February 9, 2017 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
I just saw your article about the Gold Cup finals and noticed that those races count for QUADRUPLE district points. Earlier this morning, I saw a Facebook post shared from Tyler Brown talking about how all these big races were killing the local scene. Suddenly, it made sense, what he was talking about.
Why does USA BMX give district points for races outside the district, in the first place? We are fairly new to BMX, but it seems like the district points should be for your local races, Gold Cup points for Gold Cup races, national points for national races, etc. I would be curious how this practice got started and why they still do it.
—JK, So. Cal
This is a question we, ourselves, have talked about here at the BMX News Global Command Center, and it makes us want to give JK a golden crown, Burger King style, for asking it.
Here is the Tyler Brown post that JK was referring to:
*Editor’s Note: The Facebook meme shown was not of Tyler’s creation, but he did share it with the caption:
So true! Since when did racing locals become “not cool” I grew up racing multi times a week and it’s such a bummer when race time hits my track half the crowd leaves. It’s cool to train but all the training in the world won’t make you “race ready” #RaceLocals
For the details on JK’s question, we called upon Brad Hallin at USA BMX, who gives us both the history and the present-day thinking behind the practice. Here’s what Brad said:
The foundation of BMX racing is district points and one of the fundamental principles of the American Bicycle Association was the notion that every race would offer district points to riders. Each year, the goal of those riders should be to earn a higher ranking (lower bike number) based on the district points they earned during the previous season.
Some races will offer more points as a result of being designated a double or triple point event, and racing against more riders also earns you more points – as you faced more competition.
One of the things that keep riders interested in BMX is the ability to travel and race against other competitors on different BMX tracks.
This certainly could mean traveling outside of a rider’s district, but the district points will transfer back to his/her district for ranking purposes. For the local tracks hosting these events, the district points (especially for multi-point races) offer incentives for out-of-towners to come race their track.
This benefits the grassroots programs and also benefits the riders by offering them more competition on a different racetrack – keeping them challenged. It is a win-win. This is a proven system that has stood the test of time, as USA BMX celebrates our 40th year as the leader in bicycle motocross racing.
Certainly, riders and parents enjoy being able to see how they measure up. In the über-competitive district points race, that includes all races that those riders competed in.
We understand that people might want to break that down into a smaller, bite-sized pieces and maybe look at how their rider stacks up at the local BMX track – not counting events that happen at other tracks (even within the same district). For that reason, we began last year to show track-based district points on the microsite of each sanctioned track.
With this new tool, riders can search their track-based rankings by class, age group, proficiency or any combination thereof. Some tracks are even doing track awards based on these points, as those are the riders who are clearly supporting that grassroots program the most.
Here are some screenshots showing the AZ01 BOYS rankings for 2016, followed by the BOYS class at Chandler BMX, the 6 year old BOYS class at Chandler and finally the entire Novice class at Chandler.
You can view the Chandler BMX leaderboard for BOYS by clicking this link:
Hopefully, this answers the question and shows that we understand people want more flexibility to view the data to see how their rider measures up.
If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to both JK and Brad for helping us bring this important question (and the respective answer) to News readers. JK, we’re sending you a BMX News T-Shirt and a Burger King Crown with News sticker affixed.
January 20, 2017 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
The talk has been thick over the past 14 days or so about the USA BMX announcement relating to the pro pay scale for 2017. For all the hundreds (maybe thousands) of social media comments on the topic, plus a BMX News article relating to the subject, we have not heard the official USA BMX side of things.
On this episode of the BMX News Announcers Tower Podcast, USA BMX COO, John David, joins us to provide the inside-the-walls account of how the decisions were made, and also some points that affect BMXers at every level.
iOS users: paste the URL below into your device’s browser to listen
What stands out about this episode is that John gives us a rare look at how USA BMX views the pro class, the relationship with UCI, and how that affects the operational decisions made, as well as how cultural shifts in present-day America impact BMX Racing at every level.
Comments are open below, and we invite your opinions and feedback.
January 10, 2017 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
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.
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.
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*
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.
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
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.
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.
Wrist watch image by: F Delventhal, via Flickr (edited by BMX news)
Facebook Like by Katie Sayer, via FLickr
December 27, 2016 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
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). Read more
November 2, 2016 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
After releasing an appetizer portion of the 2017 schedule, USA BMX is out today with the meaty main course of the 2017 national schedule. With the UCI BMX World Championships coming to Rock Hill in July, there is solid focus in the USA BMX schedule on qualifying the maximum number of riders Read more
October 18, 2016 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
Next Spring, I want to present something to my city that might be either a pump track or a BMX track. We are BMX racers, but I think a pump track might be easier to get approved due to cost. What should I present that has a better chance of growing the sport and getting approved?
