take off here.”

Beyond Portland, I expect awareness of the sport in the States to grow in the coming year. From April 16th -25th of 2011, the World Championships of Cycle Speedway will make their way to the US soil, when Edenton, North Carolina will host several days of racing, including the first ever women’s World Championship race. From a race organizers perspective I’d like to find a permanent outdoor venue and run a more traditional race.

In the days and weeks after the event the question I was asked more than once “Is cycle speedway the new gold sprints?” Like gold sprints, speedway racing appeals to a broad spectrum of participants and is a sure crowd pleaser. The track is pretty small, and the feel is intimate. But there is also speed, bike handling and contact, in addition to the all out effort of short sprints. It must be said though I’m a fan of riding my bike, and actually moving in space. I find it tough to sit on a trainer for any length of time, and though I’ve never gotten into gold sprints as a participant, I have enjoyed a good time at every one I’ve attended. The fact that you can set up a comp anywhere, and draw a good crowd, can make for a pretty fun evening. The chance that you’ll find an indoor venue on a Friday night for some speedway racing is pretty rare. But I do see a future of the sport, because like bike polo and gold sprints, it is accessible to all types and skill levels of riders.

Dan Powell talked his way into a job in building bikes at his local shop 1997, and he’s never looked back. Since then he’s worked at 7 different shops, lived in a 1964 Ford Econoline van in the parking lot of Bike Magazine where he was an intern, and most recently co-founded Portland Design Works in 2008. You’ll find him anywhere beer, bikes and good times converge.