Top

Team USA Puts Worlds Players on the Board

June 1, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Team USA For 2017 is Final
Late Thursday, USA Cycling named 18 Junior and Elite athletes to represent the Unites States at the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, SC. The race is only 52 days away, as of today, according to the Dan’s Comp Countdown Clock.

The final list of Team USA challenge class riders is also out now. We have included a link to download it as a PDF below.

All-told, our calculations show 944 total Team USA entries (914 Challenge, 12 Masters and 18 Championship). That is a contingent roughly NINE times the above group from the 2016 worlds in Colombia. It’s going to be an incredible experience for all.

Here now, your 2017 UCI Worlds team:

2017 USA Junior Women Team
Sophia Foresta

2017 USA Junior Men Team
Bryce Batten
Kamren Larsen

2017 USA Elite Women Team
Alise Post
Brooke Crain
Dani George
Shealen Reno
Mika Shaw
Felicia Stancil

2017 USA Elite Men Team
Connor Fields
Nic Long
Corben Sharrah
Sean Gaian
Jared Garcia
Zach Van Kammen
Justin Posey
Jeremy Smith
Jeffrey Upshaw

Download the Challenge and Masters roster using the link below.

We look forward to seeing Team USA suited up and ready for some serious berm warfare in Rock Hill.

—Mike Carruth

Links

Download the PDF of Challenge and Masters class riders

Top Photo via Facebook, photographer unknown




BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Box Components Partners With UCI

February 15, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Box UCI BMX Number Plate

Box plates have been a fixture on the UCI circuit for a couple years now. But this week, their partnership took on a higher meaning, as Box became an official UCI partner. With the UCI Worlds happening here, on home soil in 2017, it’s oh-so-perfect that this new partnership gets started in 2017. Read more

Five Things Hurting Pro BMX in America

January 10, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Five Things Hurting Pro BMX in America

As the days tick down to the USA BMX 2017 pro Opener in Phoenix, on February 17, we are starting to learn more about how things will be structured for the top classes in the new year. A big piece of that puzzle was fitted into place last Friday, as USA BMX sent an email to pros entitled “2017 USA BMX Pro Series Information.”

There were some routine housekeeping items, plus official word that all national races not carrying the “Pro Series” designation would be Pro Open on Saturday and Sunday—allowing pros of any designation to race (AA Pro Pro Women, A-Pro, Vet Pro).

There was also a bullet point that confirmed USA BMX would be funding the USA Cycling BMX Elite World Championship Team, AND contributing $120,000+ per year to USA Cycling in order to fund the BMX program’s international team.

But the big news was in the payout table. In 2016, the Elite Men purse money was based on the number of riders signed up (from 16 and fewer, with a $2000 purse; to 31-over riders with a $10,000 purse). That meant $3500 for the Elite Men’s win at big races like the Winter Nationals. The women were scheduled the same. They would get the same money as the men and, like the men, it would be according to rider count.

For 2017, however, UCI rules require that men and women be paid the SAME, no matter what—whether women have 8 and the men have 38, the pay needs to be the same.

The “equal pay” rule isn’t the only thing ruffling feathers. The amount of the purses has dropped considerably for 2017, from $10,000 at the big races ($3500 for the win) to $3,500 total ($1000 for the win). North American Supercross Series went from $20,000 for men and $10,000 for women, to $10,000 each.

This touched off a social media tsunami over the weekend, with a flurry of posts, often hundreds of comments deep, decrying the pay cut, and foretelling all kinds of “what happens next” scenarios. Some calling for a walkout, as happened in Nashville three years ago, and others prophesizing the end of the pro classes as we know them.

For every set of fingers tapping out comments, there is an opinion on how this “should” go down, and what factors are contributing to the recent downward momentum of the pro classes, and their relevence to the future of BMX Racing.

We took a few mins (ok, a few days) to ponder that as well, and came up with the following list of five things that are, in our opinion, hurting the potency of pros in the modern era.

This list is mostly centered around the pros as a marketing vehicle for brands, since sponsorship is almost-exclusively where their money comes from, whether via USA BMX or via their own direct sponsors. So things that impact the visibility or exposure time of the pros to consumers are large on this list.

5. Friday Night Elite Racing.
Friday at the 2016 Winter Nationals
BMX pros are a group of exceptional people—they do the hard things most of us can’t (or won’t) do, physically and mentally. But in this one thing, they’re just like the rest of us.

Most working stiffs, if given the option, would choose to NOT get up at 5:30AM that one day, every few weeks, when it’s “necessary.” Instead, we’ll try to shift that work to a day when we’re going to be at the office anyway. Human nature, right?

