The first two rounds of the Scottish BMX series took place a couple of weeks ago on the weekend of the 19th & 20th of March. The racing was on the track at Broadwood stadium, the home of the Cumbernauld Centurions BMX Club. The whole Scottish BMX community turns out to support these events, with organisers, volunteers, commissaires and racers from the Centurions, Western Titans and Musselburgh Monarchs.

As RDO, I was heading to the event to support the organisers, and also to expand my knowledge of BMX racing – until now I’d only experienced the madness of the British BMX series coming to town. On the Sunday morning, when I arrived at the event I was handed a bike, full face helmet and plenty of padding! A massive thank you to the organiser for letting me race – it was the best way to properly experience and learn more about BMX racing. I came last in each moto, but learnt more each time, and had a great experience racing.

From my first dabble into BMX racing, here’s the top 5 things I learnt:

1. It’s quite a work out!

Although it’s a short race (40 seconds, and only 4 corners) it’s really physically taxing. You have to pedal furiously on the straights and your upper body gets a work out on the pumping sections. That’s not to say you have to be super fit to race BMX – anyone can give it a go – but be aware that you will hurt the next day!

2. Do some practice laps

I was lucky enough to get practice in with Raymond from the Centurions who patiently coached me around the course. You can roll every jump so don’t worry about having to be able to get big air, and the berms will comfortably take you around the corners. It’s worth getting plenty of practice laps in though as you don’t want to hit that big kicker on the first lap and find yourself two foot in the air! Make sure you arrive early, and take your time, focussing on different sections and skills each practice lap – and it’s worth doing at least one at ‘race-pace’ too.

3. Get the right gear

You’ll need a full face helmet, and either tear-proof trousers or knee and shin pads to be compliant with the rules. Gloves are also a must, and elbow pads are a good idea too! You want to wear something comfortable, that allows you movement, but will prevent you from leaving half your skin on the track should you crash. Obviously a BMX specific bike is essential too! If you want to get involved but are short on kit, then contact your local BMX club and they might be able to help you out.

4. Brush up on the terminology (or ask someone!)

As with all cycling disciplines there’s quite a bit of specific terminology used only for that sport. A heat is referred to as a ‘moto’ – you’ll do three of these and your results are added together with the best placed riders progressing into the final. The categories may also seem a bit confusing – but can be merged to create better racing opportunities – check with the commissaire and sign on team and they’ll get you into the right category.

5. Get your race-face on!

You’re now ready to race! It’s a friendly, accessible and fun racing discipline that all the family can take part in. Mums and dads and children all race on the same track, and as the races are so short, you can be straight back trackside to cheer on your friends in the next moto. The Scottish regional events are a good starting point, and you’ll always get a warm welcome at the events. Once you do one, you’ll be hooked!

Find out more about the Scottish Regional BMX series here.

Results from the second round of the Scottish Regional BMX Series can be found here.

The Scottish Regional BMX Facebook page is here.