The hosting of the BMX World Championships in Birmingham is already having an impact on the national scene with unprecedented numbers of both spectators and competitors taking part in the early rounds of this year’s National Series.
The opening of the indoor track at the National Cycling centre has been the biggest beneficiary of this influx so far, and what is clear from the statistics is that Go-Ride is playing its part.
The first two rounds of the National BMX series saw a staggering number of riders, with over 850 riders competing respectively. Round three also had an impressive turnout with 542 competitors across all the categories, although that figure alone does not tell the whole story.
Of the 542 riders, 387 of them were aged 16 and under and nearly all of those were from one of the 30 Go-Ride clubs present at the event!
Given that these 30 Go-Ride clubs account for 11.5% of all the Go-Ride clubs in England, it is remarkable that they all went to one venue, on the same day to compete in cycle sport.
The fact that 71% of the field was under 16 highlights just how successful BMX as a discipline has been at utilising the resources provided by British Cycling such as Coach Education, Go-Ride Racing and the Cycling Award for Young Volunteers to engage young people and helping them progress into racing.
Building on strong foundations
It also highlights something unique about the structure of the sport that inspires young people to race. From the outside the whole package on offer includes the format of the racing, facilities on offer, and the number of peers to compete against and the opportunity to emulate and compare themselves against elite riders that are also present. These factors will all contribute to providing an exhilarating experience for young people that for the riders involved might trump other disciplines.
These factors will all contribute to providing an exhilarating experience for young people that might trump other disciplines. Logistical and safety reasons may mean that the event structure is unrealistic in comparable events in other disciplines such as Premier Calendar events in road racing. However, one of the recurring themes discussed across the recent Go-Ride Conferences was how clubs might be able to recreate the inspirational factors seen in the press at their club activities.
Each discipline has its own unique selling points that will engage young people and one of the many ideas from the conferences included using a helmet camera to show how an inside pass in Cycle Speedway or bunch riding at speed in road racing are just as exciting as the jumps and berms of BMX.
Come the end of the weekend the riders will all return home and back to their club activities and if the Go-Ride clubs keep doing what they are doing at the moment, the future of BMX looks very bright and there may be even more growth and startling statistics to report on in the future.
This article first appeared in the summer edition of the Go-Ride Magazine.
Download a copy here