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Keirin - a dream we pursuing

Keirin - a dream we pursuing

Government-approved high-stakes race

Keirin is Japan's public gambling sport, originally established for post-war recovery. Simply put, it's a nationally recognized betting bicycle race. Professional Keirin riders (around 2,300 nationwide) who have graduated from the Japan Keirin School compete at the 43 Keirin tracks across the country.

To become a Keirin rider, one must undergo approximately one year of training at the Japan Keirin School and graduate. The entrance exam for the Keirin School has become more challenging in recent years, with the passing criteria set around a kilometer time trial of 70 seconds or less and a flying 200-meter time of 11.50 seconds or less.

The arduous journey to debut

Riding an NJS steel frame with a gear ratio of 49x15 (3.27) is not easy unless you have a decent level of skill and physical fitness. It's challenging for players without cycling experience in high school or university to reach the passing criteria if they can't achieve around 67 seconds on a carbon bike. In fact, many students take the exam multiple times as repeaters. Since the exam is held only once a year, and you can only attempt it a maximum of five times, maintaining motivation becomes difficult. Of course, as it involves gambling, there are also personal assessments and academic tests. The competition rate is around five times, and although I have five apprentices, it feels like it's challenging to pass unless they perform at a professional level or higher. But the top prize money in Keirin is a whopping over 300 million yen, and recently, the sales of Midnight Keirin have been excellent, steadily increasing the average prize money. It's a dream worth pursuing, isn't it?!

Toshifumi Kodama

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