What are the main rules?
From: Kevin Meynell
Layout of track
- The track must be formed by two straights joined by smooth curves that approximate to semi-circles, the inside edge of which must be indicated by a kerb or continuous line painted to contrast with the track surface. There should also be a safety fence around the outer edge of the track constructed of wooden boards or wire mesh (straw bales in Ice Racing).
- A white start line (red or blue in Ice Racing) is marked across the track approximately mid-way along one of the straights. The starting area is also divided into four equal parts (or six parts if there are six riders in a heat) by white lines marked at right-angles to the start line and extending back at least 1 metre. Directly over the start line, a spring-loaded starting gate is erected that supports two or three cotton tapes tightly stretched across the track. It is electrically operated to allow the Referee to start heats remotely.
- FIM-approved tracks must conform to the following dimensions, although national authorities may allow variations for domestic meetings:
- Speedway - Tracks must be between 260 and 425 metres in length, measured 1 metre from the inside edge. The straights must be at least 10 metres wide, and the bends at least 14 metres wide.
- Longtrack and Grasstrack - Tracks must be between 425 and 1300 metres in length, measured 1 metre from the inside edge. The straights must be at least 12 metres wide, and the bends at least 15 metres wide.
- Ice Racing - Tracks must be between 260 and 425 metres in length, measured 1 metre from the inside edge. The straights must be at least 10 metres wide, and the bends at least 11 metres wide.
- 80cc Speedway - Tracks must be between 120 and 200 metres in length, measured 1 metre from the inside edge. The straights must be at least 7 metres wide, and the bends at least 10 metres wide.
- The following officials are required at each meeting:
- Jury - Appointed for FIM and UEM meetings and comprised of a Jury President, a Referee, and a representative of the national authority hosting the meeting. It ensures a meeting (and any practice) is run in accordance with the relevant regulations, it may postpone or abandon a meeting, it adjudicates on protests and determines any penalties, and it approves the results.
- Referee - Exercises overall control of a meeting and is responsible for ensuring all regulations are observed. Inspects the track before a meeting (and any practice) with the Clerk of the Course. Ensures the technical and safety controls are being handled correctly. Controls the running of heats and declares the results. May prevent a rider from competing in a heat or meeting on safety grounds. Has the power to fine, exclude from a heat or meeting, or report to the appropriate authority, any rider or official not complying with the regulations. May postpone or abandon a meeting when there is no Jury.
- Clerk of the Course - Ensures a meeting venue conforms to the relevant regulations, the track is prepared before a meeting (and any practice), and officials and staff are present. Exercises jurisdiction over all officials except the Jury President (if present) and Referee, and ensures they are informed of their duties. Verifies the identity of riders and their eligibility to compete. Ensures no rider or machinery leaves a meeting without the permission of the Referee. Carries out the instructions of the Referee, and notifies him/her of any protests or changes to heat line-ups. Prevents any person from directly communicating with the Referee.
- Technical Steward or Machine Examiner - Ensures the riders' equipment and motorcycles conform to the relevant regulations. May also conduct fuel tests, and impound machinery or equipment for further examination if necessary.
- Pits Marshal - Ensures that only riders, mechanics, officials and authorised staff enter the pits. Ensures that riders are ready for each heat, and are wearing riding numbers and helmet colours in accordance with the programme. Checks the track is clear of obstructions before allowing riders to leave the pits for racing or practice. Opens and closes the gate between the pits and the track.
- Start Marshal - Ensures the starting gate is correctly set-up and functioning, the centre green equipment is available, and the starting area is correctly marked and evenly graded before each heat. Ensures the riders are correctly positioned at the start of each heat. Indicates the last lap and finish of each heat. Signals the exclusion of a rider after being informed of this by the Referee.
- Flag Marshals - There must be at least three Flag Marshals on each bend, who may also act as track rakers if required. They display red flags when the referee indicates a heat has been stopped, and provided they do not endanger themselves, may help a fallen rider move their motorcycle to a safe position off the track.
- Timekeeper - Records the official results, including the time of each heat winner. May assist the Referee in determining the finishing positions of riders.
- Announcer - Conveys to spectators, the starting line-up of each heat, any changes to the published programme, and the results and winning times after these have been confirmed by the Referee. Must be strictly impartial and must not comment on any decision made by the Referee. At FIM and UEM meetings, results must be communicated in English in addition to any other language.