Rewind to 2015 (and earlier), the pros, understandably, did not relish the idea of getting up at 5:30AM on Sunday to be at the track for a 7:30 warmup and an 8AM-sharp first moto— only to sit around for two or three hours til they race again. Then try to make it out of town in time to get home Sunday night.

The story goes, the pros lobbied USA BMX to change the schedule, because of the “oh-dark-thirty” effect. Not sure if that’s true or not, but somehow we ended up with the Friday Night Elite race.

Anyone who has been to a Pro Series national in the past year can tell you that the Friday Night “pro show” is pretty much a non-event. Shifting day one of pro racing to Friday makes all the sense in the world, from a convenience point of view. But it makes no sense at all from a “keeping the pros relevant” point of view. Race, race, race. Podium in the pitch dark, out behind the trailer, where nobody’s watching, and see ya tomorrow.

4. “Hero” Status is Tougher Today.
Hero Status is Tougher
There was a time when we would look up to the BMX pros we saw in BMX Action or BMX Plus! as near-literal gods. You’d see Stompin’ Stu in the hotel coffee shop eating an omelette, and you’d be so stoked, and so nervous, you couldn’t eat your own ham & cheese. It was because you only saw Stu at that race, or in the magazine, two months later— at least if you were a kid from any other place that wasn’t So. Cal.

Today, we know everything there is to know about our pros. Social media has removed all “mystique” between the fans and the Elites. As with many of these points, on the surface, that sounds like a good thing…but, in reality, not so much.

Kids don’t hold heroes in the same regard as earlier generations did (or maybe it’s just different). Many can’t even name a favorite pro (we have asked). That’s a problem for the long-term viability of the pro class, if it is to remain something more than a few quick laps on the track, then a race back to rental car return.

3. The Every-Hour-On-the-Hour Running Order*
On the hour running order
Again, we bump up against what’s efficient and gets the pros done as quickly as possible, versus what’s important for keeping professional BMX Racing interesting to BMX families, and the brands who love them.

One example: on Friday of the Derby City Nationals in Louisville, the pros were finished with their total race day by early in second round.

There was a time when everyone knew to head for the fenceline at the start of each round of racing to watch the pros. We all know that, in BMX Racing, the participants (and their families) ARE the spectators.

With the every-hour-on-the-hour schedule, the fans are in staging, in the pits, out at the camper, at concessions, or otherwise concerned about their own race day. If the goal is to make pro racing an “event,” the every-hour-on-the-hour running order only serves to make pro racing just another series of gate drops, among the hundreds of others throughout a weekend. Some folks watch, but many miss out on seeing them.

* Note: sometimes it’s every 45 mins, or other than every-hour-on-the-hour…but pros don’t run at the top of the order anymore, which is our point here.

2. Counting on the Sanction, Exclusively, for Prize Money.
The Imaginary USA BMX Vault
It’s the way it’s always been done, we realize. And, if memory serves, it has NEVER been enough. Granted, I was out of the sport for the whole of the 90s and early-mid 00s, so maybe there was a time when those pros were like “Man, we got it GOOD at the payout window!” But I had not seen that from 78-88 or from 08-16.

In the 80s, when ABA awarded a Trans-Am to the #1 Pro, people complained it wasn’t a Porsche. When it was a Mustang, they wanted a Trans-Am (or a Porsche).

There’s an argument to be made that, without big-brand sponsor money dedicated—exclusively—to pro purses, and year-end awards, pro-specific money is a losing proposition for the sanction. Afterall, we don’t hear of hoards of amateur families deciding to travel to a race because it’s a $20,000 payout versus a $5,000 payout. USA BMX funds it because they feel a sense of responsibility to make a career in BMX Racing possible—albeit a hardscrabble existence at times.

Lots of keyboard warriors imagine there’s a USA BMX vault filled with cash, from wall to wall. The reality is that it’s a family business, subject to the peaks and valleys of the market just like any other enterprise.

The pro classes are waiting at the window for the pay to come to them. Maybe the time is coming when they go looking for the pay.

Could the pros band-together and go find an outside-the-industry sponsor for their series, using their own initiative? Of course they could— which is something we may see sooner rather than later, out of pure necessity. Will they work together to develop some ancillary revenue streams that are not exclusively prize money? We will soon find out.

1. UCI Influence

UCI Influence
BMX in the United States developed organically, with many of its rules and customs reflecting the sport’s motorcycle roots, as well as influences from all facets of American life.

In as much as BMX in the US had its uniquely-American influences, UCI BMX influences are more in the European tradition of road and track cycling.

