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Donny Does Nickelodeon Day of Play in NYC

September 20, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Donny and Tiffany Robinson at Nickelodeon Day of Play/NYC

By Donny Robinson
For over a decade, Nickelodeon has hosted targeted events all over the US, that help encourage kids and parents to turn off the TV and play, specifically, outdoors. By offering a slew of activities (such as bicycle riding, baseball, basketball, football & soccer, to name a few) kids are able to partake in “real-life” video games that offer friendships, as well as many life-building lessons.

The culminating gathering of the year-long push to promote healthier lifestyles is always one not to be missed, as Nickelodeon pulls out all the stops, inviting popular Nick stars and sports icons to liven up the atmosphere. Did I mention you can even get “slimed?!” Yes, there’s not many better sights than seeing hundreds of kids and their parents enjoying an afternoon of family fun.

Held at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY for the second year in a row, the 2017 installment of the Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play was an extra-awesome experience for me, as USA BMX once again partnered with Nickelodeon to offer the youngsters in the audience the chance to get aboard a Strider Bike on a very-cool, custom course. I attended the event last year with my sidekick (and USA BMX Foundation Director, Mike DuVarney). This year, I was with my wife, Tiffany, for the trip, and we set-about the mission of getting the youngest New Yorkers on bikes!

Strider Bikes at 2017 Day of Play/NYC

This day must be on any kid’s wish list, as the center of the park becomes home to setups from the likes of MLB, NFL, MLS, NBA and ABA (yes, the American Bicycle Association) – how could anybody not get jazzed on going from booth-to-booth, collecting swag and trying their hand at finding their passion? And, in between swinging, pedaling and kicking, participants can jump in on bounce houses, get “slimed” or take a refreshing break at the “Milk It!” tent.

Tiffany and I were stationed at the USA BMX booth for the day, which just happened to be next to MLB and the “sliming station,” so you can imagine the foot traffic we got. Because all of the setups had a size restrictions, the course we provided became strictly for those ages 4–under and utilized the ever-popular Strider brand of push-bikes, on a wooden layout that went together like a puzzle piece – which worked out well for the younger crowd who could not take part in the other activities.

Only being interrupted for a moment by a camera crew who was looking to get some clips with me that might entice kids to get on their bicycles at home, the day was a non-stop ride, as we worked to activate families around the push-bike, in hopes that one day soon, they might develop the love for two wheels and find their way out to a BMX track.

Many thanks to USA BMX for allowing me the opportunity and to Nickelodeon for being such an amazing partner, pushing a great cause.

—Donny





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Strider Bikes at 2017 Day of Play/NYC

2017 Grands Entry Fees Skyrocket. Or Do They?

August 30, 2017 by · Comments Off 

2017 Grands Entry Fees
BMXers woke up to a Tuesday morning in full social media meltdown over entry fees at the upcoming 2017 USA BMX Grand National. Post, after post, after post had the same screenshot from the USABMX.COM (mobile) pre-registration site, along with all-manner of “angry” emoticons, all-caps-jabs Read more

Practice, Preps and Pep Talks

July 24, 2017 by · Comments Off 

2017 UCI BMX Worlds Team USA Photo
Day two leading-up to racing at the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships got underway on Monday. Day one went smooth, until the weather dealt a wild card to the schedule.

Team USA got it’s Sunday practice in, but two of the later groups were rained out, as a wicked thunderstorm kicked up in the mid-afternoon. The Monday practice schedule was rejiggered, and the two groups that missed out on Sunday got in early on Monday, and then later in the day.

The Sunday storm put the expo area on spin cycle, tossing tents and soaking staff, and later pulling the power plug on parts of Rock Hill, which included the Wintrop Coliseum, site of the Team USA all-rider meeting.

Meanwhile BMXers from all over the world flooded into area stores, buying up provisions for race day: bottled water, sandwich supplies, ice, and every-manner of other accompaniment you can imagine. When they talk about “economic impact” of an event as large as this, you get a real sense of that by watching tables of hungry diners at the Outback, or full carts at the local grocery store, or “No Vacancy” signs on hotel-after-hotel.

I lucked out by the Sunday reschedule of the team meeting; I was driving here during the time it was originally scheduled, but got to see the event, in full, this afternoon, when it started at around 2:10PM.

Winthrop University Coliseum is an honest-to-goodness basketball stadium (college-level), and fully-half of its capacity was jammed with Team USA riders and their families.

USA BMX COO, John David kicked-off the festivities with an introduction of the dozens-deep support staff, brought in to make sure all 1000+ members of the team are well-cared-for.

Chris Luna spoke about some of the do’s and don’ts of UCI racing—which is different than many of us are used to. Some great tips in his briefing that will keep American riders on the right side of the rules.

Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols addressed the audience, with words of support from the home town crowd. And Carley Young gave a well-executed pep-talk to rally the excitement, and get everyone’s focus and stoke aligned just-right.

Once the meeting was adjourned, the staff staged-up a team photo (above), so those of use in the media, and every parent with a smart phone had a chance to capture this epic, unprecedented crowd—all in one place, all wearing a singular jersey “TEAM USA!”

BMX News 2016 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Later in the afternoon, after practice was concluded, we learned of a change to the program for Tuesday’s Cruiser racing.

The Event Management team is aware that weather patterns are forecast that will interrupt racing and could cause danger to riders.

Likewise, a combination of very high temperatures and humidity greatly increases the likelihood of heat-related injuries for all participants, including event and team staff, riders, and the public.

For the safety of riders and staff a decision has been made to amend the format for racing of the Cruiser categories on Tuesday 25 July.

Riders will compete over two (2) Motos, then move to the qualifiers and the main final.

This change will reduce the length of racing and the time at the venue, so that the racing is finished prior to the forecasted storms and adverse weather patterns and so that everyone is less exposed to the possibility of heat related injuries.

For the future day’s events of the 20 inch categories, a decision will be made each evening for the following day of racing once the updated weather forecasting information is made available. A decision on the format for the following days racing will be communicated via a communique to the Team Managers.

Be assured this decision was not taken lightly and has been made in the interests of safety for all.

IN SUMMARY:
The race format for the Cruiser categories will consist of two (2) Motos then progressing to the qualifiers and the main final.

Norm McCann
BMX Secretary
UCI Aigle, Switzerland

Tuesday’s Cruiser racing has 1024 entries, to be run in 150 motos. The largest class is 40-44, with 107 riders.Racing gets underway at 8:00AM Eastern time, and our estimate is that it will be concluded by 1:30PM.

Stick with News throughout the week for more from the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships.

—Mike Carruth

Drop in on the live stream of Tuesday’s Cruiser racing





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2017 UCI BMX Worlds Team USA Photo

USA BMX “Epicenter” May Have Found a Home

July 5, 2017 by · Comments Off 

US Steel Evans-Fintube Site - Tulsa, OK
Last month, BMX News reported that contractural conflicts arising from soft drink “pour rights” at the Tulsa Fairgrounds had effectively ended the plan to bring the USA BMX “Epicenter” facility to Expo Square, site of the annual USA BMX Grand National.

In a release, USA BMX CEO, BA Anderson Read more

Coca-Cola “Pour Rights” Take the Fizz Out of
USA BMX Expo Square Plan

June 15, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Coke Pour Rights Take Fizz Out of USA BMX Tulsa Deal

On April 6, of last year, BMX News celebrated with the rest of the BMX universe, as voters in Tulsa County, Oklahoma approved a ballot initiative called “Vision 2025.”

This initiative had a lot packed into it, but a small portion of the $882 Million plan included about $16 million for the construction of a new USA BMX headquarters complex, training facility and dual hill, indoor BMX track (a facility we have taken to call the “Epicenter project”), at the Northeast corner of the Expo Square fairgrounds—home to the USA BMX Grand National.

All systems seemed to be “go” to proceed for a 2019 move-in date—just in time to train the 2020 US Olympic BMX Team for the Tokyo games. That is, if all went according to plan.

Anyone who has remodeled a bathroom in their own home knows that construction projects routinely go off the rails. Completion dates slip, budgets balloon, and you’re taking a shower in the “temporary” stall in the backyard for a lot longer than you ever thought possible.

Fast forward to this week, when local media in Tulsa (links below) carried the story that a long-standing agreement between the Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Expo Square requires that only Coke products are poured on the property. Seems like a small thing at first blush, but when you go a bit deeper, it was a deal breaker for USA BMX, at least for the Expo Square location.

BA Anderson told News, via a statement:

USA BMX is certainly disappointed that we were unable to come to an agreement with Expo Square as the future home of the USA BMX headquarters. This was certainly not from a lack of effort from all parties including USA BMX, Expo Square and the Tulsa Sports Commission.

As this agreement spans multiple decades it became very challenging to ensure that certain limitations would not hurt the long-term sustainability of the new venue. Multiple limitations required by Expo Square which were out of their control simply became too burdensome to allow the agreement to move forward.

Regardless, this has in no way hampered the relationship between USA BMX and Expo Square for our most coveted event, the Grand Nationals.

I also want to reiterate that we remain completely committed to the relocation to Tulsa. The City and the Mayors office is dedicated to finding the best site for the long term growth and development of USA BMX. In fact last week I personally visited 3 alternative locations.

