2017 Pro Opener

February 17, 2017 by · Comments Off 

2017 USA BMX Pro Opener**Updated with Sunday Vids**
The 2017 Pro Opener whipped into Phoenix, AZ Friday for the USA BMX Winter Nationals. Day one had 25 Elite Women and 40 Elite Men on the sheets from all over the world. A great showing, with tons of incredible race action.

The deck was tossed in the air more than once, with inopportune wrecks or going off-the-pace throughout the motos, and into the mains. It’s always-awesome watching the best in our sport ply their trade.

Here are both Elite class main events, via USA BMX.

Friday’s Elite Women Main Event

Brooke Crain – Haro
Rachel Mydock – Supercross BMX
Lauren Reynolds – Answer/Rennen

Friday’s Elite Men Main Event

Twan van Gendt – Dutch National Team
Trent Jones – Box Components
Joris Daudet – Chase BMX


The forecast foretold a miserable Saturday for the Phoenix area, with the echo of California’s “epic rain event” heading Northeast. And, for once, the weathermen were pretty on-point.

Volunteers were ready with what penciled-out to be about 20,000 square feet of roll plastic to cover the track. It sprinkled, rained and poured throughout the day, with breaks in the skyfall and even some shadow-throwing brightness at times.

But mud races are never a fun time, and the social media posts had a heavy helping of hatin life. To some we were texting back & forth with, the day could not be over soon enough. Main events ended up at 8:20PM, which is about on-par with a regular Saturday last gate at the Winter Nats.

But, the pros were true-pros and raced, regardless of the rain. Here are the two Elite main events from Saturday:

Saturday’s Elite Women Main Event

Brooke Crain – Haro
Camille Maire – France
Sophia Foresta – GT Bicycles

Saturday’s Elite Men Main Event

Anthony Dean – Supercross BMX/TLD
Joris Daudet – Chase BMX
Dave van der Burg – Dutch National Team

Got to give a shout out to Anthony Dean for closing the deal that slipped through his grasp on Friday. Also to Sophia Foresta for hitting the podium on her first pro weekend. The “stick to your line” award goes to Joris for that last turn tango with Torres, and of course Brooke Crain for putting up double-aces on the weekend.

News doesn’t generally shoot in the rain, so we pulled the plug on this trip Thursday morning, but that only means the gear is clean, packed and ready to set sail for Oldsmar, the first stop on the 2017 USA BMX North American Supercross Series. Gonna be a great weekend, so ride along with us!

—Mike Carruth

We appreciate the ability to lean on our BMX Media brethren, Jerry Landrum (for the top shot) and USA BMX for the Winter Nats vids. Thanks guys!

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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.
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.

—Mike Carruth


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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.

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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April 29, 2015 by · Comments Off 

A-Pro Protest at the 2015 USA BMX Dixieland Nationals

The topic of pro payouts is one that rings the alert bell here at the BMX News Global Command center every once in a while. Almost everyone, in almost every field of endeavor, can make a case on why they should be paid more for what they do on a day-to-day basis, and the A-Pros in BMX Racing are no different.

Last weekend, at the 2015 Dixieland Nationals, they decided to take a stand. They would protest their pay by staging what, in labor circles, would be called a “work stoppage (second main) and work slowdown (third main)” during Sunday’s main events.

As Carl Lein reported in our recap of the race, the first of three main events went off as-normal, with Kenneth Gustafson winning a full-on, “well-contested lap,” as Carl put it.

The second main gate was seven men lite, only Factory Ssquared local hero, Chandler Denton was in the gate, and easily won the ghost-lap. On the third go-round, all eight showed up, but slow-rolled the lap with, again quoting Carl’s recap, “Chandler rolling a little faster,” and scoring the round three slow-win.

Later, several A-Pros met with USA BMX officials behind the trailer to air their greivances, and try to talk the thing through.

But the real heat of this issue was yet to come, as social media lit up on the way home, ultimately reaching more than 300 comments on the personal Facebook page of Doublecross Bikes team manager, Doran Bradshaw. These comments were highly contentious, and from all-corners of the BMX map. From riders, to bike company owners, to team managers, to retired pros to USA BMX staffers on their own time and, yes, guys like me.