Two-minute time allowance
- Riders are given two minutes warning (three minutes in Longtrack and Grasstrack) of the start of each heat. This is signalled by means of a klaxon hooter or bell audible in the pits, and by flashing amber lights situated in the pits and near the starting line. Any participating rider not ready to start (proceeding under power towards the starting gate) within this period is excluded from the heat.
- The period between the finish of one heat and the start of the next should not exceed four minutes (five minutes in Longtrack and Grasstrack), except when the Referee considers there is a valid reason for further delay. This period is inclusive of the two-minute time allowance.
- Clutch starts are used for all heats.
- The starting positions of the participating riders are determined by the programme. Where no starting positions are indicated, a ballot or toss of a coin is used to determine them.
- On instructions from the Clerk of the Course, the participating riders must leave the pits and line-up behind the tapes in their designated starting positions. The Referee, once satisfied that the riders are correctly positioned and stationary, switches on a green light to indicate that the start is imminent and the Start Marshal must leave the tapes. After a short pause, the Referee releases the starting gate to start the heat.
- Should the starting gate develop a fault that cannot be rectified, the Referee may start a heat by switching off the green light.
- A rider may be excluded from a heat if they fail to proceed directly from the pits to the starting area, make practice starts in a direction other than the direction of racing, take up the wrong start position, prevent the release of the starting gate, or do not comply with the instructions of the Start Marshal.
- Unless competition regulations state otherwise, a rider is excluded from a heat if they touch the tapes once the green light has been displayed. The heat must also be restarted.
- A rider may, provided that the green light has not been displayed, request a delay of any unexpired time awarded under the two-minute rule. The rider must signal the request by conspicuously raising an arm.
- There is a common misconception about the purpose of the marker disc that used to be located thirty metres from the starting line on the infield. Many fans incorrectly believe that riders must ride in a straight line after leaving the starting gate until they reach this point, but the actual purpose was to indicate how far a rider could be assisted by two designated pushers at the start of a heat. Very few riders ever took advantage of this (as a stalled engine effectively put them out of a heat anyway) and the rule has generally disappeared.
Direction of racing
- All solo heats are run anti-clockwise. In Britain and certain other countries, heats involving sidecars or other three-wheeled vehicles may be run either clockwise or anti-clockwise.
Start and finish points
- The start and finish of a heat, or an attempt at a record, occurs when any part of the front wheel of a motorcycle passes over the start or finish line whilst its rider is in contact with it.
Duration of heats
- A heat is held over four laps unless competition regulations state otherwise.
- When riders enter the last lap of a heat, the Start Marshal indicates this by displaying a yellow flag with a black diagonal cross.
- When riders cross the finish line after completing the requisite number of laps, the Start Marshal indicates this by waving a black and white chequered flag. In the event of a heat being stopped by the showing of the chequered flag before the leading rider has completed the requisite number of laps, the heat must be re-run. In the event of the chequered flag not being shown after the requisite number of laps, the result will nevertheless stand.
- Heats held over four laps or less are deemed to have finished when three minutes (six minutes in Longtrack and Grasstrack) have elapsed from the start. At this moment, any riders that have not completed the distance of the heat are deemed to have retired. A rider that has not started their last lap before the winner has crossed the finish line is also deemed to have retired.
- A heat may not be re-run once it has been deemed to have finished.
- Once the green light has been switched on, a rider may not receive outside assistance. Any contact between a rider or motorcycle and another person results in exclusion from the heat, unless this is in the interests of safety.
Foul, unfair or dangerous riding
- A rider may be excluded from a heat if they indulge in foul, unfair or dangerous conduct. When such conduct jeopardises the fair chance of another rider and/or team, the heat may be stopped and a re-run ordered.
Leaving the track
- A rider is excluded from a heat if both wheels of their motorcycle cross the inner edge of the track, unless such action is in the interests of safety or is due to the action of another rider. This rule also applies to the outer edge of tracks that are surrounded by a run-off zone.
- A rider is excluded from a heat if the exhaust system of their motorcycle becomes displaced, detached or damaged in any way.