So, the project will progress, though on a side-track, instead of the express rails. BMX Racing continues on its merry way, and USA BMX staffers will call the 602 (well, the 480, really) their home for the foreseeable future. It is going to be 120 degrees in Gilbert on Tuesday—a perfect day for an ice-cold Coke Pepsi.

—MIke Carruth

BMX News will update you on this story as developments develop.

Links

The Frontier: Soda sales likely to keep proposed BMX training facility from Expo Square

Tulsa World: City scrambles to find new site for BMX facility

BMX News: Tulsa Voters Clear Path for USA BMX Epicenter





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Coke Pour Rights Take Fizz Out of USA BMX Tulsa Deal

Reader Letter: How Much Are the Worlds?

April 19, 2017 by · Comments Off 

How Much are the 2017 Worlds

My daughter qualified for Worlds and we are ready to sign her up. I have seen a lot of varying information on Facebook on how much it is going to cost. Some say $500, some say $900, some say $700. We are trying to get the money together to do this, but don’t know how much we’ll actually need. Can you help?

LB—Southwest

Thanks for writing LB. To get right to it, the answer to your question is “Yes, we can help.” As for the cost, the answer is not as straightforward. There are a lot of variables that could impact the final cost of your registration.

For this excursion, you need to start out with a USA Cycling membership (since USAC is the direct affiliate to UCI). That membership is $100 for riders 18-under, or $200 for riders 19-over. We will figure $100, since you are taking care of the registration for your child. You must have a USA Cycling membership number in order to complete your online registration at USA BMX (so we recommend you don’t run it right down to the deadline).

(Select the “International” membership —> BMX Racing —> “Challenge”).

*NOTE: UCI doesn’t have pro and amateur like USA BMX. Instead, it is “Championship” (Junior Elite, Elite and Masters) and “Challenge” (all others). So, technically, you are racing the “2017 UCI BMX World Challenge,” and the Elites are racing the World Championships. Generically, however, the whole event is referred to— even by UCI— as the UCI BMX World Championships.

OK, back to the question at hand.

The entry fee for one bike is $350. That is paid to USA BMX, via usabmx.com, and covers your registration fee, one Team USA Jersey and various support services at the race (outlined below).

If you want your name on the back of the jersey, add $15. You can also have a sponsor logo on the front (4” tall by 12” wide). Add another $15 if you want that (and have the artwork ready when you go to sign up, because there are no changes permitted once you submit).

So far, we’re at “approximately” $480 (if you want the name and sponsor logos).

You can get an extra Team USA jersey for $50 (plus name and logos, if you want them). $50-$80 total. Now, you’re at $560.

Add a second bike, if you choose, for another $350. You will get a second jersey as part of that entry fee, thus no need to buy a second one.

So, on the low side (one bike, no add-ons, for a rider 18-under), you’re at $450 for one bike. On the high side, an over-18 rider would be at approximately $960 for two bikes, with add-ons for two jerseys.

That is the REGISTRATION portion. Also be sure to budget-in funds for spectator tickets. These are not included in your registration, and any non-riders must buy a ticket in order to be admitted into the event. Tickets will cost $12.50 for a day pass, or $50 for the full five-day event (if purchased before the event).

Your $350 per-bike registration includes:
UCI Registration Fee
Team USA Jersey
On-Site Support (coach for every age class)
Athletic trainer and medical staff
Team Mechanic
Water/Sports drinks and “race-oriented” snacks

DOES NOT INCLUDE: USA Cycling Membership (+$100 or +$200)

What if I Didn’t Qualify?
If you did not qualify via one of the four qualifying races, you can file a “discretionary petition” and plead your case on why you should be allowed to race. If there is room in your class (32 US riders are allowed in each class, since we are the host country), your chances are good (but not guaranteed).

Important Dates
April 28 – Deadline to submit discretionary petitions
May 12 – Registration deadline for qualified riders
May 19 – List of “Approved” Discretionary Petitioners Released
May 26 – Reg Deadline for Approved Discretionary Petitioners

Links

USA BMX 2017 World Championships Info Page





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Letter: Why Do We Earn District Points Outside our District?

February 9, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Letter: Why are there district points outside the district?

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:

Tyler Brown Post on Local BMX Racing

*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.

USA BMX District Points

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 brad@usabmx.com.

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.

—Mike Carruth

Podcast: John David on 2017 Pro Pay & More

January 20, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Podcast: John David on 2017 Pro Pay & More

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.

Listen now.

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iOS users: paste the URL below into your device’s browser to listen
http://bmxurl.com/iosjd

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.

—Mike Carruth


Comments





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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





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2017 USA BMX Rule Changes

December 27, 2016 by · Comments Off 

2017 USA BMX Rule Changes

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

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