Tomo and I are starting to get pretty excited about this year's Keirin Grand Prix. It's the biggest race of the year for pro keirin, and the winner will take home an incredible ¥100,000,000. Only the top scoring riders of the season are invited.
These shots are from the GP preview issue of Keirin magazine.
This year I was thinking of betting on Yamazaki-san (above). He's quite the dominator. But then I went to pick Wakatsuki-san's brain about who to put my money on, and he gave me the low-down and wrote out this little explanatory note for me:
This breaks it down into which riders are working together, and what their roles are. From Wakatsuki-san I gathered that there are three basic types of roles, Senko, Makuri, and Maku(mark).
Senko means an attack to get a gap with one lap to go, Makuri means to come around on the final straight for the win, and Maku means to mark another rider's attack and nip him at the line at the last second.
So: The Murakami brothers are teamed with Ichida-san. with Murakami Yoshihiro riding senko with the other two riding maku. Hirahara and Takeda form the next combination with Takeda as senko (I guess we could call this the "lead out" position in English) and HIrahara taking makuri duties. My man Yamazaki-san is with Olympic silver medalist Fushimi-san and Sato-san, riding senko, makuri/maku and maku, respectively. Finally, last year's winner, Ebine-san is a lone wolf riding makuri style.
Curiously, all this information is common knowledge to the punters, and even published in the newspaper. I would think the racers would like to keep their tactics secret form their rivals, but what do I know.
In any case, it should be fun! Here's a vid of the 2009 edition, won by Ebine-san:
-Oh, and Wakatsuki-san's pick? Fushimi-san. We'll see...