There are going to be more than cars racing in Speedway this year.
The town of Speedway, Italian-based racing company Dallara, and promotions firm IndyCar Experience on June 1 will sponsor the first Tri West Speedway Criterium bicycle race on a 0.9-mile closed course in downtown Speedway. The course will run on Main Street, Gilman Road, Allison Way and 10th Street. The event, which will feature competition in several classes, is expected to draw more than 400 competitors and thousands of spectators.
The race, which could draw contestants from beginners to professionals from across the Midwest, will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The event will also include a family fun festival, a bicycle-decorating contest for children, and a cycling obstacle course. Sponsored by the Speedway Trails Association, the children’s and community events will begin at 5:30 p.m. near the start/finish line at Gilman and Main streets.
Speedway officials jumped at the chance to be part of the event as a way to draw visitors to the newly revamped downtown, said Barbara Lawrence, Speedway town manager.
“We think this is going to be an amazing event, and we’re encouraging people from Speedway to come out and be a part of it,” Lawrence said.
The Speedway race will be part of a three-day race series, including competitions on the following two days at Eagle Creek State Park. The total purse for the three-day event will be $9,200, according to officials for locally based race promoter Planet Adventure.
Planning began last October, said Planet Adventure co-owner Matthew Jourdan.
“The town of Speedway is all about racing, period,” Jourdan said. “When town officials found out about our plans to bring a three-day event to the west side, they wanted to be a part of it. Dallara’s IndyCar [chassis] factory was right on the course, so they made a natural partner for us and the town to host this event.”
Planet Adventure sought to bring a three-day bicycle race to the west side because “those are the types of events where people tend to stay for a couple days and patronize your hotels and restaurants," Jourdan said.
Although the race course in downtown Speedway is relatively short for a bicycle race, Jourdan thinks top cyclists will average speeds of at least 27 miles per hour for 40 minutes on the circuit.
“It’s not all that usual to have a new bike racing course open up, so this is really special, especially since it's in the racing capital,” Jourdan said. “This five-corner course has a little bit of everything, and I think the racers are really going to like it. We think this is an event that will grow in the years to come.”