Track cycling: The Derny

The derny is a small motorcycle (90cc) used in track cycling for motor-pacing. A derny team consists of a derny ‘pilot’ and the bicycle rider. Up to six teams ride against each other in these events (which often form part of a six-day race’s programme). Success in this event rests not only on good legs, but on clear communication between pilot and rider.

He’s a sprinter on the road, but on the track, Elia Viviani is an endurance rider. Above, behind the derny in Gent. Credit: Getty Images

Regular visitors to track events cannot easily forget the large amounts of blue smoke which permeate the track during derny races. On the one hand this creates a very special and nostalgic atmosphere. On the other, we can understand why these days electric dernies are being introduced.