May 30, 2016 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
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.
Looking 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.
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.
August 21, 2015 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
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
October 5, 2014 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
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.
September 3, 2014 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
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
June 12, 2014 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
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.
— Mike King (@mike_king12) June 12, 2014
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.
April 3, 2014 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
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)
July 30, 2013 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
Since the track was not as much a factor in the Junior classes, we did not get into it very much in part one of our 2013 UCI BMX Worlds Re-Cap.
In the Elite classes however, particularly Elite Men, the track was a huge factor in how Sunday’s race turned out. So much so that in the third and final part to this coverage, we are going to approach the story differently than all the others–by telling you what happened to the riders who were not in the main event, before taking you through the main event, itself. That is a big part of the story, no doubt.
On Time Trial day, the eyes of a nation were on Sarah Walker. A well-known personage, even outside BMX circles (with her photo on the cover of the popular hotel travel magazine in Auckland), everyone was root in for #96.
Her chances were dealt a serious blow in Rockford, where she crashed with Dom Daniels (or, maybe better put, OVER Dom Daniels) in the second turn. On Sunday, she was in a sling, and it looked like she might miss the big race in front of her home crowd. But, the four weeks seemed to do the trick, and not only was she suited up for time trials, she turned the second fastest lap in qualifying. Only Mariana Pajon was faster.
Shanaze Reade was absent, still nursing an injury suffered in practice leading up to Papendal. Also away from Auckland was reigning world champion, Magalie Pottier.
Elite Women had 29 starters on the boards, and all would advance to Sunday’s race (Time Trial was for lane choice).
In the Superfinal, it was Mariana again, topping the 16-rider field with a time of 25.153. Last year, she finished 20th in qualifying, and the world time trial title went to…hmm, let’s see…Caroline Buchanan. Alise Post was second in the Superfinal this time out, and Caro was third.
As part of the new UCI rules for qualifying, the top eight ranked riders were able to sit out the motos on Sunday, so they would join in the fun after the moto qualifying was done.
The first quarterfinal had an easy trip, with only five riders in the gate. Mariana took a leisurely win, with Stefany Hernandez of Venezula in second, and looking very strong. Lauren Reynolds and Merle van Benthem were the other qualifiers.
Second group looked to be smooth sailing, with Alise Post in command, Manon Valentino and Gabriela Diaz from Argentina in a 1-2-3 formation. Arielle Martin was in fourth into the last turn, when Kiwi Victoria Hill put a “Hail Mary” pass into effect, carving the inside sharp, and meeting bar ends with Arielle on the exit, taking them both off the track at the start of the last straight. Both were off the bike, but AMV15 got composed real quick-like, and back on the pedals to get on home for the final qual.
Next gate had six, and some big names vying for four invites to the semis. Caroline was quick to the lead, and had Dom Daniels on her right, going in to turn one. 3D had the cursed outside lane off the hill, and got pushed high by Eva Ailloud and Brooke Crain, who zoomed through the open gap into turn one, and took up the 2 and 3 spots, respectively. Dom was still in qualifying position, but Mariana Diaz was charging hard. Looked like Dom had some trouble at the start of the third straight, and that was the ballgame. Vilma Rimsaite won all three of the qualifying motos, but was out this trip.
The Final quarterfinal group was, more or less, uneventful, save for a battle to the line for the win between Laura Smulders and Melinda McLeod of Australia (Smulders got it). Also on the “Q” list: Romana Labounkova of the Czech Republic and Elke vanHoof of Belgium.
Three gate drops to go for the ladies, before we’d have our World Champ. All the Americans who made the quarters were in (Dominique, you remember, is riding for Puerto Rico).
Mariana started from lane one, Arielle out on lane eight. Into turn one, Valentino had a nose on Mariana (albeit temporary), with Arielle on the outside. As we’ve seen, the outside into turn one on this track is not a very hospitable place to be. Brooke took up third as the pack raced down the second straight, and Reynolds was bar to bar with Arielle, who was holding her off–for the moment. Arielle passed Brooke into turn two, but Reynolds dove to the extreme inside, and passed them both for the three-spot. Arielle hung on to fourth to make it through. Finish: Pajon, Valentino, Reynolds and Martin. Good racing!
In the second semi, Caroline would start from the inside, Hernandez in two and Alise Post in three, with McLeod out on eight. Caroline, Stefany and Alise would be the decisive three top three by the end of the first turn, but the bubble spot had some good ups and downs. McLeod made a strong charge from eight and, though trapped on the outside, put some solid pressure on Gabriela Diaz into the second straight. She was just too far outside, and missed the fork in the road between the mens and women’s second straight, missing an obstacle, and pretty much ending it right there. Finish: Buchanan, Hernandez, Post and Diaz. The Elite Women main event was set!
We’ll let the video do the talking:
Valentino seemed to get the worst start in the history of mankind, but fought through it to hit the podium. Heartbreaking for Alise Post, who had a great lap in the bag, but for a critical last straight bonk that blew her out of the top three.