Like most Internet debates, the opinions covered the gamut and were a little more plussed-up than they might have been if all parties were sitting ’round the dinner table at Olive Garden. Still, it was an awesome display of the passion, politics and position of the people posting.

But, after three days of watching this drama unfold on “teh Interwebs,” the reasons for the protest and underlying facts were still very murky, and usually spun in the direction of whomever had the cyber mic at the time.

So, to try and separate some of the sensationalism from the realism, BMX News reached out to Olijuwon Davis, the A-Pro who was doing most of the talking on behalf of the riders, and USA BMX for their respective statements on the core of the protest, and how the league sees it, respectively. First, Olijuwon:

When was the first discussion about a protest?
The first discussion took place on Saturday morning as there were jokes going on from one guy to another about how stiff the competition has been thus far in the season. Being that the scene is as strong as it is and the fact that we race 3 main events, we were reminiscing on this same race from years past; what the rider count looked like/how thick the competition was and how much was awarded to the winner at that time. As a matter of fact, two of the gentlemen involved in the conversation were winners of the race in years past: Mike Caldwell and myself. Therefore, we knew what the compensation looked like then compared to now.

What, exactly, was the reason for the protest?
The reason for the protest was simply to make a statement that we are aware of our drop in pay (dating back to Louisiana 2014, Day 1) and that we were upset because there was never an explanation as to why that drop occurred. They simply handed the check to the race winner that day and the value of that check was $400 (even though there were 17+ riders which gives us semis and prior to that, a win for a semi race was $500).

So, on that day in 2014, as young men do, we heckled the race winner and told him that the organization owed him an additional $100 for his win or that they owed us all an explanation as to why the $100 was taken off (for which we were never given a definitive answer). Another reason is due to the lack of consistency in pay prior to that date.

I can only speak on personal experience: at Disney Cup 2012, I crashed and finished 6th in the final, and was paid x-amount of dollars for that finish.

The next day, I did worse and got 6th place in the semi and didn’t make the main but somehow, my check amount that day was more than the check from the day before when I made the main. That should be impossible. And at that point in time, I was given no explanation when I asked why as I stood at the trailer. Others have gone through these types of things as well, but I can only speak on my personal experience. So, this protest didn’t happen in a vacuum, there have been several instances over the years that have led up to us taking a stand.

Sure they have the pay scale printed out now but prior to questions being asked within the last couple years, I never saw anything like that. Payment for finishing in a particular position didn’t match up with pay from that same finish with the same “general rider count” from one day to the next: the pay scale was all over the place and seemed as if it was just decided and then written on the check right before they handed them out. I could be completely wrong, but that seems to be the case considering the inconsistencies.

Was the pay situation discussed with USA BMX officials before the protest went into effect?
The pay situation was not directly discussed with the USA BMX officials prior to the protest, although several of us have voiced our concerns about our compensation on several occasions. With that being said, I would like to apologize for all of us involved for not having an actual proposal in place prior to acting upon this. We felt like this was, “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” and that is what sparked our discussion and actions.

What was the result you were hoping to achieve by way of the protest?
The result that we were hoping to achieve from our protest was to get USA BMX officials to speak with us and give us some actual answers and/or allow us to voice our concern to them, which was the ultimate result of our actions.

We weren’t looking to be paid more that very day; that is absolutely absurd and almost completely unlikely. It had been going on long enough and we needed to take a stand. Unfortunately, if more people witness an event and are made aware of the reason behind it, the powers-that-be are somewhat more compelled to act upon the problem, if you will. That is why we decided to roll the third main: so that the people could see that we were taking a stance on something rather than just wondering why were weren’t on the track. That would have been the case had we not coasted around in our respective order when it was time for the third main.

With all of that being said, that stance was just the spark. For this “fire” is to continue, us A Pros who were present, as well as other A Pros who feel the same way about the situation, are going to have to come together and create a proposal of some sort, then come up with something quantifiable as to why we deserve more compensation. This is only a beginning.

