BMX bicycle races are sprint races on purpose-built off-road single-lap race tracks. The track usually consists of a starting gate for up to eight racers, a groomed, serpentine, dirt race course made of various jumps and rollers and a finish line. The course is usually smooth with the various jumps built on it, about 15-foot wide and has large banked corners that help the riders maintain speed. There are all types of BMX jumps, ranging from small rollers to massive step-up doubles and table tops. There may also be pro straights which are designed for junior and elite men, and at times can be an optional straight for the amateur classes.
The sport of BMX racing is facilitated by a number of regional and international sanctioning bodies. They provide rules for governing the conduct of the races, specify age group and skill-level classifications among the racers, and maintain some kind of points-accumulation system over the racing season. The sport is very family oriented and largely participant-driven, with riders ranging in age from 3 to 60, and over. Many families can be seen at a local track on a race day with most or all of them involved in the hobby in some way. The kids are racing and the parents are cheering them on or volunteering at the track. Some of the parents are even racing making it a true family sport. Professional ranks also exist for both men and women, where the age ranges from 15 to 40 years old.
A BMX “Class” bike is a strong, quick-handling, lightweight derivative of the standard 20-inch-wheel, single-speed youth bicycle. Variations include a larger 24-inch-wheel “cruiser” class. Cruisers were originally made for adults who couldn’t fit the 20-inch-wheel bikes, but now is raced by all age groups.
While BMX racing is an individual sport, teams are often formed from racers in different classifications for camaraderie and often for business exposure of a sponsoring organization or company. BMX racing rewards strength, quickness, and bike handling. Many successful BMX racers have gone on to leverage their skills in other forms of bicycle and motorcycle competitions.
BMX racing became a medal sport at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing under the UCI (International Cycling Union) sanctioning body. There are various sanctioning bodies around the world, providing a organized body for competitive competitions on BMX tracks.
If you are looking to get started in BMX racing, take a look at this guide to getting stated.