2017 USA BMX Rule Changes
The USA BMX rulebook is the most mature set of BMX Racing rules in the world. The United States and Canada runs the most BMX events each year, with participation by the world’s largest rider base (some of whom have some very definite opinions on things, and share them openly and reliably).
Throughout the year the USA BMX staff discusses the current rules among themselves, and with members on changes they propose. They keep notes on these discussions, then convene a “rules meeting” with all the items discussed throughout the year to determine what changes, if any, will be made.
At the BMX News Global Command Center, we like to call it “tweaking the dials” on the rulebook (hence the above photo).
Now that the proverbial dials have been adjusted, here are the USA BMX Rule Changes for 2017:
Female Riders in Intermediate
In order to help female BMX athletes that are new to BMX have an easier transition into harder classes, female riders will advance from Novice to Intermediate after 10 wins. This essentially means that Intermediate becomes a genderless class (like Novice). After another 10 wins in Intermediate, the female rider will advance into the Girl proficiency (Expert for females). Alternatively, any female can voluntarily advance to the Girl proficiency (at any time) by notifying USA BMX in writing or simply by signing up in a Girl class at the local level.
Race Of Champions (ROC)
We’ve got a few changes surrounding the Race Of Champions (ROC). The first one is aimed at strengthening the grassroots program, which is a resounding theme throughout the 2017 rule changes. Riders will no longer be able to qualify for the ROC without meeting some minimum requirements in terms of SCR/PCR events or single point races. Beginning in 2017, riders will need to be in the Top 10 of the standings for their age and proficiency as well as meet one of the two requirements listed below:
- Attend the minimum number of SCR/PCR events within your state or province.
- Race in 8 single point events prior to September 15th.
The second change was a direct result of feedback from several Team Managers concerning the Race Of Champions. Beginning in 2017, the ROC will be a “last chance qualifier” for team competition. This will require that Team Managers make sure their best riders are qualified to compete in the second largest race of the year.
Finally, while foreign riders (riders from outside the US and Canada) have been able to race the ROC for years in ANY class, they will now be limited to competing in the open classes ONLY. However, they will be entitled to earn the ROC #1 plate in an open class.
Gold Cup Championships
The DK Gold Cup Championship Series saw some huge changes coming into 2016 with the addition of three more regions. This effectively doubled the number of Gold Cup awards available, but also introduced some new concerns for the riders competing in that series. As a result of the feedback surrounding those concerns, we’ve made the following change. Riders will only be able to earn one Gold Cup plate per bike. After the first plate is earned, if the rider chooses to race additional Gold Cup Championship Final events – they will be removed from the standings for that bike.
For example: if a rider earns a Gold Cup #3 plate in the Expert class, he is now removed from the Expert standings for any additional Gold Cup Finals he might attend. He could, however, earn a Gold Cup plate on cruiser if he didn’t earn one at the first Gold Cup Final event.
The other big change for 2017 is that riders can earn an additional bonus point for every two (2) single point races run on or before August 15th, with a maximum of four (4) bonus points being awarded. This is a very familiar format to the bonus points available toward the State/Provincial Championship Series, but with a deadline date one month later.
Women’s Cruiser Age Groups
In Women’s Cruiser, the 21-25 and 26-30 groups will be combined into a 21-30 Women’s Cruiser class. In 2016, the 20” classes were combined and the end result was a competitive class with increased participation. The other age groups will remain intact.
In 2016, we modified the moto building process to check up in age groups (up to 3 years within each proficiency) to find a minimum of 3 riders to form a legal class. The tracks have informed us that the change may not have accomplished the intended goals, depending on the rider turnout for that event. Therefore, in 2017, we will adjust the number of age groups to move a rider up within Girl, Intermediate and Expert proficiencies to two (2) years – rather than three (3) years.
The Girl classes (female expert level riders) will now check up 2 years in Girls to find a legal class. After that, they will try the Expert class of their age, followed by the Intermediate class the next age up. If they still cannot find 3 riders to form a legal class, they move into the Girl class of that next age up and the process will repeat itself until a class is found.
USA BMX Nationals & NAG Riders
For 2017, USA BMX wants to level the playing field in district racing for riders that attend national events. To accomplish this, we have a number of changes:
- Bonus Points (additional points for quarters and semis) will be eliminated, riders will earn the rider count and finish points (both tripled) only.
- Only riders ranked NAG 1-10 will be removed from the yearend district rankings. Riders ranked NAG 11-20 will be able to earn a district number and given the option to run that number.
- In order to transfer 100% of the main event points (finish points) into your district points total, riders will have to race twenty (20) single point races. Riders will earn 5% of their finish points for each single point race ran. This effectively doubles the number of single point races required to transfer all of the district points earned at nationals.
Junior Men / Junior Women
Beginning in 2017, Junior Men and Junior Women will be able to race in the following UCI events without mandatory advancement into the Pro ranks:
UCI BMX World Championships
UCI BMX Supercross World Cup
UCI Continental Championships
USA Cycling National Championships
Bonus National/NAG Points
Without grassroots racing, national level competition could not exist, so incentivizing participation at the local level (single point races) is paramount to the health of our sport. Beginning in 2017, riders can earn additional bonus points for single point races run on or before October 15th.
Riders will earn an additional 10 national points for each single point race, with a maximum of 80 points being awarded (up to 8 single point races). At the top level (Expert, Girls, Cruisers and Girl Cruisers), this essentially equates to one finish position at the Grands (for positions 1-6 in the main event). This change only applies to NAG and National, not CNAG and Canadian National points.
Naturally, there is healthy commentary out there on these changes, and what other changes “should” be implemented, but all in all, some very positive changes for the new year.
The ones we like the most:
- Female Riders to Intermediate
- ROC Changes, especially the one about foreign riders racing open only.
- Gold Cup riders can earn one plate only per bike.
- Bonus points for racing locally in various places in the changes.
- Helping to re-establish Team USA’s Junior Elite force, via the Junior Men/Junior Women rule changes.
- Reinstating District plates for NAG 11-20 riders.
We are 17 days away from the start of the 2017 national season, at the Silver Dollar Nationals in Las Vegas. BMX News will be there to bring you story and photo coverage from the race.
Comment below to make your voice heard on the 2017 rule changes, and what USA BMX might consider for their 2018 Rules Meeting.