DerbyWheel, (DW), a new global Professional Keirin concept has announced it will officially hit the boards for its inaugural season in 2024.
Two years in the making, DerbyWheel will bring the often thrilling environs of Keirin racing to a global audience, having previously been a closed domestic enterprise in Japan and Korea where it continues to be a hugely successful spectator sport.
DerbyWheel is a Professional Keirin League with equal accessibility for the entire cycling family, looking to grow the economic model of track cycling to support riders, venues and federations across the globe, all with the ambition of bringing Pro Keirin racing to the masses.
Keirin racing has a rich history, beginning in 1948 in Japan. In its homeland, the Keirin is raced primarily on outdoor 400m tracks and is all about sports betting, being one of only five sports that it’s legal to bet on. DerbyWheel will establish events across multiple territories utilising indoor 250m velodromes to bring more intensity to the traditional format. It will also be the first time many Japanese and Korean Keirin specialists will go head to head against international riders bringing a new dynamic to the racing as east meets west on the velodrome boards.
Over 400 riders from 33 countries are currently registered to race within the league, with the first DerbyWheel induction centres – located in the UK, Korea and Australia – confirmed to take place in December 2023 and January 2024. Riders who complete the induction will be eligible to race the inaugural season in 2024 and will be grouped in one of three classes – Special, Excellent or General – depending on their ability.
The team behind DerbyWheel is an expert international team with decades of experience of developing Pro Keirin in Korea and Japan, and over 20 years organising major international track cycling events. Many well-known cyclists around the world support and join in Derbywheel. Olympic Keirin silver medalist Ross Edgar joins as the DerbyWheel Director of Sport.
Speaking about the launch of DerbyWheel, Ross Edgar said: “I was immediately excited about the vision of DerbyWheel. As a former track sprinter and Keirin medalist the benefits were clear for the sport, particularly for riders.”
“In professional track cycling, only a small percentage of riders reach the pinnacle of the sport and compete for Olympic medals. DerbyWheel will provide a steady platform for current and developing riders to perform and continue their careers for longer and continue doing what they love.”
“It was an honour to be invited to ride the Japanese Keirin, through my career I would have spent almost a year racing there and had many memorable experiences – it was something all western riders hoped they would get invited to. I wish DerbyWheel had been around when I was a rider, so I’m excited to be part of the team bringing this to life for the current and future generations of track sprinters. In my opinion, Keirin really is the best race on the track.”
Details of the DerbyWheel 2024 season will be announced later this year. More information can be found at www.derbywheel.com