CYCLE SPEEDWAY REFEREES’ GUIDE

(1) INTRODUCTION

This guide is intended to assist with the interpretation of the sport’s racing rules and regulations, which referees must enforce at all times.

(2) GENERAL CONTROL

A match referee is the key player in determining how a meeting is conducted. In addition to enforcing the sport’s rules and regulations, the referee can greatly influence the tone and atmosphere of a match.

In this respect, the referee sets the tone of a match by his demeanor, appearance, time keeping, consistency and control, as well as his ability to make the right decisions when racing incidents occur.

All parties within a match, be they riders, team managers, officials or referees, are affected by nerves to varying degrees. It is up to the referee to understand this and not to inflame any situations, but to handle situations in a calm, confident and composed manner. The referee should set the tone for the match by carrying out his duties in an efficient manner, applying fairness and consistency throughout. A key action is when the referee holds his pre-match talk with riders (and team managers). It is imperative that the referee exerts his authority in a firm but friendly manner, stating the issues that he feels will be important on that day (e.g. if track conditions are slippery, concerns about team riding in an individual event, history of bad feelings between the two teams).

The referee must always show respect and courtesy to riders and officials, and not abuse his position by demeaning or unfairly treating riders or teams. An inconsistent referee will not retain respect from riders or team managers.

Politeness – “please” and “thank you” and a smile in the right place diffuses difficult situations before they arise. An air of authoritarianism is often met with resistance!

Riders, officials and spectators have not come to the match to watch and listen to the referee playing solos on the whistle. Unfortunately, the best referees are never the star of the show and they are, paradoxically, invisible. One of the best compliments a referee can receive after a match is “I never noticed you, referee!”

(3) PRE-MATCH CHECKS

3.2 CHECKING BIKES

The main theme of checking bikes is to ensure that health and safety is given the highest priority. For instance, it is not enough to make sure that the wheel spindles are within the regulations. You should also check that, where a spindle has been sawn down, there are no sharp “burrs”. Sharps should be rounded off with a file. Check also for other similar items which create additional risk and can cause possible injury such as broken spokes (these should be removed) and long seat bolts (these should be sawn

(4) COMMUNICATION

Whilst racing is in progress, referees should communicate with riders WHERE POSSIBLE when an infringement is about to be committed. Remember, the rule book does NOT obligate referees to warn riders about leaving room, crossing another rider, etc. (a popular myth is that a rider is entitled to a warning!) but no referee likes to exclude a rider. However, a sudden infringement of the rules is nevertheless an infringement of the rules so don’t feel bad about excluding a rider who has offended whether you’ve warned him/her or not.

A referee should always clearly communicate his decisions to the match announcer, so that all competing riders, officials and spectators are kept fully informed as to what is happening. Such practice will greatly reduce the need for referees to have to speak directly to team managers and riders during a match, thereby reducing the possibility of direct confrontation and subsequent unsavory incidents. The referee should also listen to the announcer to make sure that the information being announced is correct, and if necessary instruct the announcer to correct the information conveyed across the public address system.

(6) INTERPRETATION OF RACING REGULATIONS

6.1 STARTING PROCEDURES

Riders have one minute to reach the starting rest line once the referee has blown the whistle. When riders are asked to move forward, allow them time to get ready, but watch out for riders delaying the start deliberately or taking excessive time.

Stand in front of the riders at the gate –leave plenty of time (between 2 and 5 seconds) before asking if “all riders are ready” and then indicate to the announcer to put the riders “under starter’s orders”. Riders are not permitted to raise their hand once the “order” has been started.

Referees need to be firm with riders who make little or no effort to steady themselves at the start, thereby delaying the progress of the meeting, as well as unsettling their opponents who have complied with the referee’s instructions.

6.2 MOVEMENT AT THE START

A major area of variation in interpretation is with regard to rule 7.7.6 whereby ‘Referees shall use their discretion if there is distinct noise around the starting area or adverse weather conditions.’

Some referees take this to mean that if there is any noise around the circuit when a rider moves before the start, then a re-run with all four riders shall be called. Others take the view that only a distinct noise, such as a spectator slamming a car door shut or shouting ‘go’, warrants a re-run with all four riders should one of them move before the start.

The former interpretation has led to allegations that there are riders who regularly take a chance on getting a flyer, safe in the knowledge that they will be allowed in the re-run simply by claiming to the referee that there was a noise.

Regulation 7.7.3 states that ‘The riders shall then look straight ahead and watch the tapes.’ Referees should take the view that riders should be conditioned to watching the tapes and moving only when the tapes move, and not by going off a noise.

Thus, the interpretation that referees are to follow is that riders shall be excluded for movement, unless there was a distinct noise and not a general background noise from spectators talking and moving.

6.3 INCIDENTS WITHIN FIRST HALF LAP OF A RACE

Should be treated no differently than from the rest of a race, as an offence on the first bend is still an offence. Quite often, riders who fail to get the race to go their way on the first turn will cheat by, for instance, placing an opposing rider over the boundary and therefore gain a re-start from a benevolent referee. Placing an opponent over the boundaries is against the rules, regardless of where this happens in the race, and the offending rider should be excluded. However, use common sense on the first turn where bunching is the main cause of a re-start and no rider is to blame. In such an instance, only award a re-start “with all riders” if you are satisfied no offences have been committed. NEVER order a re-start with “all riders” if you are sure that (a) particular rider(s) HAVE committed an offence – exclude the offending rider(s).

6.4 CROSSING INSIDE BOUNDARIES

The regulations state that:

A rider who forces his opponent over the inside edge shall be excluded.

