Why are Foreign Riders Allowed to Race the Grands?

November 28, 2017 by  

USA BMX Grands
“As someone still new to the sport and just experienced my first grands. Why are riders from other countries allowed to compete at Grands?

Is Grands the US National Championship? Or does the US technically not have one and this is just a race? I’m asking because I was asked by family and honestly didn’t know the answer.”

—Nicholas Michael, Florida (via Facebook)

The USA BMX Grand National is an open race for all-comers, foreign and domestic. And that really is an excellent thing.

It’s the largest BMX race of the year–on Earth. USA BMX wants the best competition in the world to come to Tulsa, and race with the best racers in the United States. And they do!

The Grands is well-known as the place where talent from abroad gets recognized by the largest BMX audience in North America and, by extension, the rest of the world.

In the past decade, I am reminded of seeing Sam Willoughby for the first time in the US, riding for Yeti (next year, on Factory Redline). Also Ryan Martin, who lit up the 13 Expert class in a way previously-not-seen, two years ago. Add to that, countless Colombianos, Aussies, Kiwis, Brits, Dutchies, Frenchies and more, who have posted great results on the biggest stage in BMX, and have made a name for themselves as a result.

If I were addressing your family asking the question, I would tell them (in addition to the above) that the “championship” element of the Grands is not confined to this-one race, which is contrary to most other countries’ chamionships, the UCI BMX World Challenge, and even USA Cycling championship races, all of which are decided on one day.

The Grands allow anyone to race, but still sets the table well for major, down-to-the-final-feet-of-the-final-lap, competition among those who want to compete for the most-coveted titles.

The USA BMX Grand National IS a championship, in the most comprehensive way possible.

BMXers (of any residency) who want to compete for USA BMX National Age Group (NAG) and/or National titles and rankings race in their choice of 26 USA BMX national races on the calendar.

As they race those nationals throughout the year, they earn points toward a year-end score (for 2017, their best-seven races are counted). The Grand National is the final score of the several races each rider races.

For those coveted NAG and National rankings, points matter, not where someone lives, and anyone who wants to compete can compete.

I hope this answers the question.

SPEAKING OF GRANDS! We spent Monday driving home, but are getting our photo set from the weekend ready, and will have them up sometime today!

—Mike Carruth

*A big BMX News thanks to Nicholas Michael for posing the original question.