BMX racing has been an organised sport with a governing body in this country since the early 80's. There are currently over 30 affiliated BMX Clubs in the UK alone. BMX racing became an Olympic sport in 2008.
The National governing body for BMX racing in the UK is British Cycling. They host the BCBMX National Series at various tracks around the country and also the annual British BMX Championships. BMX racing in the UK is a family sport that is open to all ages (The National BMX Series has 28 age-group categories!).
BMX races are held on an off-road track, typically around 300-400 metres in length, with a maximum of 8 riders in a race. The start gate is usually on a slope descending into a series of jumps and banked turns (Berms). Races (Motos) last for one lap, first across the line wins.
Most areas of the country hold Regional races, where a rider can enter as a beginner in a Novice class and work his or her way up to Expert when they feel they have gained enough experience. Clubs also run Local races with the same structure. A very big plus for those new to the sport in the Novice classes, is getting the opportunity to win a trophy at every race!
Always take things slowly at first, walk the track without your bike to get a close look at the layout of the jumps and berms. Watch how the experienced riders take the jumps, berms and lines around the track. Use club practice/training and track sessions to gain knowledge of the track and give you more confidence.
The start is the most important part of a BMX race and you need to practice the gate sequence and timing. If you get a bad start you will find it harder, and have to fight your way up through the pack.. not ideal. Most top rider's work on their starts more than any other aspect of racing.
Remember that there is a gradual progression when starting BMX racing, and getting to No.1 is not going to happen overnight..
Safety and Rules
BMX racing is an exciting and extreme sport, but it can be dangerous if you do not follow some basic safety rules.
- Replace any worn or broken equipment on your bike before riding.
- Always wear your safety equipment at all times while riding the race track.
- When racing, always have a full set of pads on your bike.
- Be aware of other riders around you on the race track.
- Always ride the correct way round the race track.
- Take your time and do not attempt difficult jumps until you feel ready.
- Leave your riding area clean and tidy.
Like all sports, practice and training to become a competent rider takes time. Your local BMX Club can give you all the training, advice and encouragement you need to get you started.