A rider who purposely crosses the inside edge in order to gain a re-run or advantage shall be excluded.

Further guidance on incidents are:

A rider who sharply cuts across the path of another rider when less than one machine length in front shall be excluded.

A rider who crosses the inside edge when behind the leading rider shall be excluded, unless the leading rider has cut sharply across the path of the following rider.

6.5 DIVING INSIDE AN OPPONENT

A rider diving inside his opponent when entering the corner may use reasonable force in the form of arm/elbow/shoulder contact with his opponent’s arm/elbow/shoulder, provided that he turns the corner and follows the racing line on exiting the corner, without causing his opponent to either fall or leave the track. In this case, no exclusion should occur.

Should the referee consider that the move constituted excessive force, resulting in the passed rider falling or leaving the track, then an exclusion to the passing rider should occur.

Should the referee consider that the passing rider failed to turn the corner at the apex and forced his opponent to the extremities of the circuit, then an exclusion should occur.

No exclusion should be made to the passing rider if the referee considers that the passed rider has fallen or left the track, either due to a lack of basic bike handling skills or deliberately in order to secure an exclusion for his opponent.

6.6 IMPEDING AN OPPONENT

The following examples constitute obstruction and should all result in an exclusion.

Forcing an opponent to the extremities of the circuit (either inside or outside) so that he is unable to maintain a reasonable racing speed.

Slowing down the speed of a race in order to baulk the progress of the following rider(s), thereby effecting a change of racing positions.

Using excessive force to stop the progress of an opponent.

6.7 LOOKING SIDEWAYS OR BEHIND

This practice in itself does not constitute obstruction or dangerous riding, but often alerts a referee of a rider’s intention to commit an act of obstruction or dangerous riding. An exclusion should only result when an act of obstruction or dangerous riding has actually taken place.

6.8 RIDING ON ONE WHEEL

This practice in itself does not constitute obstruction or dangerous riding, and is often used as a celebratory move to add some colour to the event. An exclusion should only result when the act of riding on one wheel results in an act of obstruction or dangerous riding actually taking place.

6.9 USING A FOOT AS A BRAKE

This practice constitutes obstruction when a rider uses his foot as a brake by deliberately placing his foot on his own back tyre (or on the ground) to slow his machine, in order to obstruct the rider(s) behind him. This practice should result in an exclusion.

This practice does not constitute obstruction when a rider performs this manoeuvre when on the outside of an opponent, in order to effect a switch and move inside his opponent, without impeding another rider. However this practice is dangerous and should also result in an exclusion.

6.10 RAMMING (also known as ‘Boring’)

This is an illegal act, whereby a chasing rider dives hard inside his opponent on entering a corner, with the intention of not attempting a clean pass but to charge into his opponent’s back wheel. The result is usually that the leading rider is either knocked off his machine, or loses control and speed through sliding due to having his back wheel knocked sideways.

A referee can often spot a rider’s intention to ram before the offence actually takes place. In order to effect a ram, the chasing rider will usually signal his intent from half way along the straight. The speed of the rider and the line taken into the corner are generally such that the rider could not take the corner cleanly without charging into his opponent and effectively using him as a brake.

6.11 LEGGING (also known as ‘Hooking’)

This is an illegal act whereby a rider’s leg comes into contact with an opponent’s wheel. The opponent may be blocked, pushed into a slide or knocked off his machine. The act of legging may be deliberate or accidental. Some acts are very obvious, some not so. Incidents tend to happen very quickly and are not always easy for referees to spot.

There are a few areas that referees should look out for:

Observing whether the offending rider has looked down or across to see where his opponent’s wheel is before committing the offence. If so, this would suggest intent.

Observing whether the offending rider’s left leg has kicked back to make contact. This would be an excludable offence. If the leading rider’s leg remains stable, he should not be excluded if his opponent runs into his leg in the corner. However, this situation would constitute obstruction, and therefore warrant an exclusion, if a rider’s leg is used to block his opponent on the straight, either on entering the corner or on exiting the corner, when it would be reasonably expected that riders should be pedalling at that point.

A difficult one for referees to call is when the leading rider has been rammed by his opponent. In order to keep his balance, his natural reaction is to kick his left leg back. The consequent clash often results in both riders falling. The referee must decide, based on a split second’s incident, whether the leading rider was rammed or whether the chasing rider was legged without committing a ram. If the referee considers that there was a ram, then the chasing rider should be excluded, irrespective of what happened later. If the referee considers that there was a leg, but not a ram, then the leading rider should be excluded.

7.6 EXTRA TIME ALLOWANCES

Riders who are programmed to have two races in succession in an individual event, shall now receive three minutes allowance, before the referee blows his whistle to signify that riders have one minute to reach the rest line.

7.8 COMPLETION OF A RACE

A rider is deemed to have completed a race when the first part of his front wheel crosses the finishing line, provided that the rider is in contact with his machine.

7.9 RIDERS RETURNING TO THE PITS

Riders must continue around the track in an anti-clockwise direction only to return to the pits after completing a race.

7.10 STOPPING A RACE

The duration of the race completed will be that completed by the riders involved in the incident when the incident occurred, and not necessarily that completed by the race leader when the race was stopped.

7.12 INTERVALS

If all Team Managers agree to continue racing without an interval the Referee should comply.

7.13 LAPPED RIDERS

Any rider who is lapped will be excluded from the race. In addition, a rider shall be deemed to be lapped, and therefore excluded, if he is interfering with the course of the race (i.e. affecting the attention, speed and / or position of riders coming round to lap him / her).

7.14 USE OF VIDEO EQUIPMENT FOR DECISION MAKING

Referees are not to use video or other recording equipment before making a decision.