Ranking Rider Last Race Events
USAC Points calculation
Note: A small field adjustment has been applied to the following rules. If there are between 5 and 9 riders we use the top 5 for quality and all riders for average.

A riders ranking going into every race is calculated from the average of their 5 best results in the past 3 months.

Rankings are set between 0 and 600 points. Fewer points means you have a better ranking. So the goal is to earn the fewest points possible.

In general USAC summarizes the ranking system as follows; “to improve ranking, a rider must beat riders who are currently ranked stronger.” This is a true statement but has some nuances, which we will discuss below.

The points system has 3 critical calculations: Race Quality, Points per Place, and Ranking Points.

Race Quality

The Formula for Race Quality is as follows:

Race Quality = (Average of the best 5 riders finishing in the top 10 places) x (0.9)

If you take any race and only look at the top 10, out of those 10 the riders with the top 5 best points are the 5 critical riders that define the Race Quality. For a race to be a high quality race 5 racers with a strong USAC ranking need to be in the race and they need to finish well. It is interesting to note that the 0.9 factor is applied to Race Quality to ensure that at a minimum a race is valued at 540 points, so that even in fields where there are not any racers with USAC ranking points it is possible to obtain a better USAC ranking.

There is an exception to the Race Quality equation. If the average of all of the riders who finish the race is lower than that of the average of the best 5 in the top 10 then the Race Quality is calculated using the total race average points instead of the average of the best 5 in the top 10. This exception applies as long as the field average is higher than that of the lowest points finisher in the Top 10.

Here is an example the Race Quality equation:
RacerPlaceUSAC Points
Racer A 1 250
Racer B 2 200
Racer C 3 400
Racer D 4 220
Racer E 5 500
Racer F 6 350
Racer G 7 300
Racer H 8 280
Racer I 9 540
Racer J 10 330
Out of the top 10 racers we first need to select the top 5 points scorers. In this case this means Racer A, B, D, G, and H have the best points.

Race Quality = ( (250 + 200 + 220 + 300 + 280) / 5 ) * 0.9 = 225

If for some reason the average of the entire field’s points was lower than 225, but higher than 200 (the best points in the top 10) then the field average would be utilized in the Race Quality equation.

Points Per Place

The Points per Place is an important calculation as it defines the difference in points a rider would receive by finishing one place higher or one place lower. Points per Place is calculated as follows:

Points Per Place = ((Average Ranking of Finishers - Race Quality) * 2) / (Finishers - 1)

If we used the example above and assume that there were only 10 racers in the field the Points per Place would be as follows:

Points Per Place = ((337 - 225) * 2) / (10 - 1) = 24.88

Rank Points

Finally using the results from the Race Quality and Points per Place calculations an individual’s points can be calculated.
Rank Points = Race Quality + [(Riders Place - 1) * Points Per Place]

Continuing with the example above a rider in first place would receive points as follows:

Rank Points = 225 + [(1 - 1) * 24.88] = 225

The points received by all of the racers in the example would be as follows:
RacerPlaceUSAC PointsRace Earned Points
Racer A 1 250 225
Racer B 2 200 249.88
Racer C 3 400 274.76
Racer D 4 220 299.64
Racer E 5 500 324.52
Racer F 6 350 349.4
Racer G 7 300 374.28
Racer H 8 280 399.16
Racer I 9 540 424.04
Racer J 10 330 448.92

In order to see the impact of the field average ranking and the number of finishers in a race, an additional set of examples are shown below. Race Quality is held constant at 225 which allows for a simpler comparison.

Race AttributesOriginal ExampleExample AExample BExample C
Race Quality225225225225
Average Ranking337337400400
Number of Finishers10502550
Points per Place24.884.5714.587.14
In examples B and C it might look like moving the average ranking from 337 to 400 is only a small move, but this represents that all racers outside of the top 10 would average a ranking of 550. In the WSBA region this is exaggerated, but is likely as many of the WSBA riders have very poor rankings and any unranked racer would be counted as 600 points.

Given these new examples the earned points would look as follows:

RacerPlace USAC Points Original Example: Example A: Example B: Example C:
Racer A 1 250 225 225 225 225
Racer B 2 200 249.88 229.57 239.58 232.14
Racer C 3 400 274.76 234.14 254.16 239.28
Racer D 4 220 299.64 238.71 268.74 246.42
Racer E 5 500 324.52 243.28 283.32 253.56
Racer F 6 350 349.4 247.85 297.9 260.7
Racer G 7 300 374.28 252.42 312.48 267.84
Racer H 8 280 399.16 256.99 327.06 274.98
Racer I 9 540 424.04 261.56 341.64 282.12
Racer J 10 330 448.92 266.13 356.22 289.26
Racer Y 25 550 - 334.68 574.92 396.36
Racer AX 50 550 - 339.25 - 403.5
The additional examples show that field size can have a significant impact on the points earned without changing the top 10 results! In the original example the racer in 10th received 448.92 points while in example A the racer earned 266.13 points; a difference of nearly 200 points!

Thanks goes to Jim Wood (WSBA Cyclocross Director) for compiling the above explanation