One month to go… what do we know?

DerbyWheel’s exhibition event has been announced for 26-28 April 2024, in Newport, United Kingdom. But for an event just one month away, very little detail has been communicated.

Where will the event take place?

Newport is the home of the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales. Opened in 2003, it is an indoor 250 metre wooden track, renamed in 2018 to honour the Welsh winner of that year’s Tour De France. It has a modest seating capacity of 500, but has hosted British national elite, junior and masters championships in the last few years, as well as 2023’s UCI C2-level CymruVelo Track Cup.

Who will be competing?

DerbyWheel says 56 male and female riders from around the world have been invited to race in the test event. Curiously, with one month to go, only one name has been publicly announced. But it’s a big name: Im Chae-bin, the winner of Korea’s Grand Prix Championship in 2023 (source).

Current Irish sprint and keirin champion Orla Walsh has said she will begin competing in DerbyWheel from late April, which can only mean the test event – but she didn’t say so specifically.

How do I get tickets?

Short answer, you can’t. The majority of DerbyWheel events will not be open to the public – and DerbyWheel CEO James Pope told The Piste Take podcast that Newport will also be ‘a behind closed doors private event’, laid on to test broadcast, data and equipment arrangements.

So how can I watch?

Pope told The Piste Take that ‘every single race will be on our YouTube channel’ – so it’s safe to assume that the test event will also be livestreamed on YouTube. Global Keirin understands that the racing sessions at the Melbourne and Manchester induction weekends were streamed on YouTube, but were ‘unlisted’. DerbyWheel racing will also be offered to third-parties such as online betting platforms and broadcasters.

What will it look like?

Pope has warned that the experience will look very different to Western audiences – but not to those watching in Korea and Japan. Racing in Japan and Korea often takes place in near-empty arenas, with spectators and gamblers following via video feeds. Riders in DerbyWheel will wear the same brightly coloured and numbered jerseys as seen in Japan and Korea.

Is there prize money?

We believe so. DerbyWheel had previously announced a prize pot of US$ 700,000 for the test event: however, that number has been removed from the website. Documents posted on the DerbyWheel website have suggested that riders could take home a maximum US$ 44,000 from a standard total prize pot of US$ 600,000.

Is it definitely, definitely happening?

Yes… as far as we know. DerbyWheel has previously announced and then cancelled plans for its test event: Global Keirin has seen dates at London and Manchester in the past. But this is the first time that the plans have been communicated beyond a single line on a website, or in any kind of detail. DerbyWheel President DJ Hyun confirmed the date in his open message to cyclists around the world.