Caroline Buchanan (AUS)
Lauren Reynolds (AUS)
Manon Valentino (FRA)
Arielle Martin (USA)
Alise Post (USA)
Mariana Pajon (COL)
Stefany Hernandez (VEN)
Gabriela Diaz (ARG)
June 21, 2013 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
Today, GSX Events released the likely schedule for the 2014 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup season.
With five races in the new year, all but one (Berlin) have previously hosted a BMX SX event.
2014 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup Schedule
April 18 – 19, 2014 – Manchester, Great Britain
May 10 – 11, 2014 – Papendal, Netherlands
June 13 – 14, 2014 – Berlin, Germany
September 6 – 7, 2014 – Santiago Del Estero, Argentina
September 26 – 27, 2014 – Chula Vista CA, USA
The Berlin race, while new to the World Cup series, will be held in Mellowpark–site of the Red Bull R/evolution events.
BMX News will have updates (including any changes) to this schedule as they develop, so keep it right here.
June 4, 2013 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
USA BMX issued a statement on Monday, in which CEO, BA Anderson apologized to race fans for the Elite walk-off that occurred in Nashville.
Here’s what he said:
USA BMX is a world-class organization who holds itself to the highest standard in BMX racing; from enforcing the rules of racing to membership services. With that said, I want to apologize to every BMX race fan who had to witness the pro walk-off this past weekend. This entire episode was a miscommunication on our behalf.
When the announcement was made at the beginning of the year about the increased pro payout, it was, unfortunately, not explained correctly. The guaranteed increased year-end payout and the increased per-race payout was based on the UCI purses being lower at UCI events. With the significant expenses involved with running a UCI event, the mandatory minimum payout is what made the UCI events work within the entire pro budget. Unfortunately, these races were erroneously included on the increased pro pay announcement, which is what led to the protest. There was never any intention to deceive the riders, it was a simply a case of miscommunication.
Obviously, we value our Elite riders and, as such, USA BMX will do as we have for 35 years and do what we say we will do. We stated in a press release that all Pro series events would receive the much higher USA BMX purse, and we plan to honor that. Checks will immediately be sent to those Pro riders to make up the difference.
The Elite riders were told on the back of the hill that this issue would be resolved as soon as we got back to the office, and they were given one of my senior staff member’s cell phone number in case they had any questions. It is unfortunate that there was not enough trust from the pros that USA BMX would resolve this issue, and I am disappointed that the Elite riders chose to walk off. Many of them are riders I watched grow up racing BMX, while others were simply caught up in something they didn’t understand. Based on the facts, this is the decision that would have been reached regardless of the pros decision to walk-off.
Again, I apologize to all of the race fans who didn’t get to watch their favorite Elite riders race Sunday in Nashville. Fortunately, the A Pro, Vet Pro, Women Junior and Men Junior classes all put on exciting main events for attendees and livestream web viewers. In the future, I will make sure that all aspects of pro racing expenses are more closely scrutinized and publicized to avoid any confusion.
In a later communication with BMX News, USA BMX also confirmed they would be making-good on the “enhanced” purse for the Oldsmar race in March (which was not addressed in the statement above).
We have a few questions relating to this topic still outstanding, and will get those answers posted as soon as they come in.
June 2, 2013 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
The relationship between BMX pros, and those who pay them has been contentious, pretty much since there were pros to pay. Sunday, in Nashville, that long-history flared up with a new chapter being written, as the whole of Elite Men and Women classes staged a walk-off at the point in the program that would have been their third round.
The issue at hand was a dramatic and (to hear them tell it) unannounced drop in the prize money being awarded at the Nashville race. BMX News has not confirmed the figures involved, but some of the riders who are speaking out on the subject say that the Saturday prize money for Elite Men calculated to be considerably LESS than 100% payback of entry fees. On the Women’s side, a popular example is Dani George’s $12 check for eighth place.
Athletes are pointing to a post made by USA BMX on their website last December 04, heralding “Enhanced” payouts for the races in the 2013 national series. These enhanced payouts promised a prize purse in the following increments, based on rider count:
REGULAR-SEASON TOTAL PRO PURSES:
10-16 Riders = $5,000
17-25 Riders = $6,000
26-35 Riders = $7,000
36 or More Riders = $10,000
16 or Less Riders = $2,000
17-25 Riders = $3,000
26 or More Riders = $4,000
Among the 12 weekends of pro racing noted in the “Enhanced payouts” posting, Nashville was/is one of the races on that schedule. As was Oldsmar in March, as is South Park, and Louisville later this summer.
Looking at Saturday’s race, as an example, there were 38 Elite Men and 18 Elite Women signed up (37 men started). That would have corresponded to a payout of $10,000 and $3,000, respectively, according to the above tables.
The actual Elite Men payout was said to be $1050 for the win and less than $2,700 total (though this is not confirmed).
