BMX racing is one of the most exciting forms of cycle sport both to watch and take part it. It’s highly technical and requires strength, nerve and tactical ability by the bucket-load.
There are tracks springing up around the country and it’s one of the cheapest forms of cycle sport to get into. With categories for all ages, BMX is a real family affair.
Top BMX racers are highly-trained sprint athletes with superb bike control, quick reactions and nerves of steel. But don’t let that put you off – BMX is more accessible that you might think, with clubs and tracks throughout the country offering taster and coaching sessions for riders of all ages and abilities.
Races usually last well under a minute and are run off in quick succession, meaning that it’s an exciting non-stop day for riders and spectators alike.
BMX racing bikes are simple and strong, with a single gear and usually just a rear brake. Standard BMXs have 20 inch wheels and there are micro and mini and junior sized bikes for younger riders. There’s also a larger 24 inch wheel cruiser class, which is popular with larger or older riders. Although top-class bikes are high tech and expensive, entry level racing machines are more affordable than many other bike types.
BMX racing take place on a growing number of purpose-built outdoor and indoor tracks throughout the country. Made from compacted dirt and tarmac, tracks are around 400 metres long and feature a large starting ramp, banked (bermed) corners and a variety of jumps including tabletops, gap jumps and rhythm sections. The Olympic standard track at Manchester’s National BMX Centre is unique in the UK, an indoor track with an eight-metre high start ramp.
BMX race meetings are relentless, all-day action, which begin with qualifying heats, called ‘motos’. Up to 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 off in quick succession, meaning that it’s an exciting non-stop day for riders and spectators alike. In Britain, there are regional racing leagues, British Cycling’s British BMX Series and National BMX Championships. Racing takes place throughout the year.
Most active BMX clubs offer taster and skills sessions at their local track, allowing you to have a go at improve your skills. Many clubs offer bike, helmet and protective gear hire, allowing you to get a taste for the sport before making a financial commitment.
BMX racing is mainly a spring and summer sport, although a number of regions run winter leagues. Races are accessible, friendly and family oriented, often with a number of generations taking part in the same meeting.
Due to the exciting, explosive and non-stop action, together with the compact nature of the tracks, BMX is one of the most spectator friendly forms of cycle sport. At local and regional events, its usually free to spectate, with bigger events sometimes charging for entry. Why not come along to your local track and show your support? You never know, you might end up riding the next one!
Support the sport by volunteering your time and skills at your local BMX event. There are opportunities for a variety of roles including timekeepers, judges, and scrutineers. British Cycling has a range of volunteer education courses to support your development.