Hi, Rich and all,
Very nice info. But if I may add a little. I recall I could not go to see the race because I was under 18, because of the legal gamble game. But they were looking for young riders who can become a pro someday, so they let us (middle-high school kids) try to run on track. 1000 meter (3-1/3 round??) zero start, I remember I thought I would be dead by third turn. Very very physical, steep bank, solid concreat, very narrow pass, and I was totally scared off! I never thought about to go back practice or do more trial.
Keirin riders are very serious pros, they practiced a lot on the road. I used to see a guy had a pair of legs, each one was as big as my waist! (Then, I was about 26" though). He could go up very steep hill with fixed gear 48-14T, while I was struggling 46-21. One of our member who was in Japan also saw a Keirin racer practing with an old car tire dragging on the ground.
I understand that they have very strict safety standard and insprctions, but I am not sure how modern Keirin races are carried out. Maybe Mr. Noda in Japan can comment more about frame insprctions etc, since one of his friends and frame builder were involved in annual Kerin frame inspections.
My 2 yens,
KEN TODA, High Point, NC