Talking cycling with David Fell from Revolve24 Australia
Next January there will be a 24 hour bike race at a new purpose-built motor racing circuit in South Australia. We talk to the event director, David Fell, about Revolve24 Australia at ‘The Bend’…
Momentum is building for Revolve24 Australia, an exciting new cycling event at a new motorsport facility in South Australia. The format has been tried and tested in the UK and the race will debut at ‘The Bend’ in Tailem Bend early next year.
For 24 hours next January, riders will strive to go as far as they can – either on their own or as part of a team. From 3.00pm Saturday 13 January until 3.00pm Sunday 14 January, riders will complete as many laps of the 7.7km circuit as they can.
There are prizes – for the individual competitors, as well as teams of two, four, six or eight; over the full 24 hours (or the six- and 12-hour options). There’ll also be awards for fastest lap and, surely, plenty of celebrations for the wide range of conquests that will be achieved in this inaugural event.
You can race it hard or simply turn up, participate (or spectate) and savour the vibe.
RIDE caught up with the event director, David Fell, to find out more about the new niche of racing – or riding, depending on your approach – that will be part of the festival of cycling surrounding next year’s Santos Tour Down Under.
“Revolve24 is a cycling endurance challenge,” said Fell. “Really it’s appealing to a whole range of cyclists – from people who are considering qualifying for the Race Across America right through to the people who are doing it just to compete, just to say, ‘I did it with my friends’, through to people who are doing it for charity.”
Get a full overview of what Revolve24 Australia is about, see RIDE Media’s interview with the event promoter David Fell (above).
The evolution of cycling continues and although 24-hour races on motorsport circuits have really begun to catch on in Europe, it’s a new concept for the Australian market*.
David Fell has seen what how well received this format of cycling is in Europe; he’s taking a gamble and bringing it to Australia.
The venue will be ‘The Bend’ at Tailem Bend, 90km from the centre of Adelaide. By May of next year the “motorsport theme park” will be hosting motor racing in many forms on a facility that has been a few years in the making. The premier event on the purpose-built AUD$100m track, however, will be Revolve24.
The aim is to encourage cycling participation, allow competitors to test themselves, raise some money for the Leukemia Foundation, and generally get enjoyment out of the act of riding a bike. Crucially, it can be done on road bikes in a safe environment without the bother (and cost) of road closures.
Revolve24 Australia is attempting to create a carnival atmosphere surrounding a cycling event that will incorporate old and new themes in the inaugural event. Those who want to watch but cannot make it to The Bend will be able to follow the action via an online data stream that Fell is particularly proud of.
“I’m a little bit of a data freak myself,” he said. “If you’ve ever watched Formula 1 and you see the data you get – fastest lap, average lap speed, distance to the next person, position in the race, segment times… you get all of that in real time. It’s live so you can see it on the app on the phone; your friends who haven’t come to the circuit can sit on their sofa and watch it click over on the website. Or you can see it on big screens at The Bend itself.
“That will give you your individual timing plus the team timing… all the data you could ever dream of and you can share it on Strava to your heart’s content.”
As well as measuring the efforts of riders in Revolve24, the timing experts associated with the event will also monitor (and share) the data collected in the 30 minute warm-up event, a penny farthing race – quite possibly the first race on The Bend. Old meets new: one of the earliest forms of cycling on a world-class modern motorsport facility.
‘The Bend’ motorsport circuit during construction (above). Revolve24 Australia will be the first event on the new, facility.
How far can you go?
There’s already been a Revolve24 in the UK, at the Brands Hatch motorsport track. For three years, riders have challenged themselves in a unique, safe environment – and, in the process of doing so, posted some impressive numbers. There’s more climbing on the British circuit than at Tailem Bend, and the leading team of four this year climbed over 8,848m (ie. the height of Mount Everest) while riding 888km in a day.
“The best soloist at Brands Hatch,” said Fell, “covered 743km.” That’s an average of 30.958km/h, with a whole lot of climbing, for 24 hours straight!
David Fell (above) is committed to three years – at the very least – of Revolve24 Australia.
Fell predicts that the mark to beat at The Bend next January will be around 900km in 24 hours.
“It depends on how hot it is,” he laughs.
Temperatures in January this year varied from 22 degrees Celsius at the heat of the day to 40. The average maximum is 30 during the day, and the average minimum is 14. Chance of rain? Unlikely…
No matter what the weather, the environment is right for an exciting day (and night) of racing in a format that is engaging and enjoyable.
The inaugural edition of Revolve24 Australia comes at a time when adventure racing is providing some growth for cycling. New thinking combined with new technology is helping to inject interest in the sport. Instead of just going through the motions season after season with traditional forms of competition, there are more options than ever for riders wanting to test themselves.
“I see it as more of a challenge,” said Fell about what Revolve24 Australia represents. “You’re challenging yourself, physically and mentally, and you’re saying, ‘Can I do this?’ And you’ve got your team around you – if you’re doing it as a relay team – who can support you through that.
“It’s not a race. Of course we have a prize for the fastest lap, male and female, we have a prize for the King or Queen of the mountains [and] we have recognition for everybody who takes part. And I think that’s the most important thing.
“The fun in the pits is where the atmosphere is created.
“We had some people take part at our associated event in the UK, at Brands Hatch, who said, ‘I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do it – you know, riding around circuit time and time again… but by the time I finished we were sitting on the pit wall going woooo! woooo! wooooo! As Harry did his first sub-seven minute lap!’ That’s where it all comes to life,” laughs Fell.
“You might be competing with the other teams in the pits – ‘Can we catch up with these guys on our next stint’ – that’s all part of the fun and the game of riding a Revolve24 event.”
– By Rob Arnold
– Watch the full interview to find out more of the details or visit: www.revolve24.com.au –
Stuart O’Grady (above) on the circuit at The Bend before the bitumen was applied.
Stay tuned to RIDE Media to find out how you could win a prize pack for Revolve24 Australia for a team of four riders, valued at $952.
Entries are now open to the inaugural event at The Bend (13-14 January). Visit the website to find out more.
*Note: Revolve24 has not been held in Australia before. It is, however, worth noting that there is a history of 24 hour circuit races. As one reader, Adrian Wood, has pointed out: “The concept had been going for seven years in Australia… On a pan flat course the last two year Lee Scurlock won the solo male with a ball-numbing 895km and the teams doing around 943km… so sorry but Revolve is not the first of its kind in Australia.”
Apologies to ‘Delirium 24hr’ and others associated with similar events contested in Australia in the past.