Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
I like the idea of a longer sprint, too, and without a qual. But I also like the short sprint tournament.
So what if the distance offerings are (I'm not advocating the names, just written for clarity):
- Short Sprint (6-8 minutes)
- Traditional Sprint (12-15 minutes)
- Long Sprint (20-25 mintes)
The traditional sprint format is the same. Qual and Final. Individual and Relay.
The long format is just a final, like you say.
And then the short format is a tournament, but one that's more inclusive. Instead of limiting it to 36, replace the qualifier with an extra tournament round. Backtracking from the finals, that's 6 --> 18 --> 54 --> 162 if you go with top 2.
And then don't send people home after just one 6-8 minute race. Take a page from Rugby Sevens, which has lower-tier competitions below Cup for Bowl, Plate, and Shield. Have everyone keep competing in consolation rounds, SART-style.
I do like the rugby 7s format as if keeps all the competition interesting as there is always something to be won or lost