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Move aside motor racing – Scalextric Olympic cycling set

January 30, 2011

Fantastic! I am quite a Scalextric fan from childhood but also more recently having young boys who also enjoy hitting the slots.

This story from the Guardian Bike Blog.

For more than half a century the interlocking plastic jigsaw of a Scalextric track has been the British child’s introduction to the glamorous world of motor sport. Now the nation’s youth have another form of transport on to which they can project their fledging high-speed dreams: the bicycle.

In an innovation which highlights both the increasing popularity of cycling and an imminent deluge of London 2012-themed merchandise, Scalextric today unveiled a set in which a pair of Lycra-clad British Olympic track cyclists race each other around a velodrome.

On show for the first time at the British Toy and Hobby Association’s annual trade fair in London, the set – featuring a banked oval track and a pair of crouching riders – is scheduled to go on sale in September and will cost £74.99.

The previously niche sport of track cycling has taken on a new lease of life, particularly among young people, since Team GB’s astonishing velodrome success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which saw riders such as Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins take seven of the 10 gold medals on offer. In the wake of the 2008 Games the small number of velodromes around the country saw trial ride sessions booked up for months.

Hornby, the venerable British toy group which owns Scalextric, is rolling out a range of 2012-themed merchandise in the coming months, including commemorative Corgi die-cast vehicles and even an Olympic-branded train set.

It is not strictly the first time the track racing toy has featured non-motorised figures – the smaller-scale Micro Scalextric, aimed at younger children, already features a Simpsons-branded game in which characters from the show race each other on skateboards.

The velodrome set was welcomed by cyclists’ organisation the CTC. Alex Bailey from the CTC said: “It looks fun and reflects the fact that cycling is once again becoming a mainstream activity in the UK. Perhaps the next Chris Hoy will earn Lewis Hamilton’s salary.” He also noted the one flaw of a racing game based around an oval circuit: “Bagsy the inside track.”

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