Timing, Photo Finish and False Start Monitoring for Track Races

This discussion has an associated proposal. View Proposal Details here.

Comments about this discussion:


I think the last UNICON has shown which problems can occur with the timing of the track races if the used timing system is not a fully automatic system. The fact that the achieved performances at the UNICON were not recognized as World Record has been the consequence.

In order to avoid something like this in the future, the world record committee would like to specify which requirements a timing system must fulfil so that the times measured with it can be recognised as World Records -  but making such requirements is not useful without including them in the rulebook - at least as a recommendation with the hint that they must be fulfilled for world records.

I would therefore like to briefly introduce how I would like to see such a rule.

In my opinion, there are two essential requirements for the timing system that the system must be tested for and for which the system must have a certificate of accuracy:
1. The System must record the finish through a camera positioned in the extension of the finish line, producing a composite photo finish image of at least 100 images per second, ideally 1000 images per second (to make sure, that the resulution of your timing system is higher than the accuracy of the published results).
2. The System shall be started automatically by the Starter’s signal, so that the overall delay between the start signal and the start of the timing system is constant and equal to or less than 0.001 second (to make sure that the error from the starting system is is one order of magnitude less than the accuracy of the published results).

In addition to fully automatic timing systems, I consider electronic false start monitoring to be an important contribution to reliable and verifiable world records in track racing. Therefore such a system should at least be recommended by the rulebook as well.

A false start monitoring system must be able to reliably detect a crossing of the start line before the start signal. From my own experience I would say that with a false start monitoring without technical equipment, false starts from about 250 ms before the start signal are only recognizable for experienced judges and with concentration on a single rider, from about 100ms they are practically no longer recognizable. But especially with the short distances these times can be decisive.

Maybe further rules are necessary in connection with this, e.g. how to align such a photo-finish camera and a fals start monitoring sysem and how to determine times from the photo finish image.


I agree to implementing this in the rulebook, except your last paragraph. Undoubtedly not all photo-finish cameras are the same, and the same goes for false start monitoring equipment. Besides, such systems may further develop in future. This will affect how you align them and process the results. I think it is sufficient to specify in the rulebook what we want such systems to achieve, e.g. in terms of accuracy.


Klaas, in the other disscussion you wrote:

"A related question is: whom do you assign a false start to, in case a false start has appeared? Swiss Timing assign a false start only to the earliest (and too early) starter. I don't know if this is a technical limitation, or done on purpose. If A start 400 ms too early, and B starts 200 ms too early, is B to blame? I doubt it. Riders are tense during the start, and it is difficult not to respond to someone who starts riding. I would propose that in general, only the earliest false starter per start is 'punished'."

I think the rulebook is already very clear:

2C.3 Starter Responsibilities

[...] It is only the earliest false starting rider who gets assigned this false start and might get disqualified. [...]


My own false start monitoring system shows the start-times for each individual lane, and so I can see every false start - but only the earliest false starting rider gets warned or disqualified.


Sorry, I missed that. The deadline for submitting proposals is rapidly approaching, which makes me hurry and not check enough before posting.

Thanks for setting me straight, it is indeed covered for Track racing. (It doesn't seem to be for Road racing, which I address in Discussion #133.)


Due to the organisation of the Rulebook with different sections for riders and officials, this rule does not appear in the rider section, that's probably why I missed it. And many riders might miss it too. But hey, the typical rider is not spelling out the Rulebook anyway.


Are there any comments from other members of the committee?


I agree with you!

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