Podcast: Napa Beginner League Wraps Up
Back on September 20, BMX News ran an article reporting on the success Donny Robinson and the volunteers of North Bay BMX in Napa, CA. Last Friday, that first league season finished up, with 39 of the 40 riders originally signed up still participating. News caught up with Donny and Ray Gomez, North Bay BMX Track Operator to hear what they learned in the pioneering five week league experiment, and what’s next for the riders who participated.
The basis of the Beginner League program is something called “Structured Participation,” which means that riders sign up for a full five-week “season” of racing, with practices and race days on specific days and times (Wednesdays and Fridays, in the case of the North Bay league). And most important, beginners only ride with beginners—the program is run at a time when other BMXers are not at the track.
The riders in the Beginner League are all USA BMX members (in the case of this first season, riding on a 7-day, plus a 30-day membership), and once a rider completes his/her second season in the league they are automatically moved up to the “open Racing” in the local program–with a full USA BMX membership as part of the deal.
In this podcast, Ray and Donny speak candidly about the program, and how it very-well may be the medicine for the local program our sport has been seeking for so long.Click Here to Listen
Donny and Ray will be launching a second League season in early November, and we are anxious to see how their early success with this program carries forward into future seasons—ultimately adding more riders to the North Bay BMX “open racing” program (which is League-speak for the regular local program).
A Big BMX News thanks to Steve Greco of JustCuz Racing for coming out to the track to capture these photos of the very-first BMX Beginner League season.
*Full Disclosure: Developing the Beginner League concept has been a personal passion of mine for the past seven years– since it was first discussed in a 2009 VintageBMX.com thread. Over the past 18 months, Donny’s feedback and input has been critical in taking the over-arching concept to the final stage so we could move into real-world trial of the concept. Though the framework of the Beginner League is something I am intimately familiar with, having developed much of the protocol, I am interviewing Donny and Ray to hear their unique story of actually running the program for the first time. /MC