Thanks for writing, JS.
First, big props to you and your crew for working to get ANY “dirt cycling” program going in your town. We need more people like you out there!
Regarding which format to pitch to your city leaders, there are two questions you need to answer:
1). Do you want to get more kids on bikes?
2). Do you want to get more kids on BMX bikes to race BMX?
A pump track MIGHT be good for #1, but the problem, if your goal is to grow the sport of BMX Racing, is that the new riders at the pump track will be influenced by riders who may or may not be racers.
Most importantly, and as you know, BMX Racing is a FAMILY sport. It is not uncommon to see three generations of a given family at the track to cheer-on their racer. That is massively-appealing to city council members in almost-any municipality in America. This is not necessarily the case at a pump track.
Everyone wants more family time these days, and BMX Racing is a rare activity that provides that. At BMX News, we like to say “Fun, Fitness and Family” are the three points that make a BMX Racing track important to any community.
BMX Racing is the perfect sport for kids who are too young for other sports. And, of course, just as perfect for kids who are not interested in team sports (all stuff that you know, but we’re giving you ammo for the presentation).
The MUCH better way to go (for your presentation) is to use the same land you had in mind, to create a beginner-level BMX track. One track builder told us he can take a piece of unused municipal land and build a beginner-level BMX Track for about $15k (plus the gate).
Once you have that ready, you need a bunch of new families. Run the Donny Robinson “Beginner League” format on your new beginner-level track. The riders you enroll for your new program are directly-accretive to BMX Racing numbers. If your goal is “growing the sport,” this is how it happens!
Set your sights on six teams-of-10 for the first “season” (60 riders, or about 12 motos, all showing up every week for five weeks–that’s what the beginner league is all about).
The key is: Don’t over-think it! Take the “BMX Goggles” off and stop worrying about a perfectly-groomed facility with lights and “progression” features. Do not promote your new track to BMXers outside your town. You are here to build a local program from scratch. Tune out what existing BMXers say about your track and you, personally, and get local families involved!
Lean on USA BMX for help; they know exactly how to get this done.
I hope this helps answer your question, and we look forward to seeing your new track on the map in 2017.
Top photo: rjp, via Flickr (News cropped and re-sized the original image).
September 6, 2016 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
Last Thursday afternoon, BMX legend, John Purse posted a 14-point “ What Happened to BMX?” list on his Facebook page. This was similar in tone to some of the other threads we have seen from Greg Hill and a few others. The idea was to continue an ongoing discussion on the topic. Read more
June 28, 2016 by Bryce Betts · Comments Off
Do you think you’re a BMX Guru? Have you studied BMX Racing across the nation, and refer to locations based on proximity to BMX “landmarks?” This is your time to shine! Get ready for this, the first of many BMX NEWS quizzes.
Post your score in the comments below.
How to play:
For each question/track, select the photo that matches the name. If you get it wrong at first, keep trying until you get it right. Your final grade will be based on number of attempts.
June 24, 2016 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
Saturday marks five years since the very-first race run under the “USA BMX” banner– the 2011 NBL Midwest Nationals at Hire Park in Warsaw, IN. Just seven days prior, on June 18, the merger of ABA and NBL was finalized, and news spread quickly during the ABA Midwest Nationals in Rockford, IL that the deal was done. So marked the official end to more than three decades of brutal “sanction wars” in BMX Racing.
When the sun rose on June 19, our sport operated under a single sanction for the first time in 35 years—since George Esser founded the NBL in February 1976, joining Ernie Alexander’s National Bicycle Association (NBA) to compete in the business of sanctioning BMX races, nationally. The ABA would be founded in October 1977 by Merl Mennenga, with Chandler BMX (still in operation today) as ABA track 001.
The “History of BMX Timeline” (link below) says the following about the “day of unification:”
June 25, 2011 – The first day of the 2011 NBL Midwest Nationals in Warsaw, IN is the first BMX race to display the “USA BMX” banner publicly. ABA and NBL banners are displayed next to each other on the infield—something that would have been unthinkable just 45 days earlier.
Those of you in the sport at the time will remember the days leading to, and after the merger as a time of uncertainty– at local tracks, nationals and in the industry as a whole.
We had just come off a six-month, slow-motion train wreck that was the NBL’s demise, after NBL President Gary Aragon’s “All You Can Race” program fell flat, and took the 37-year old organization down as a result. Those familiar with the inner-workings of the NBL would later tell News that the NBL’s internal illness was terminal for a while before that, but the death throes were finally evident to the public, starting on May 10, 2011 (also mentioned in the History of BMX Timeline).