Do you feel you have accomplished that objective, now that the protest has occurred?
I do feel that our objective was accomplished by our protest: we wanted to have the opportunity to speak with USA BMX and have our concerns heard and we accomplished that. We wanted the people to know that we felt an injustice was being done toward us, and I feel we accomplished that as well. Whether or not each person on the outside agrees with our actions or not is up to them. We were the ones involved, we made a decision as a collective unit, and acted as we felt necessary.

Any additional comments?
Long story short, every athlete that is highly competitive and/or successful in A Pro, these days, dedicates time to perfecting their craft. Lots of those athletes have the desire to take their efforts to the next level—not all, but a lot of us—and I happen to be one of those athletes. The class isn’t what it used to be years back when my 17-18x class could horse every A Pro down the first straight and around the track (look up who was “my generation” of amateurs: David Herman, Nic Long, Jeff Upshaw, Lee Lewis, Kris Fox, etc.). The class now consists of athletes who are racing A Pro as well as Elite and some of us are able to compete at the next level, we just simply haven’t been able to reach that full-time AA/Elite status, as yet, for whatever reason.

Even when we do reach that level, there is no guarantee that anyone will be one of the final 8 guys in the main event at each race. That is the beauty of our sport: I truly believe it is the most challenging sports to be highly successful at, and I’ve played lots of sports, a couple at a high level. That’s fine, it builds persistence and other great characteristics that help us succeed in our sport, and every other aspect of our lives. With that being said, we do dedicate time to the gym, to our sprints, and to the track. Lots of us make sacrifices everyday. Some of us have hired coaches to help provide us with the proper training necessary to be highly competitive at the top of our sport.

The class isn’t just a bunch of weekend warriors who are trying to race for a couple of dollars. We are in this because we love it and we want to do the best at it. Who doesn’t dream of playing their sport at the highest level? I did as a child, and still do. And so do other kids out there. Should those same kids work their butts off year after year to earn the right to turn pro just to make nothing, in some cases? I don’t think so. There is a level of dedication that goes into this sport if one wants to be successful. Truth is, the racing aspect, meaning being paid for your results, isn’t going to be sufficient for one to make a living. That’s why we must be professional: so that companies want to support us due to our marketing capabilities.

Many of us take different avenues to benefit financially from the sport. Personally, I have been hosting clinics and private training sessions in which I coach and mentor riders of all ages and skill levels. I have done this for 8 years now. So, this wasn’t a cry for USA BMX to “pay our bills for us.” It was an attempt to state that we feel like we’re putting in more work than we’re being compensated for.

For everyone out there: if you were offended by this, myself, as well as every A Pro present, apologizes for the way we made you feel. For everyone who was in support of us, thank you. We felt we needed to stand up for what we felt and that is what we do.

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

Josh Smith, brother to Dixieland main-maker Jeremy Smith, and an A-Pro himself, posted the following on Doran’s Facebook megathread:

After looking, based on the 17-25 (rider) count, here’s the difference, so it’s clear. It’s still a $1,500 payout, but since they now pay 5/6th in each semi, the $260 (5th=$70×2 and 6th=$60×2) that was removed from the main event pay all came out of the pay the top 3 riders receive (which is what makes it so drastic and why it looks so bad).

USA BMX sent News the following on the pay scale question:

The pro athletes were sent a detailed payout sheet this year that explained all payouts, qualifications, and other items pertaining to pro racing. There were no changes made to the A-Pro payout in 2015, and it remains the same as it was in 2014. We offer the A-Pro class at every USA BMX National throughout the year and as long as five riders are registered, a purse is offered at all of the 60+ events on the schedule (Editor’s Note: Fri, Sat and Sun of national weekends). As with any purse that is determined by the number of entries, the purse will vary from location to location and often from day to day.

