The Sydney Thousand set down for Dunc Gray Olympic Velodrome on Sunday, November 27, had the international track cycling set in Moscow scratching heads over what it's all about. UCI vice-president Ray Godkin, who returned on the weekend from the Moscow round of the World Track Cycling Cup and a conference of the sport's head body, presented his colleagues the schedule of events for the Sydney Thousand which includes a match race between Ryan Bayley, the double Gold Medal winner from Athens up against the reigning World Sprint Champion Rene Wolff, of Germany.
The Sydney Thousand, an eight lap handicap with riders beginning from a staggered start, had the international delegates asking Godkin questions about its format and name. Australia's sports promoter Hugh D. McIntosh began the Sydney Thousand at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on a banked concrete track around the boundary, in 1903. The world's best rider at that time, black American Major Taylor and his opponents played to a crowd of 54,000 people - 12,000 people more than can be accommodated at the SCG today.
Godkin explained the "Thousand" part of the race's title was in fact a winner's prize of a 1,000 guineas - a guinea being 21 shillings in the old currency and a fortune in the early part of the last century. The Aussie UCI supremo reported that Russian, German and Japanese colleagues asked about travelling to Australia for the meeting and promoter John E. Scott has indicated he will host them on the day in a hospitality area at the track.
Godkin was stopped in his tracks when one delegate, a Japanese, began a line of questioning on the SCG's name and what "cricket is all about"...