May 10, 2011 – Rumors begin to circulate within the BMX community that the NBL will cease operations on or about May 31, due to lack of operating funds.
That resulted in a final-hours assist, with the ABA as a “white knight” of sorts, agreeing to cover NBL’s commitments, and starting the process of unification on May 17, when the “Letter of Agreement” of a merger was announced (BMX News story link below).
Had the NBL been allowed to fail outright, BMX families, track operators, sponsors and municipalities would have lost everything they invested in the NBL system to that point, and BMX, as a whole, would have been dealt a serious blow in the court of (outside BMX) public opinion.
Even with the ABA’s rescue and promise to cover NBL’s commitments, the process of unification in the early days was difficult, to say the least.
NBL people had been raised on the idea that ABA was the “Evil Empire.” And ABA devotees were concerned that the influx of so-called “NiBLers” would dilute their place in the BMX universe as lifelong ABA supporters. The concept of “unification” of the sanctions was difficult to wrap one’s head around, and it took some time–a couple years, in some cases, for both sides to warm to the idea.
Some, however, looked into the future and saw a post-merger world where a single sanction could focus the resources once spent on competing with each other on advancing the cause of BMX Racing in North America. Both sanctions were hesitant to promote the sport, in general, because they didn’t want the other guy to enjoy the benefits of their efforts.
It became clear to many NBL people, in the months following the merger, that ABA wasn’t the Evil Empire they had loathed for years and was, in fact, a group of BMXers, just like them, dedicated to seeing the sport— regardless of prior affiliation— succeed as one unit.
A few NBL staffers–Connie Shepler, Cody Wilson and Justin Travis– made the move to the newly-pitched USA BMX tent, and all three remain involved to this day.
Fast-forward five years. Following this month’s National BMX Hall of Fame ceremony, Alice Bixler—one of the most-staunch NBL supporters at the time of the merger, and a 30-year-plus-and-counting contributor to the sport at Sarasota BMX in Florida, posted the following on her Facebook page (photo via Facebook):
Had a really amazing time in Chula Vista. Watched all of the racing leading up to our riders that will represent the United States at the Olympics. It was awesome to be with the legends of our sport from years passed.
It was also exciting for me when Bernard A. Anderson, USA President / owner asked me if I was going to watch the Olympic hopefuls with the last chance to be on the USA team. I told him I would like to but I just could not walk that far. Well he was kind enough to help me get around by rides in his golf car. Such a nice, down to earth person.
I am so glad to have gotten to know him. Thanks so much BA for being my friend…
It was at the 2015 HOF dinner that former NBL president Bob Tedesco—the top NBL General in the sanction wars— took the stage to accept his induction into the National BMX Hall of Fame. His 12-minute speech gives great insight into some of the 30-year process, including more than one “steak dinner” with the ABA’s Generals along the way. Bob also tells a funny-now story about the IBMXF Pontiac Silverdome race (which NBL ran, but did not promote, and I covered for Super BMX Magazine) in 1981, when the promoter of the race took-off with the pro purse just before the main event, and how NBL made-good on the purse over the next year.
Bob’s speech is the heart and soul of 35 years of a life dedicated to BMX Racing, and you need to hear it. It gave us a lot of LOLs, and also brought us back to the moments illustrated in his stories.
Listening to Bob’s speech reminds us of the longstanding commitment that he and his team at NBL displayed in furtherance of our sport–especially when it comes to the march toward to Olympics. It is critically-important that these contributions are not lost to the fog of time.
While there are still some vocal pockets of NBL loyalists who, on a seemingly-daily basis comment “Bring the NBL back,” it’s tough to argue that BMXers today enjoy a stronger sport, at its core, than ever before.
It’s hard to believe it has been five YEARS already; I remember where I was at all stages of the run-up to the merger, and in shooting the top photo in this article, with both sanction brands flanking the new USA BMX banner for the first time. It may sound corny, but there was a sense of “being part of history” when I looked into the viewfinder and pushed the button to capture that image.
Yes, we still have our generational challenges of recruitment, retention and recognition as the ultimate family sport, but all-told, the state of our BMX union is strong.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Jeff Miner and Dan Rumple– Track Operator of Hire Park BMX– for reminding us, via a Facebook post, about this very-important date.
May 17, 2016 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
For the past five years, News has been tracking UCI’s march toward including BMX Freestyle as an officially-recognized sport. Our first article, on March 28, 2011, headlined “UCI Sniffing Around Skating, Freestyle” covered UCI’s then-president, Pat McQuaid’s quote to BBC Sport, saying “They’re all related to wheels, they’re all related to bikes as such, and from that point of view cycling is the sport that can bring those disciplines in (to the Olympics)” (Link to each past article, below).