The A Pro class is unique in that a rider can be an A-Pro their entire professional life. We have always supported the A-Pro class and look at the class as a stepping-stone to “AA.” While we realize that many will not make that step, the privilege of racing as a professional has still been offered. In 2015, the $4,000 earnings cap was removed from A-Pro and riders can hone and develop their skills in A-Pro the entire year if they so desire. This change was made in conjunction with our changes for younger riders competing in the Junior class and to assist in developing younger riders and preparing them for the “elite” class. This change has brought younger riders into the A-Pro class in 2015 and will hopefully prepare more riders for the elite level of racing.

The changes in 2015 have prompted much discussion and additional changes and improvements are planned for 2016 based on rider and team feedback. As always, we are happy to hear from our membership and constantly looking for ways to evolve and grow our programs.

Those are the facts, as each side sees them. From that, you can form your own opinion of how it should ultimately end up.

Meanwhile, with this weekend’s Seaside Nationals coming up in just a few days, we are not aware of any rumblings of a similar protest on the West Coast by A-Pros. BMX News will be on-scene there as well, and will report any haps on the starting hill that tilt in this direction.

—Mike Carruth


2015 Dixieland Nationals Recap and Photos

Brandon Elmore Doubles-Up in First Pro Outing

January 27, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Brandon Elmore Doubles Up in First Pro Outing

Stop number two of the 2014 USA BMX National Series in in the books, after a great weekend of racing in Tulsa. With 195 motos on Saturday, the race drew entries from all corners of the map, and the USA BMX team built a fun and fast track in the Ford Trucks arena.

A-Pro was the top-class attraction of the weekend and was topped, both days, by pro class first-timer, Brandon Elmore of Ssquared Answer.

A great kick-off to his pro career, Brandon was both stoked and humble about his twin wins in Tulsa Town, telling News

Going in to the race, I really didn’t know what to think or what to expect. But I did know I was confident in the training I have been doing.

When I was up there for my first main I was a little nervous. But after it happened, I realized there’s nothing to be nervous about, it was just another race.

As the weekend went on, I felt like I was getting better and better on the track. When I got that big check on Saturday, I couldnt stop smiling– I was so happy! I couldn’t wait for day two! All I could think about was “this is my pro debut and I wanna win two days in row and get another check!”

Day two came and suddenly, it was main time. A good friend told me “I saw you win your first main. Then I saw you win it again– might have been luck.” So, the third main came around, and he said “now let me see if your a champion!” When I won, I was so proud of myself–I couldn’t have been happier!

That was a very cool retelling of how the weekend went down for the Sooner Nationals top pro. We have been a big fan of Brandon’s for a while now, and it’s great to see him stepping into the next phase of his career with purpose and poise.

His next race will be the Bluegrass Nationals in Louisville in two weeks. We’ll look forward to seeing him there!

Videos courtesy of Jonathan Hoag, via YouTube

Day Two Main 1

Day Two Main 2

Day Two Main 3

Top: Saturday Podium: Brandon Elmore (middle), Lee Lewis (Left) and Beau Richards (Right, for Factory Doublecross). Via Facebook.

Sunday Podium (not pictured): Brandon Elmore, Lee Lewis and Olijuwon Davis (Factory Doublecross)


Ssquared Bicycles Website

Answer BMX Website

Ssquared Answer Factory Team Facebook Page

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USA BMX Changes Pro Age Eligibility

January 9, 2014 by · Comments Off 

2014 USA BMX Pro Age Changes

BMX News was following the USA BMX contingent on Facebook as they made their way over the Atlantic to Switzerland for a meeting at UCI HQ, including a meeting of Supercross World Cup promoters. One of the headlines to come out of that meeting is a change to USA BMX rules which allows riders born in 1997 and earlier to turn pro. That means that all 17 year olds can now turn pro in USA BMX (the previous rule was that females had to be 19, and males 17).

Here is a release USA BMX sent out earlier today:

The USA BMX leadership team is returning home from Switzerland after meeting with BMX officials at the International Cycling Union (UCI). While many items were discussed, the change in the running of pro classes warrants immediate release. With the first USA BMX pro event of the 2014 season occurring this weekend in Reno, Nevada, USA BMX officials wanted to inform the membership of the change.

