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Speed Skating competitions are held at varying levels throughout the skating season, which runs from August to May. Competitions offer an opportunity to put your new and developing skating skills to the test in a fun, refereed sporting environment together with your peers. They are a social opportunity to meet with skaters from other clubs and states and a competitive arena rewarding everyone for effort and recognizing the fastest of the fast.
At a State Level, the Speed Branch offers inter-club competitions (Grand Prix) throughout the season, as well as special 1-day or Weekend Meets, that progress towards a State Championship. Selection to your State Team opens the door to the National Championship – held annually in any of our major cities. Racing at State Level can be categorized on peer or ability-level, as well as age-division.
In March 2011, three Skate Victoria skaters went to the USA to compete in the Masters divisions of 3 separate competitions. The skaters were Tony Court, Craig Hart and Hampar Delice. Please click here for the report.
In May, 2010 Skate Victoria selected a team to represent Victoria at the Korea Open in Namwon, South Korea. Please click here for the report. The following testimonials are from the skaters who competed at this event.
Indoor racing is held on a skating rink (non-Championship) or indoor sports hall or stadium, on a 100m rectangular circuit around 4 corner pylons. The 100m layout used for Indoor Racing is the most standardized of skating circuits. Indoor events are skated on painted concrete or coated timber floors. The level of grip available on the floor depends on a combination of surface material (paint composition), surface cleanliness and surface temperature – adding interesting variables to a standardized competition format.
Indoor events range from Sprints (including individual time trials raced against the clock, and heat-based short sprint races), through to Distance events (such as 15, 30 and 50-lap mass-start races) and Relays (where teams of skaters race each other in a turn-based event). Distances for children range from 300m to 3 km and for adults from 300m to 10 km.
Outdoor (or Road Racing)
Outdoor racing (sometimes known as Road Racing) is held on a range of open-air venues, ranging from purpose-built circuits, closed public streets, parking lots and outdoor sports complexes. Following international guidelines, Outdoor Racing usually takes place on non-symmetrical circuits of between 400m and 600m in length. The layout of Outdoor circuits varies greatly. Outdoor events are skated mostly on asphalt and occasionally on concrete or similar surfaces. The level of grip available depends on a combination of surface grain (amount of surface available to contact the wheels), cleanliness and temperature.
Outdoor events range from Sprints (including individual time trials raced against the clock and heat-based short sprint races), through to Distance events (such as 3, 5, 10, 15, and 20 km mass start races). Outdoor distance events often use unique race formats, such as Points Racing (where competitors race to accumulate the most points scored through intermediate sprints), Elimination Racing (where competitors race to stay at the head of the group while the rearmost skaters are eliminated through intermediate sprints) and Points-Elimination Racing (a high-action combination of the two formats). Relay events (teams racing in a turn-based format) also form part of Outdoor competition.
Banked Track Racing
Banked Track racing is unique to Speed Skating, where purpose built 200m circuits are created with ‘Banked’ or elevated turns to allow closed circuit racing to take place at high speeds – making this form of Speed Skating particularly exciting and spectator friendly. These tracks are generally open-air venues, but occasionally have an all-weather roof constructed over them.
Although there are few Banked Tracks in Australia, this type of track is prevalent in other areas of the world – such as Europe and South America. The World Championships of Speed Skating are held on Banked Track and Road Circuits, while the Australian National Championships are currently held on Indoor and Road Circuits. Banked Tracks are constructed of concrete, asphalt or a layered combination of the two – with the skating surface being finished concrete, smooth asphalt or a painted skating surface.
International Banked Track events are similar to those held on Outdoor, generally with subtle variations to the competition distances (such as a 300m Individual Time Trial on Banked Track, but a 200m event on Outdoor; or 15 km elimination on Banked Track, but a 20 km event on Outdoor). Points, Elimination and combination formats are also used on Banked Track, as well as Relay events.
Marathon, Half-Marathon & Open Road Racing
The traditional athletic Marathon distance (42.195 km) is also contested in Speed Skating. This outdoor event is generally held in Australia on a closed public street course of greater than 1 km per lap and following international guidelines, on a course of not less than 4 km per lap.
A popular event, the Marathon has spawned the World Inline Cup – a world-tour type Speed Skating competition, of long distance events, held in some of the World’s major cities, contested by professional and semi-professional Speed Skaters. Many European countries where Speed Skating is popular have their own National Marathon competitions throughout the Northern Hemisphere summer.
Half-Marathon events of 21 km are also popular with distance skaters and people Speed Skating for fitness. These ‘Open Road’ races (Marathon, Half-Marathon and variations) are held on closed public street courses, contained within a town or city, perhaps circling a landmark (such as a lake) or beginning in one town and finishing in another. Such locations and scenery make this form of Speed Skating unique and popular and cause for many retired former athletes to return to the sport as Masters/Veterans.
Special weekend-long or Multi-Day Events often punctuate the competitive Speed Skating calendar. Your State will often have a number of long-standing events of this type, that typically combine eg. 1-day of Indoor Racing and 1-day of Outdoor Racing into a single competition over a weekend. These events pose a different challenge to Grand Prix competitions, as they test the conditioning of a Skater to perform at their best for 2 consecutive days – in varying race formats and often at 2 or more different venues (each with their own unique surface, track layout and conditions). By combining consecutive days of competition, weekend-long and Multi-Day Events are progressive preparation for athletes wanting to contest State and National Championships that often involve 3-7 consecutive days of competition.
Each State will arrange a State Championship once per skating year. Skaters aged 10 years and over are eligible to skate in competitive divisions at State Championships (following sporting participation guidelines set by the Federal Government) and will represent their local Club at the competition. A State Championship will comprise an Indoor Racing and an Outdoor Racing component and often include a Marathon event. Although able to be condensed into a 3-day weekend, State Championships will typically require 2 days of Indoor competition, 2 days of Outdoor competition and a single day to run Marathon events. State Championship events will generally mirror those to be contested at the corresponding National Championship and include: Individual Sprint, Heat Sprints, Middle Distance, Long Distance, and Relay events (competition between same-Club teams) – on each of Indoor and Outdoor venues.
At the State Championships, skaters will be awarded medals to the first 3 placegetters in each event, as well as recognizing a State Champion for each event and recording a Championship Time per event against a State Record. The State Championship will also generally comprise the selection opportunity for eligibility for the State Team to attend the National Championship. Currently no athletes-per-State limit applies to State Teams, so selection criteria are determined annually by the appointed State Coach and Team Manager.