NEW TO BMX?
USA BMX memberships are required annually but if you’re still unsure and just want to give BMX a try, USA BMX offers a free one-day trial membership so all you’ll need your first day out is the race fee and a parent’s signature if you are a minor.
USA BMX uses 4 criteria to determine a racer’s classification for competition—age, gender, proficiency and wheel size. As BMX racing is a sport for kids of all ages, even big kids with kids of their own, you will be matched against riders your own age and proficiency or skill level whenever possible. Everyone — boys and girls — begins in the NOVICE class. Upon winning 10 races, Novice boys move into the Intermediate class, while Novice girls move into the Girl class. But while Girl is the highest proficiency level in the sport for amateur girls, Intermediate boys—after 20 more wins—move into the Expert class; the highest proficiency level in the sport for amateur boys. Finally, there are two bike categories, based on wheel size/diameter—20” wheel BMX bikes called class bikes, and 24” wheel BMX bikes called cruiser bikes. The 20” bikes are the required size for all Novice, Intermediate, Girl and Expert competition, while the 24” bikes are the required size for all Cruiser competition. But while the cruiser classes, like the 20” classes, are age and gender based, they are not divided into the novice, intermediate or expert proficiency levels.
*At any given USA BMX race, if there are not enough entrants to form a legal class, racers may be matched against racers of different ages and proficiency levels as per USA BMX race rules
Once every racer in attendance has been entered into the day’s event, our Track Operator will print and post Moto Sheets. These sheets list the order/number of races or “motos”, riders competing in each moto, assigned bike numbers and rider serial numbers, as well as starting gate numbers for each of the three qualifying rounds and the Main Event. Remember, for the most part you will be racing others that are your same age and proficiency. It takes 3 riders to form a legal class and motos are built according to a specific set of rules. The moto sheet will give you the specifics about how your race will be run. Sometimes, you might race in a transfer race, where you will “qualify” for the Main Event. Other times, you might find yourself in a “total points” race, where all riders will race 3 times. If you have any questions about how your race will be run, head back to the sign-up area and ask an official.
So, now let’s stage ‘em up! Staging is that area comprising the back of the start hill, the starter’s booth or tower, the starting pad, and the start gate itself. A track official or “stager” will be on hand to help remind you of your lane assignment and guide you into a staging “chute” and then onto the gate when it is your moto’s turn to race. Each of the gates or lanes should be clearly numbered 1–8, with Gate 1 always on the inside lane and Gate 8 always on the outside lane of each track. For tracks with a right-hand first turn, Gate 1 is farthest right. For tracks with a left-hand first turn, Gate 1 is farthest left. The starting gate is hydraulically powered and is synced with both the starter’s vocal CADENCE and 4 starting lights that will flash red, yellow, yellow, green to signal the dropping of the gate. That’s when you go!
riding & racing:
“Riders ready? Watch the lights.” That is the cadence you’ll hear from the starter as the gate is about to fall in front of you for the very first time. Before you go all out, first take a moment to scope out the track. Watch a few laps of practice and memorize how some of the good riders are going around. Take mental notes of where they ride in the turns and where they pedal and where they stop pedaling. Keep in mind that, in the beginning, you probably wont be able to jump like they do; that will come in time. Your first few laps around the track should be slow. Take it easy. By all means, don’t go all-out on your first lap! Take time to familiarize yourself with the course so that you know what jumps are coming up and what it feels like to go over them. It will be totally different once you take the track at faster speeds. As you’ll soon find out, a good start can be the difference between first and eighth, so we’d suggest working on your gates as much as possible. And remember that all-so-true saying, “Practice makes perfect.” So… practice, practice, practice.
More racer info can be found at: www.usabmx.com