The USA BMX Pro titles, and those of the ABA and NBL before it, have always been decided based on the results of a season-long series where the riders competed for points and money…all culminating in a final battle at the Grand National. In USA BMX and ABA, that battle-royale (with cheese) occurred at Saturday night’s “Pro Spectacular” in Tulsa.
COVID-19 has up-ended most everything about normalcy and daily routines, and BMX Pro titles are no exception. Though there were three Pro Series events before the COVID break (Phoenix, Sarasota and Houston), USA BMX is out today with news that the 2020 titles will be decided solely by the results at the Grands–with a $25,000 purse for each Elite class, and a $5000 purse for Vet Pro.
Honestly, we had chips on the square that said “2020 Pro Titles Canceled,” for months, so to see USA BMX going ahead with the titles (AA, Women and Vet), AND putting up $55k in purse money (plus another $7500 for A-Pro)– it shows an appreciation for pros beyond what we expected.
Remember the early races of the year? Phoenix only had NINE riders in Elite men. Elite Women had 13. At the Gator Nats in Sarasota, Elites had 11 Men and Five Women, on Saturday.
These numbers caused more than a few to question whether there even needed to BE a pro series–and that was BEFORE the COVID-19 break. “If the riders themselves don’t want to show up, why not just make it Pro Open all the time?,” was the question being asked on social media.
In fact, USA BMX built a little insurance policy into their $25,000 purse offering at the Grands. That payout level requires 17 or more riders in order to “unlock” the $25k purse. If 16 or fewer, the purse will be $10k (which is still pretty rich, as BMX purses go).
Here is part of what USA BMX said, in an email to pro riders:
…Unfortunately, restarting the pro series at this time is an impossible task considering these unprecedented circumstances…
Despite these challenges, we feel it is imperative to crown a 2020 USA BMX National #1 AA Pro, Woman Pro and Vet Pro. Given the uncertainty and financial limitations, we have concluded that these USA BMX titles will be awarded, and solely based, on the results from the 2020 Grand Nationals in Tulsa.
The Grands will feature one day of pro racing for AA Pro, Women Pro, A Pro and Vet Pro on Saturday with motos during the day and the qualifying rounds, NAG 5 Challenge and 3 mains during the Pro Championship Finals. We increased the AA Pro and Women’s Pro Purse to $25,000 each*. As the series will culminate from this one race, all year-end prize money is built into the purse money listed below.
NAG 5 Challenge Men – $2,500
NAG 5 Challenge Women – $2,500
Vet Pro – $5,000
A Pro – $7,500
Women Pro – $25,000*
AA Pro – $25,000*
*17 or more riders are required for $25,000 prize money for AA Pro & Women Pro. If 16 or less riders, prize money will be $10,000
This decision and the current challenges are some of the most difficult our staff has faced in the company’s 43 year history. We do not make these decisions lightly and understand the impact on our professional riders….
Though the above statement puts a halt on the 2020 Pro Series, as it normally is run, all nationals will continue to have Pro Open classes. As of last weekend’s race in Phoenix, Pro Open has been expanded to include a dedicated class for women.
It will be interesting to see what riders show up for Pro Open at locations they normally would not race, if there were Pro Series races. Or will some sit ’em all out, and just show up on Saturday morning at The Grands, race one day, and that’s their “season,” win or lose.
All told, it may not be the way we’ve always done it, but I think this is a great middle-step between the way we are used to doing it, and outright cancelation of the Pro Title for 2020. It will be a very-rich day of racing, both on the track, and on the stage, at the end of the night.
We will look forward to being part of the amped-up-action in Tulsa on Grands Weekend.
This Article is presented by Time2Shine BMX