Not attempting to race
- All riders starting a heat must make a bona-fide attempt to race. Any rider not doing so may be excluded from a heat and may be subject to further penalty.
- The Referee indicates a rider has been excluded from a heat by displaying an exclusion light corresponding to their helmet colour. This may also be indicated by the Start Marshal displaying a black flag and an appropriately coloured disc. A rider must withdraw from the track immediately after their exclusion has been indicated or they may incur further penalty.
- The Referee may stop a heat after an unsatisfactory start or when it would be dangerous for it to continue. This is indicated by the activation of a number of red lights placed around the track. Red flags may also be shown by the Flag Marshals in addition to the stop lights.
- Riders participating in a re-run heat must start from their original starting positions, although some team competitions allow a rider to occupy the starting position of an injured or excluded partner. Any replacement rider must occupy the starting position of the rider they replaced.
- Any rider deemed to be the primary cause of a heat being stopped may not participate in the re-run. No other rider is permitted to replace this rider.
- A rider may not participate in a re-run heat if they have already retired (including not proceeding under power) or been excluded from the heat. This does not include riders that have fallen or left the track in the interests of safety, or who have fallen as a result of being fouled.
- Any rider eligible to participate in a re-run heat but unable to do so, may be replaced by another eligible rider.
- Any rider eligible to participate in a re-run heat may change their motorcycle.
- If a heat is stopped after the leading rider has started the final lap, it is not re-run. Riders are deemed to have finished in the positions they held when the heat was stopped. A rider unable to cross the finish line as the result of foul, unfair or dangerous riding on the part of another rider, or who has left the track in the interests of safety, will be deemed to have finished the heat in the position held immediately prior to being impeded.
- The result of a heat may not be changed once it has been declared by the Referee.
- The authority under whose regulations a meeting is being held, may only change the result of a heat if it considers that a participating rider was ineligible, or that the Referee made an error in recording the result.
- In the event of a rider being excluded from the result of a heat, any following riders are advanced one place accordingly.
- Unless competition regulations state otherwise, points are awarded to riders as follows:
- 4 riders per heat - 1st place = 3; 2nd place = 2; 3rd place = 1; 4th place, non-finisher or exclusion = 0.
5 riders per heat - 1st place = 4; 2nd place = 3; 3rd place = 2; 4th place = 1; 5th place, non-finisher or exclusion = 0.
6 riders per heat - 1st place = 5; 2nd place = 4; 3rd place = 3; 4th place = 2; 5th place = 1; 6th place, non-finisher or exclusion = 0.
- Where two or more riders cross the finish line together, the combined points for the places they would otherwise occupy are shared equally (e.g. two riders finishing joint first are awarded 2.5 points each).
Use of reserves
- Unless otherwise prohibited by competition regulations, a reserve may be used in a heat to replace:
- an absent rider.
- a rider excluded for a starting infringement or exceeding the two-minute time allowance. Not FIM and UEM team competitions.
- a rider unable to ride due to injury to themselves or damage to their motorcycle.
- a rider eligible to participate in a re-run but unable to do so.
- a rider for tactical reasons (in team competitions) prior to that rider leaving the pits. In this event, the replaced rider may be reinstated under iv).
Helmets and protective clothing
- In all heats and official practices, riders must wear an approved helmet in sound condition and properly fitted. The Technical Steward may impound any unapproved helmet, or helmet they deem to have become ineffective.
- In all heats and official practices, riders must wear complete protective clothing made of leather or an approved substitute, which is substantially padded at the shoulders, hips and knees. This protective clothing must include gloves and ankle-length boots.
- In all heats and official practices, riders must wear shatterproof goggles or visors.
- Riders participating in a heat may be identified by coloured helmet covers worn in accordance with the programme. The colours used are: red, blue, white and yellow/black quarters, with green and black/white checks also used for five and six rider heats. These helmet covers must not carry any advertising and must fit the helmet properly.
- The Referee may fine any rider not complying with this regulation, or whose helmet cover comes off during a heat.
- Riders usually wear race jackets carrying a number (and sometimes their name) that offer an additional means of identification. These are provided by a rider's team or the meeting organiser. Most teams participating in organised competitions have their own race jackets in team colours.
- The Referee may abandon a meeting if weather conditions or other unforseen circumstances warrant doing so.
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