World masters gold medallists and record holders Ben Neppl and Johnathan Millington will face off on the opening night of a new series aimed at reviving track cycling competition at Newcastle Velodrome on Friday.
Neppl and Millington won gold as part of the Australian men's 35-44 years team pursuit last October in Manchester. Neppl also won the men's 40-44 3km individual pursuit.
The Newcastle cyclists will have a pursuit against each other on their home velodrome at Adamstown as part of Hunter District Cycling Club's four-week Open Samsung Track Series.
More than $2000 will be up for grabs across scratch, handicap and a team pursuit races over the next four Friday nights.
HDCC have established the series but members from other local clubs, the Newcastle Cycling Club and Hunter Valley Masters, have also been invited to compete.
Craig Chapman, who is on the HDCC committee and Cycling NSW board, said Newcastle Velodrome had not hosted club competitions for about two years and it was hoped the series would kick-start a return of regular track racing and boost membership.
"The good thing about Newcastle is our juniors, our elite and our masters still do the track, but they train there and in Sydney and all over the place," Chapman said.
"As far as club racing, that's the only thing that's declined. The standard or the athletes haven't.
"So it does need to be repaired a bit so this is a step in the right direction.
"It's nice to have the series so let's see what we make of it."
Racing at the velodrome was popular in the 1990s but the focus of Hunter clubs in recent years has turned to road cycling, prompting track specialists to seek competition outside the region.