BMX Racing Guide
BMX racing is an action packed, sprint sport where racers compete against each other on purpose-built outdoor or indoor tracks that are around 400m long. Up to eight riders start on a hill and each track is littered with different jumps and obstacles.
BMX race meetings are relentless action, which begin with qualifying heats, called ‘motos’. A maximum of eight riders contest each moto, before moving on through further knockout rounds until the final, which decides the overall winner. Races usually last well under a minute and are run in quick succession.
With its origins in southern Californian dirt track racing, BMX exploded in popularity in the early 1980s. The first BMX world championships were held in 1982 but it wasn’t until 1993 that the UCI integrated the discipline. The sport made its debut at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, which catapulted it onto a global stage.
Today in Britain there are regional racing leagues, HSBC UK BMX National Series and HSBC UK National BMX Championships. Racing takes place throughout the year.
Bikes & Equipment
BMX racing bikes are simple and strong, with a single gear and usually just a rear brake. They are much smaller than a mountain, road or track bike and might feel strange if you are used to any of these already. Standard BMX bikes have 20-inch wheels and there are micro, mini and junior sized bikes for younger riders. There are also larger 24-inch wheel cruiser classes, which are popular with taller or older riders. Although top-class bikes are high tech and expensive, entry level racing machines are more affordable than many other bike types.
Everyone from complete novices to elite riders have to wear the appropriate safety equipment. For a newcomer this can be as basic as some jeans, a long sleeved top, full fingered gloves and a full face (motocross style) crash helmet. Don’t worry if you don’t have a helmet or gloves when you first start out, the Club has a selection of sizes you can borrow from.
Club racing is a great opportunity for new racers to dip their toe into the sport. Ipswich BMX Club holds a Summer Series race every other Tuesday evening. There is no requirement to be a member of British Cycling to compete in a club race.
The East Anglia Region runs a Summer and Winter Series as well as a number of individual events such as the East Anglia Championships that traditionally close the series. For Regional Racing you will need to be a Silver or Gold Race member of British Cycling but do not need to have a race licence.
There is usually a series of 10-12 National race events run as “Double Headers” over 5-6 weekends between March and September. To qualify to race these events, riders who have not raced at national level before must complete at least five Summer Regional level races in the preceding year. For National Racing you will need to be a Silver or Gold Race member of British Cycling and have a race licence.
Our Survival Guide to Racing
The most important thing to remember is HAVE FUN – This is a competitive discipline and yes, it’s an Olympic discipline, but above all it's about a community of people who enjoy riding little bikes around bumpy tracks!
Whether it’s as a rider or parent, BMX Racing can take a while to master on and off the track. Give it time. You’re never too old, too unfit, too slow or anything else. GIVE IT A GO.
Not everyone will make it to the top, but racing will still challenge you, give you opportunities to push yourself and to shine, no matter if you win or never make it out of motos.
BE A GOOD SPORT
You’ll lose more often than you’ll win and how you handle it will get noticed. Racers shake hands after crossing the line.
Race Officials, they’re volunteers, they do it for the love of the sport and we couldn’t race without them.
Expensive parts make the bike better, not the rider.
Practice does indeed make perfect. The best way to improve is to ride, and riding is fun! So what are you waiting for... Go fast and get rad with Ipswich BMX Club today!