Over the past eight years, it has been quite a “cultural adjustment” to align the American flavor of Pro BMX Racing with the UCI’s version (a harsh critic might say BMX in the US “sold its soul” for the Olympic dream).

UCI influence has all-but “bred-out” the American roots of the pro class in USA BMX racing and, in doing so, has weakened the DNA that keeps the pro class relevant in our country.

One big part of this is the trend away from pros/Elite champions running their #1 plate. Partly due to UCI rules that prohibit any #1 other than UCI W1 from appearing at UCI races, and partially due to riders wanting to stick with their UCI Career Number. So the story goes, at least.

Whatever the reason, rank and file BMXers don’t know who the champs are any longer, and that’s an under-appreciated problem for pros who rely on recognition as part of their worth to sponsors.

A 10 Inter should know who the #1 pros are (male and female). Ask five random kids at your local track (without leading the witness) and you’ll see how many can actually tell you who our reigning champs are. If it’s 1 in 5, I’d be surprised.

Conclusion
Take the BMX pro class down to its most basic element…the thing that tells us why it exists, in the first place. Industry-folk might say “to allow manufacturers a vehicle to showcase products and influence buying decisions.” Fans would have a different answer, riders, themselves would have their own answer.

I have deep respect and affection for all of our heroes in the pro class, and I badly want to see them succeed.

The pro classes must not end up like Pro Cruiser. Once a vibrant class, which ultimately devolved into one “cruise lap” stuck in at the end of 10 Novice, followed by a race lap, then done. Everyone gets to the airport before noon on Sunday (or Saturday, to use the current format).

Next time, fewer show up, until one day, almost-nobody shows up, and BMX, as a sport, moves on— as we did from Pro Cruiser. Today, almost no current rider under 16 remembers it. Make no mistake: it can happen.

Looking at the five points above with an open mind, it’s tough to come to any conclusion other than the very-underpinnings of the pro classes are being eroded.

Who’s at fault for that? No one firm or factor, by itself. Society, as a whole, is changing. How people purchase goods and services is changing. BMX Racing is changing.

The BMX pro classes may-just be next for a makeover, if they are to remain viable for the long-haul.

—Mike Carruth

Wrist watch image by: F Delventhal, via Flickr (edited by BMX news)
Facebook Like by Katie Sayer, via FLickr





BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Preview: 2017 UCI BMX Calendar

October 24, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Preview - 2017 UCI BMX Calendar

The 2017 UCI BMX event calendar is coming together. Taking a quick look at the PDF (link below), one thing that took us by surprise: Of the three stops on the World Cup tour, there isn’t one in the USA.

Naturally, the UCI BMX Worlds are in Rock Hill, USA in July, so that’s a big highlight on the schedule, with lots and lots of BMXers from around the world coming to the States in ’17.

But we were kinda-expecting one of the World Cup stops might touch down here as well, as has been the case every year since 2008.

Here are the SX stops that ARE on the calendar:

May 6-7, 2017 – Papendal, Netherlands
May 13-14 – Zolder, Belgium
September 16-17 – Santiago del Estero, Argentina

As previously reported, the 2017 World Cup format has dropped the Time Trial from the program, and each stop on the tour will now be two race days, good for two World Cup series scores. Thus, fewer stops, but more scores to figure in to a year-end title chase.

The only USA-based race on the UCI calendar thus far is the World Championships on July 25-29. The 2017 USA BMX National schedule has not been fully released yet, so we are anxious to see how that calendar pencils-out and fills in some North American spots in the final version of the UCI BMX calendar.

Looking further down the list, we see national championships for 33 countries, including five (so far) that were not on the 2016 calendar: Iran, Kazakhstan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and Timor Leste.

Stick with BMX News for more developments on the UCI BMX and USA BMX 2017 schedules as details become available.

Click the link below for a PRELIMINARY version of the 2017 UCI BMX calendar. As we noted, more events are being added each week.

Links

Preview: 2017 UCI BMX Calendar

2018 UCI BMX Worlds May Go to Baku

May 30, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Baku, Azerbaijan may be the site of the 2018 UCI BMX Worlds

Just when we finally got used to spelling Colombia with an o and not a u, it’s time to move on to our next spelling lesson: “Azerbaijan.” It has not been officially announced yet, but documents obtained by BMX News indicate that the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships will be going to Baku in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The race is set for May 21-27, 2018, which is off the normal non-Olympic-year timetable of late July. The weather is much nicer in May, with an average high temperature of 64°F degrees, as opposed to the average high of 85°F in late July.

