Fig 1. A half-height cabinet was required to fit the hardware.


The Speedway Tracking System tracked 4 bikes around the oval dirt course and produced real time 3D coordinates for each rider. Riders were identified based on the colour of their helmet hood.

Following a successful indoor prototype, I created an 9 camera Speedway race tracking system in the spring and summer of 2003. At the time the hardware was quite clunky – Pentium 4s were cutting edge and due to the extreme conditions at the track (i.e. dirt, dust and rocks flying everywhere!) CCTV enclosure-protected PAL cameras was about as high end as we could go on the video ingest side.

Some of the key lessons of this prototype were:

  • Outdoor environments are nothing like indoor environments in terms of difficulty!
  • The more challenging the conditions, the more your camera placement matters
  • Tracking systems must be designed with graceful degradation in mind, as in the real world data degradation is inevitable.
Fig 2. An example race tracked by the system – in this undistorted system display the riders are identified by coloured blobs, and some of the dirt and dust is filtered out of the image

These days one could recreate a system like this in the space of a shoe box for a fraction of the cost, but back in 2003 the prototype required a half-height cabinet due to the form factor of the video ingest hardware and the computers.


  • Three Pentium 4 class computers
  • 9 QPAL camera feeds in CCTV enclosures
  • Automatic tracking of Speedway races
  • Automatic identification of riders

Speedway Tracking System in Pictures – Clickable Gallery