BMX rac­ing is an extremely excit­ing sport open to rid­ers of all ages, mak­ing it great fun for all the fam­ily. Up to eight rid­ers race, Moto-Cross-style, around a 300-400m track, with jumps, bump and berms (banked cor­ners). The excite­ment and pop­u­lar­ity of BMX rac­ing have caught the atten­tion of the Inter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee and BMX is now an Olympic sport.

With many clubs and tracks up and down the coun­try, it is very easy to get involved. Read on, as you will find out most of what’s needed to get started in this fan­tas­tic sport.

Got a bike?

There are two dif­fer­ent types of BMX race bike: the 20 inch (your every­day BMX bike with 20 inch wheels) and the 24 inch cruiser (a slightly big­ger bike with 24 inch wheels). You don’t need a top of the line race machine to start with, you just need one that can get you around the track and meet the basic require­ments (more of which later).

Who races BMX bikes?

Rid­ers come from all areas and back­grounds, start­ing from four years of age and run­ning up to forty plus. They race against rid­ers of their own age or abil­ity group. Fam­i­lies involved are usu­ally inter­ested in bikes, com­pet­i­tive sport and the phys­i­cal and men­tal ben­e­fits of being active. It is com­mon for the whole fam­ily to be involved with the par­ents act­ing as coaches, mechan­ics, chefs and cheer-leaders. This fam­ily angle turns race days into real Events!

Is your bike OK?

Before you go out there on the track your bike needs to meet some basic require­ments. You will need to remove any pegs or chain guards. Your brakes should work well and your tyres should have good tread on them. If the ends of your grips are torn, you will have to use bar end caps or replace them. You will need a num­ber plate to race with; the club may have some spare ones for you to use.

Get some safety gear

Now that you know where to go to race your bike, all you need for rac­ing is a hel­met (sorry — not one designed for road use or Dirt Jump­ing!), a long sleeved shirt, long trousers or jeans and gloves. Rub­ber soled skate­board or ten­nis style shoes are rec­om­mended and although elbow pads, knee pads and shoul­der pads are not essen­tial, they are always a good idea! If you have an open face style hel­met, a mouth guard is rec­om­mended. Most clubs have hel­mets that you can bor­row when you first start riding.

Get­ting signed up to race

When you get to the track the first thing to do is to find where to reg­is­ter. Usu­ally it’s inside a small build­ing or trailer/container. Here you can sign up to race and also become a mem­ber of the club and British Cycling. If you are under the age of 16, you will need parental consent.
You’re on your way so read on.……

Study the Track

After you’ve com­pleted the forms and signed up to race, there are a num­ber of things you should do before you get on your bike. If you have not checked out the track by now, you should do this next. If prac­tice is going on, it is a good idea to watch the other rid­ers and see how they deal with the track and the jumps. This way you’ll not get caught out when it is your turn.

Races

A race is con­tested by up to 8 rid­ers, with the first over the fin­ish line win­ning. A race meet­ing usu­ally con­sists of a series of “Motos” or qual­i­fy­ing races, from which the most suc­cess­ful rid­ers in each cat­e­gory will progress to a series of ride-offs, cul­mi­nat­ing in a Final to pro­duce an over­all win­ner. At big events, races start in quick suc­ces­sion, with the rid­ers from one Moto hardly com­plet­ing their race before the next race is charg­ing out of the start gate. This non-stop action and the sheer num­ber of rid­ers make BMX a com­pelling spec­ta­cle and a great day out for rid­ers and spec­ta­tors alike.

Race time

It’s time to go rac­ing. This is the moment you have been wait­ing for. It would be impos­si­ble to tell you not to be ner­vous — Pros who have raced for years still get ner­vous every time they line up on the gate, but that ner­vous feel­ing is part of what keeps peo­ple com­ing back to race BMX over and over again. Make sure you are ready at the back of the start hill for your race in plenty of time, around ten races before yours if it is a big meet­ing. Do not be fright­ened to ask the other rid­ers what to do — it will be a good way for you to get to know them. The start is the most impor­tant part of any race. When the start gate drops, ‘snap’ (i.e. a quick start) is essen­tial. How­ever, skill is just as impor­tant as power and the best rid­ers com­bine both qualities.
Above all, enjoy BMX Rac­ing. Con­tact us for fur­ther information.