A REPORT into this year's crash-marred Bendigo International Madison has identified slowing the race speed as a way to improve rider and spectator safety at future events.
An investigation by Cycling Victoria chief commissaire Greg Griffiths recommended the Bendigo International Madison committee look at placing a gear restriction on bikes to slow the speed.
The crash was one of two on the night, with an earlier crash occurring when a team made a change, which resulted in one rider being injured and unable to continue the race.
With 132 laps of the Madison remaining a "high speed" crash occurred which involved 12 riders, with multiple riders taken to hospital with injuries.
As a result of the crash a rider flew over the track's fence and into spectator Ross Forster who was taken to Bendigo Health before being transported to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne with facial injuries.
The injured riders were Christian Grasmann, Connor Leahy, James Moriarty, Eiya Hashimoto, Tom McFarlane, Jensen Plowright, Bill Simpson and Alex Porter.
Racing was stopped for one hour, before Mr Griffiths, the event director and remaining riders discussed options to continue the event.
Seven teams were impacted by the crash, and of those only four riders could continue.
Those four riders were allocated new partners and the race restarted with a field of 12 teams and a modified 60 lap structure.
Griffiths noted in his report the crash was essentially a "racing incident", caused by a "poor change" from one of the teams competing in the Madison.
He stated the crash was "exacerbated" by "high speeds" and the riders' position on the track.
Griffith said placing a gear restriction was a "valid possibility" to improve safety.
"Obviously bigger gears allow for greater speed, so limiting the gear used will slow the race speed proportionally,'' Griffiths said in his report.
"The planned increase in race distance should also contribute to a slower speed, which in turn may contribute to a safer race."
Next year's Bendigo International Madison is expected to return to its original distance of 100km or 250 laps - 50 laps more than what the race has been in recent years.
Bendigo International Madison committee secretary Rik McCaig said a decision on gear changes for bikes would not be made without consultation with riders.
"It's not something we're going to make a hasty decision on," he said.
"We want to talk to riders and the coaches first."
Griffiths said regulated tyre checks were also a potential way to improve safety.
"Although not witnessed by myself, or reported to me by any of the commissaries, apparently tyres became detached from rims either during or before the two falls on the evening,'' Griffiths said.
"If this is the case, or even if it is perceived to have been the case, perhaps as an organisation, Cycling Victoria and Cycling Australia, need to investigate a process for checking that tyres are stuck correctly.
Obviously bigger gears allow for greater speed, so limiting the gear used will slow the race speed proportionally.Event chief commissaire, Greg Griffiths
"At the moment, the obligation is on the rider, but this is of little benefit after a tyre has come off and has contributed to a fall. I remember tyres being randomly checked back in the 1970s, but not since."
Griffiths said the Tom Flood Sports Centre track and amenities had not played a part in the incident.
"The Bendigo track is quite wide and has an excellent racing surface,'' he said.
"There are some repairs to be made where some cracking has appeared, but these I expect will be handled during routine maintenance.
"All fences and gates are in good condition and operate correctly. The lighting is also quite good.
"So, I don't see any major rectifications required to the field of play, save for the minor crack repairs."
However, he did recommend changes to where the VIP section of the crowd is situated at the track.
Forster was standing in the VIP area at the final bend when the crash occurred.
"Outside of the field of play, perhaps it will be prudent to avoid placing the VIP area in the bend prior to the finishing straight, moving more in front of the grandstand,'' Griffiths' report stated.
"Although I have seen a rider go over the fence in the back "straight" at Bendigo, the last bend is probably the most likely place if an incident like this was ever to occur again."
McCaig said changing the seating arrangements to improve spectator safety was high on the committee's priority list.
"If we can do something to rearrange seating to ensure safety, we will do it," McCaig said.
"Safety of our spectators is paramount."
Ross Forster has since been discharged from hospital and is still recovering.
Both Cycling Victoria and the Bendigo International Madison Committee have been in frequent contact with Mr Forster and his family.
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