Here, we have a cinder track, 90 meters long (or, less than one-quarter the length of a running track.) We have four competitors riding modified cruiser bikes—equipped with freewheels, but no brakes. We have a full contact event, with racers skidding through turns, shouldering and swerving to prohibit passing, and frequently crashing in mass pile-ups. We have a winner, when one of them crosses the line after just four breathtaking laps. Here, we have the nearly 100-year-old officially sanctioned British discipline of cycle speedway racing. It’s no wonder the nation that thought up this wild sport now dominates the Tour de France.
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