Azerbaijan MapLooking at a map, you are confronted with the fact that Azerbaijan is in a pretty scary neighborhood, with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey all in close proximity. That said, the US State Department does not have a whole lot to say in the way of travel warnings for US Citizens, aside from the following:

You should exercise caution when traveling to the culturally conservative and unrest-prone region of Nardaran, located 45 km from Baku on the Absheron Peninsula. Nardaran has been the site of several volatile anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments protests in the last several years.

and

Azerbaijan’s security apparatus is sensitive to photography, so both professional and tourist photographers have been stopped for taking photographs of facilities that may not appear to be sensitive, including oil fields, buildings, and public squares. It is strictly forbidden to take pictures of military installations and of military equipment.

Baku was the host city for the first-ever European Games last year. The race went off without a hitch, and all participants got out alive (that was a joke).

This news is just starting to take shape, so we will report updates as they become available.

—Mike Carruth





BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Reader Letter: Why No W1 For Stefany?

August 21, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Stefany Hernandez  2015 UCI BMX Elite Women Champion

As we watched the BMX Supercross race in Angelholm, Sweden last weekend, we noticed that recently-crowned Champion of the Elite Women class, Stefany Hernandez, was not rockin the prestigious W1 number plate. We jotted it down as something to follow up on, but then the hustle to get the recap posted, and packing for Colorado took over, and we kind of passed it over.

That is, until we received a reader letter on Monday asking, specifically, why Stefany wasn’t running her W1 plate. When you’re World Champion, people notice that kind of thing.

Historically, we have been under the impression that UCI requires all Worlds main-makers to run their world number, versus their career number. But it seems there has been minor change to that rule.

We reached out to Stefany to ask why she continued to run her 469 career number, versus the prestigious W1.

My career number is very personal and important to me―moreso than a number 1 on a plate. The title and rainbow jersey, however, are the realization of a goal I have had for many years. I am honored to be able to run my 469 career number on the rainbow jersey, after the UCI made some recent changes, that allow the champion to choose their career number or #1 (Editors’ Note: World Championship main event finishers 2-8 are required to run that number for the year).

Last year, I started using the hashtag #Consistency469. To me, it represents that consistency is key to my success. After years and years of working toward this title, I was finally crowned World Champ in 2015. To me, continuing to use 469 on my bike, and now on the rainbow jersey is part of that winning consistency.”

We were honestly expecting to hear something like “oh, there was a problem getting the W1 jersey in time.” Or “I forgot it,” or some such reason/excuse we might hear closer to home.

The real reason was so much better! Congrats to Stefany on her title win, and best wishes for keeping that #consistency469 rolling for the rest of 2015, and into the 2016 Olympic year.

Top photo courtesy of Craig Dutton, for UCI BMX/GSX Events

Links

Stefany Hernandez on Twitter

Chase BMX Website

BOX Components Website


Comments





BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Kevin MacCuish Named UCI BMX Coordinator

October 5, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Kevin MacCuish, UCI BMX Coordinator

Starting out the week with a little International flav, UCI anounced Friday that Canadian, Kevin MacCuish, has been named to the position of BMX Coordinator. MacCuish has served as commissaire for many BMX races on the UCI circuit, including the 2012 Olympic Games and several supercross races.

Kevin replaces Ellen Bollansee, the Belgain-born BMXer who had a successful racing career throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Ellen was in BMX coordinator position for roughly four years, stepping in to the position vacated by Johan Lindstrom, who moved to America to co-found GSX events with Tom Ritz and the NBL.

We are not entirely sure as to the full breadth of the BMX coordinator’s responsibilities, but suffice it to say that Kevin will oversee the full landscape of UCI’s BMX program (thank you, Captain Obvious). That would mean overseeing the calendar, BMX-specific rules and, presumably, seeing UCI BMX through the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Kevin previously headed his own company, MacCuish Race Services, which promoted and organized cycling events throughout Canada, including the 2012 Abbotsford supercross.

Word is that Kevin will be based out of UCI HQ at the World Cycling Center in Aigle, Switzerland, and will start in his now post tomorrow, October 6, 2014.

A big BMX News congrats goes out to Kevin on his new gig, and we wish Ellen all the best in her future endeavors.





BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

The Most “Brandable” UCI BMX Career Numbers

September 3, 2014 by · Comments Off 

2015 UCI BMX Career Numbers  are Open

In the realm of UCI BMX, the career number (or “permanent number,” in some documentation) is a great way for BMX athletes to create personal brands around their racing number, much in the same way motocross stars and NASCAR drivers do.