Then, on February 6, 2013, News reported the haps at a UCI management committee meeting in Louisville, KY, which discussed a proposal to bring three new cycling disciplines in for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, BMX Freestyle reportedly being one of the three.
Obviously, that didn’t happen for 2016, but as we move forward on the calendar, to our next update on the topic, May 18, 2015, UCI formalized “BMX Park” as an officially-recognized sport.
That 2015 release was fully-realized earlier this year, with the announcement of a four-stop UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup tour, promoting stops in France (Montpellier May 4-8), Croatia (Osijek July 21-23), USA (Denver, Sept 3-5) and Canada (Edmonton Sept 16-18).
The first of the those events took place earlier this month, as part of the 20th-annual FISE festival in Montpellier, France. The qualifying runs had a ridiculously-large crowd, which you will see in the video below, but the finals were ultimately rained out, and the previous day scores served as the final.
UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup Podium – Montpellier, France
Alex Coleborn (GBR)
Daniel Dhers (VEN)
Mike Varga (CAN)
It was, in fact, one year ago today that UCI issued their release saying “The UCI innovates by integrating BMX Freestyle Park into its development strategy” (Full release, linked below). So the progression of the program has moved rather quickly, by any standard.
It’s serious: BMX Freestyle Park has been added to the UCI website, alongside BMX Racing
Freestyle has, for a long time, been BMX Racing’s perceviedly more suave and successful brother, with big sponsor cash for riders and events, inclusion on the Dew Tour and X Games program, TV coverage… and did we say big sponsor cash?
As the founding-ground of the sport, dating back to Bob Haro and RL Osborn (above) in the early 80s, we had to ask: how will the United States be involved in this?
The answer comes in a familiar form. USA BMX is jumping, full-whip, into the Freestyle mix! Tony Degollado, AKA “Tony D” to most who know him, was brought on board recently to head the USA BMX Freestyle effort in Gilbert. Tony was a racer, but in his subsequent industry career, had long-experience with the freestyle scene while on board at Haro Bikes.
News sat down with Tony for a few mins yesterday, and asked him some premininary questions about the USA BMX Freestyle plans. Here’s what he said:
As discussed (and rumored on social media) USA BMX has created a division, appropriately named, “USA BMX Freestyle.”
There are so many questions being asked about this new division. . .some of which I am happy to address and others that will be brought up at this year’s Hall of Fame dinner.
There’s going to be two avenues that will be offered to athletes and riders through USA BMX Freestyle: A digital avenue and a live events avenue.
The digital side will be revealed at the Hall of Fame dinner, but I can say that it’s currently active to the select few, and is a great option to those who have a hard time making it to live events.
The live events (contests) side will be a fun project, with the sole focus on uniting both BMX Race and Freestyle into a festival type of event–with the launch of this new format being introduced at the 2016 Grand National.
The topic of the UCI has been brought up on many occasions with the announcement of the UCI World Cup Park series operated by FISE. My only comment at this time is that USA BMX Freestyle will adhere to the rules and regulations that have been created by UCI/Hurricane groups. They are a great set of guidelines, and it makes it easier to unite the Freestyle contest community globally if we all follow this. Simple is better.
Sorry this can’t be more informative, but at this time we have some pending partnerships that will benefit our 2017 Live Events Tour schedule, and until they are confirmed and the names/dates of the events are secure, we’re holding everything close to our chest. But I will say that we have a seven-stop regional contest series planned with a National Championships to conclude the schedule (for 2017).
INTERESTING!, to say the least. This adds a whole-other component to the prospect of UCI getting involved in BMX Freestyle. Legitimacy in the US is critical for any kind of global effort. And there is no question that USA BMX knows how to run large events professionally.
TRIVIA: Did you know that ABA had a freestyle division in the late 1980s and reportedly owns both the “American Freestyle Association” and “National Freestyle Association” brands, via acquisitions, from back-then?
Late last month, UCI President Brian Cookson, told the world cycling press that he is “pushing to expand track cycling at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.” Olympic watchers know that the Games can only support so-many events for a given sport, so our question is: How will Cookson’s statements, and the coming-on-strong BMX Freestyle game affect BMX Racing’s standing in Olympic Games to come?
Top Photo: Courtesy of FISE
*Shows what WE know: This is an article about BMX Park…and it took me 11 hours to realize the top photo is of the FISE flatland event. Probably gonna take a while for us to acclimate.