After Saturday’s podium, the grumbling began on social media, first on twitter, when Nic Long tweeted:
$1050 for the elite men win with 30+ riders? Are you shitting me?
— Nicholas long (@niclong64) June 2, 2013
Then, Sunday, meetings of riders and USA BMX officials trying to talk the issue through.
There were murmurs in the pits after the second round of Elites that some kind of gesture of protest was afoot, but what would it be? A lot of the Elite men were in street clothes–and not “between motos” street clothes… “I’m heading to the airport now” street clothes.
As the second round of experts came to a close, the pros were called to staging for their third round. Fans lined the fence; we, in the media, took our camera positions, ready to shoot the pros. Suddenly, the gate dropped, but no riders were racked up. A few pods of applause rose-up from insiders who knew what it all meant. The gate was recycled, and the cadence rang out again…then again…then again–four times in all. It seemed almost funereal in its ceremony–like the ringing of a bell for each victim of a shipwreck.
None of us really knew what to make of it until, moments later, the entirety of the Elite Men and Women classes came streaming out from the outside edge of the gate, down the hill and along the grass on the fence line (top, and above). As they walked the length of the first straight, they high-fived, and slapped hands with the fans who were still stunned with what was happening. Word started to ripple down the fence line, toward the first turn that this was in protest of the payout for the weekend.
At this point, nothing was “final” yet, as far as the race was concerned. By all riders failing to start, everyone got a DNS (last place +2)–so the next test was “would they show up for the semis?” USA BMX posted the semis, as they normally would, and called the Elites to staging, as usual.
When no riders showed up, the proverbial funeral church bell chimed again–four “dry” gate drops–and the Elite Men and Elite Women portion of the race was nullified. Junior Men and Junior Women completed their racing, as scheduled.
A lot of speculation flew around the park after that, some saying the USA BMX officials told them not to bother showing up (which John David flatly denied), others saying they were protesting because they did not want to give UCI their money (except they already did, and it wasn’t UCI they were giving it to).
A few other pros said all-would-be-forgiven next week in Salt Lake, because they would be racing for the USA BMX purse (thus, projecting their anger on UCI and not USA BMX).
USA BMX did not have comment for us at the time, as they were still in the middle of running a race, and a post-race message seeking comment has not been returned as of this writing. At the time, they did point out this was a UCI race, and not a USA BMX Pro race (one main, not three mains), which seemed to mark a difference in their minds as to what the payout should be. Non-UCI classes (A Pro, and Vet Pro) were paid out as normal.
The following is a message Joey Bradford posted on Facebook, which shines a little light into the rider’s perspective.
There has been a lot of speculation as to why the Elite Men/Elite Women did not race today, but here is the cliff notes summary:
The riders were not asking for MORE money, we were only asking for what we signed up for. USABMX made a big deal out of the enhanced payouts for the 2013 USA BMX pro series and the total purses were supposed to be dependent on rider counts at each national… but the payouts did not match what we signed up for.
Yesterday in Nashville 38 Elite Men/AA signed up, and according to USABMX’s regular season pro purse that should have fallen into the “36 or More Riders = $10,000″ category, but they have now said that because they had to pay a few UCI expenses that our payouts were less than $3,000… TOTAL PURSE, which wasn’t even 100% payback from the Elite Men/AA entree fees – $130 x 38 = $4,940, and the total Elite Men payout was less than $2,700. Those expenses should not have come out of OUR pockets.
Now, we appreciate everything USABMX does, they’re BY FAR the best in the business but it does NOT say anywhere that the payouts will be altered at these USA BMX/UCI combined races… NOR WAS ANY RIDER TOLD BEFORE THEY FLEW ACROSS THE COUNTRY/WORLD AND PAID THE SAME ENTREE FEES. This was dropped on us after racing Saturday and when the riders asked for an answer we were only told they would try to figure it out NEXT week.
It’s difficult not to take that (in the same way) as when you’re a kid, wanting to go to an amusement park or whatever and your parents say “next week” over, and over, and over, and over until 8 months later you finally get to go.
The only reason this did not happen Saturday was because the pro PODIUM checks from Fridays race were left blank, so nobody knew what they made until after racing Saturday night.
To the fans/supporters standing out in the rain watching there in Nashville or live online.. sorry we couldn’t give you the show you were hoping to see, but something needed to be done. We may not have gone about it the best way, but whats done is done. Hopefully things change for the better going forward and I was happy to see all of the riders stick together on this.
It’s hard to see where this goes next. As noted at the top of the article, pro uprisings are not exclusive to this generation of pros–they have happened in every decade a pro class has existed–though, admittedly more complex today because of Olympic qualifying, and a large international population we did not have in the 70s and 80s.
What IS new is the single-sanction landscape in the largest BMX racing market on the planet. Does an elite rider protest have any “juice” when there is no-place else to race? The coming weeks are likely to write some fresh pages in the BMX history books.