The registration period for 2015 UCI BMX Read more

2017 UCI BMX Worlds Coming to Rock Hill USA

June 12, 2014 by · Comments Off 

2017 UCI BMX Worlds coming to Rock Hill, SC USA

Most of the time, when you’re sitting on Twitter, rolling past the latest conspiracy theories and #hastaghumor, you can feel the productivity draining from your day. But today, as we were monitoring some of the tweets coming out of Berlin, we noticed the above image under Mike King’s account. BMXers don’t usually wear coat & tie unless it’s a wedding or a traffic court appearance, so it definitely drew our interest. Now, we’ll need to add “international breaking news announcement” to that list of coat & tie affairs.


Thus, the soon-to-be-opened Novant Health BMX Supercross track in Rock Hill, SC will host the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships. The track will have it’s first big event this October when it hosts the USA BMX Gold Cup East finals, and we’re excited to see how the BMX Supercross scene unfolds in the US now that there will be five or six tracks capable of hosting BMX SX races.

Mike is likely whooping it up with the deal team tonight, Europe time, so no direct quote from him yet. But it is obvious that when the City of Rock Hill hired Mike to move across the country and run the $7MM complex, this was one of the accomplishments it had its sights on. And to pull it off so quickly is a great view at how Rock Hill will “run at it” when it comes to making the facility a global BMX destination for years to come.

Congrats to Mike, Thad Fischer and all those involved in making it happen. We will update this page as new details come in to the BMX News Global Command Center.

In the above photo: Thad Fischer, Rock Hill Recreation Superintendent; Brian Cookson, UCI President; John Taylor Rock Hill Director of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism and Mike King, BMX Coordinator for the City of Rock Hill.

UPDATE>>> 5:55PM Eastern Time 06/12/14. The City of Rock Hill will host a live news conference Friday morning at 9AM Eastern Time. Speakers will be: Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols, John Gettys chair of the Rock Hill Sports Commission and Duane Parrish director of South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism

See the “links” below for where to listen live.

Links

Novant Health BMX Supercross Track on Facebook

Live Stream of June 13 News Conference (9AM EDT)

Re-cap: 2014 UCI North American Champs

April 3, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Alise Post - 2014 UCI BMX North American Champ

The name “2014 UCI BMX North American Continental Championships” sounds like a title you’d lay on a monarch or something. Pretty regal, indeed.

It was a good race, strategically-placed the day after the USA Cycling Elite Championships, so folks were still in town.

“Continental Champion” is a title that sounds awesome, so we’re going with that. Where the previous day was the USA Cycling BMX Elite National Championship race for the USA riders, Sunday was open to residents of 13 countries (Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, St Martin, United States and Virgin Islands), only the USA, Canada and so-close-we-could see-it Mexico had riders on the sheets.

Junior Men had 12 riders, Junior women had two (who raced with the Elite Women, but were recognized on the podium separately), Elite Women had 7 and Elite men had 22. Each round of motos consisted of eight gate drops, then some waiting for recovery time.

To our knowledge, the racing on Sunday was similar to a UFO or Bigfoot sighting, in that there is no video footage known to exist of the actual event taking place. What we were able to glean from photos, and eyewitness accounts was that Alise Post and Felicia Stancil had a nice back-n-forth–Felicia won first round, with Alise getting the two; and second verse was in reverse, Alise – Felicia. Brooke Crain was third both times, so it was starting to look like de ja vu of the Saturday Podium. But then the Sunday main, where Alise won it, Brooke was second, and Felicia third.

Both Juniors, though racing for a separate podium, distinguished themselves by making the main with the Elite Women. Joanna Hernandez of Mexico is a 16-year old from Mexico who got 8th in the Elite main, and second on the junior podium. American Shealen Reno crossed the line fifth in the main, and was tops on the Junior Women podium.

Junior men had a rematch on the what-could-have-been Saturday race between Sean Gaian and Collin Hudson. This time, Sean made it through the second turn, and captured the top step, with Collin in second. Alden Volle was third.

And in Elite Men, Connor Fields aced the whole day, with wins every time he climbed the stairs. Jared “the Jet” Garcia was second, and Tory Nyhaug third. Connor told News after the race “I had a fantastic start and didn’t look back. Jared and Tory are great on this track and good passers, so I rode full-out and finished it strong.”

Cameron Stow came back with 100-or-so photos from the Sunday race, despite the small stature of the day’s rider count. Some good stuff from this guy.

BMX News 2014 Race Coverage is sponsored by Dan’s Comp (link opens in a new window)

BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Links

2014 UCI BMX North American Championship – Photo Gallery

Next Page »

Bottom