It started with a casual conversation at the ILT Velodrome in Invercargill in March with New Zeland Track cycling coaches Tim Carswell and Dayle Cheatley who were about to take their charges to Copenhagen for the World Track Cycling Championships. In between their tortuous final training sessions down on the track we collared the two of them to unashamedly mine them for information on the types of track events which really pack in the crowds around the world.
Early in the conversation Tim piped up, “there’s a window of opportunity later in the year between World Cups,” he said. “When we’re over at the Worlds, why don’t I tap a few guys on the shoulders and see if there’s any interest in some of them coming over for an event between the Melbourne and Cali World Cups in December.”
“Righto” we said, while at the same time wondering how he’d ever find the time to follow through with that statement. A few weeks after he’d returned from his successful Worlds campaign, true to his word he phones and said, “Mate, the response was huge.” And so the ILT Festival of Speed was born.
Over the last four years the ILT Velodrome has been privileged to host some top international talent, but nothing like this. Thanks largely to the work of Tim, Dayle, Justin Grace and co, we have a tremendous opportunity to bring together one of the greatest international track cycling fields ever assembled in New Zealand. Interest is already being fielded from Europe, America, Asia, Australia and of course here at home, guaranteeing some of the best endurance and sprint racing imaginable. We’ve lined up three full nights of full-on racing from December 7th to 9th including the National Madison Championships on the first night of competition.
But the ILT Festival of Speed is about more than just what’s happening on the track. Our aim is to turn this into one major party for three nights. Being a long time sports fan and a relative newcomer to cycling, I don’t think I’ve found a more addictive spectator sport. Certainly the world class facility we are lucky enough to call home in Invercargill helps, but when the gun goes, few sports can match the thrill of track cycling. The ILT Festival of Speed offers a unique opportunity to get up close with some of the world’s best.
Add the calibre of riders to a thumping atmosphere, live music, corporate hospitality options in the track centre, lighting, prize draws and fireworks and we believe we’ve got the perfect combination to launch the sport as a true spectacle to the wider sporting public.
Tickets will go on sale over the next month so keep an eye on www.cyclingsouth.org.nz. You can also register to stay up to date with the event and receive all of the information on the ILT Festival of Speed as soon as it is available by emailing email@example.com or by phoning 03 2173215.
It’s going to be some ride.