If you want any more evidence of how far Team GB's success has brought track cycling into the mainstream consciousness – over and above seeing the team's stars hawking various healthy foodstuffs on the telly – then look no further than quintessentially British toymaker Hornby, who are releasing a track cycling Scalextric set to coincide with the London Olympics.
That's right: come Christmas day you'll be fiddling with connectors and filing contacts not to rant a Formula 1 car round a tiny Silverstone but to pit a plastic Matt Crampton against a plastic Chris Hoy in a living-room sprint heat. And all for a very reasonable seventy notes. What aspiring track star could resist?
Actually there's a few reasons why you might want to. For all that the track cycling bandwagon is an interesting one to jump on from road.cc's point of view, it doesn't actually look like it'd be that exciting to play. The track is less an oval, more of a rectangle with rounded corners, and there's no overtaking. It's a pity there isn't a crossover piece like there is on the Digital Pro GT racing set (okay, that is £299...) which would make for some interesting racing. As it stands you've got one rider on the blue line and one on the black, and we all know how that'll end... Whether or not you'll be able to port your riders to your standard Scalextric track for a bit of criterium racing is unconfirmed, and Hornby aren't planning a road racing version so far as we're aware.
The riders (from Pocket Lint)
The riders themselves are powered by a kind of sidecar affair; obviously there's no room in the model bike for a motor, unlike Cancell[snip! ....Ed]. It looks a bit odd, but once you got into the heat of racing you'd probably forget all about it. The riders are taller than cars, but given that all the heavy gubbins is still down by the track they're probably not that much less stable. The set comes with two GB riders; whether you'll be able to buy some Aussies or Kiwis to pit your wits against remains to be seen.
The set will be avialable to buy from the Summer, and you'll be able to get it from the offical London 2012 shop, www.london2012.com/shop, when it lands.
Thanks everso to the nice chaps at Pocket Lint for letting us use their photographs of the set from Toy Fair 2011.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.