Effective immediately, all riders born in 1997 or before will be eligible to pursue a pro license and compete in the pro class. For the male racer, this will be racing in the A Pro class and for the female racer, the Women’s Pro class. Previously, females were not allowed to turn pro until the year of their 19th birthday and males were not allowed to turn until they had reached 17. This will also allow racers that previously were not of age to compete in the Elite class the ability to compete, as long as they were born in 1997 or earlier.

As a result of the meeting with UCI, USA BMX will combine Junior and Elite classes at all USA BMX pro events as well as all UCI events in accordance with the UCI rulebook. This change will allow USA BMX to continue running UCI races that also count towards the USA BMX Pro Title.

BA Anderson, CEO at USA BMX said:
“We are very pleased with this change and the other discussions we had with UCI leaders. We have worked to align our programs in many ways while still maintaining the wishes of our membership. The changes in C1 races will allow us to continue awarding USA BMX points at these races as well as stay within the guidelines of the UCI. With Olympic qualification for 2016 now beginning, we want to ensure that we are giving our membership the best opportunity and doing what is best for the sport.”

What this means is that USA BMX riders can turn pro in their 17th year. The UCI rule that states an “Elite” is one who is in their 19th year will not change. This rule will simply allow USA BMX to combine what would have previously been the Junior and the Elite class into one class. A 17-year old amateur can, as a result of this rule, race “Elite” at UCI races happening in the USA BMX schedule. However, that rider must then turn A Pro as of the following year.

This rule takes effect as of the first race of the year–this weekend’s USA BMX Silver Dollar Nationals.

We will update this story as it becomes necessary, so bookmark this page!


Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Podcast: Willoughby Closes-Out Pay Dispute

June 4, 2013 by · Comments Off 

USA BMX Elite Podium on Friday, May 31, 2013

The pay dispute that prompted the Elite Men and Elite Women classes to walk-off the track on Sunday seems to be at a closure point for all concerned. USA BMX announced Monday that they would make good on the difference in pay between the “enhanced” purses it promised in a December 4, 2012 press release, and what was actually paid out in Oldsmar and Nashville.

USA BMX #1 Pro Sam Willoughby joins us on the Podcast today to talk about the behind-the-scenes perspective of how things got to a point where the only option was to walk off the hill. Sam also talks about how USA BMX handled discussions with the Elites who questioned the payout. Since all of the win money in question is Sam’s, we felt it made the most sense to talk to him about how it all got resolved–and what both sides are planning to do to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

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Sam Willoughby Podcast
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Top Photo: Though not the best photo in the world, it is the starting poing in the weekend’s saga. Friday Night, podium checks were used which did not have any money numbers written on them (for men and women). Thus the issue was not discovered until Saturday’s race was over, and the podium checks for day two were displayed. Sam’s was $1050, when it should have been $3500.


USA BMX Statement on Elite Protest

Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Donny Robinson and Hyper Part Ways

February 8, 2013 by · Comments Off 

BMX News - Donny Robinson and Hyper Bicycles Part Ways

Not long after the Grands, we started hearing that there would be some sponsor changes coming to the pro ranks, as contracts intended to encompass the 2012 Olympics came to an end. Not many of those changes have been officially revealed; we have seen Caroline Buchanan in her new DK kit, and have heard recently that Maris, David and Cristian have not yet signed on with Free Agent for 2013 (but also not to read too much into that fact).

But today, one of the rumors that was sort of “out there” for the past month or so was confirmed, when Hyper Bicycles announced they had parted ways with Donny Robinson.

The release said:

Hyper Bicycles regrets to announce the departure of Donny “dR” Robinson from the Hyper factory racing team. After five incredibly successful years, which included an Elite World Championship and an Olympic Bronze medal, Donny and Hyper have decided to part ways.

Hyper President Clay Goldsmid said, “Donny has been a great spokesperson for Hyper and a true Ambassador for the sport of BMX. We wish him success in his future endeavors.”

We have been fortunate to share in Donny’s accomplishments on and off the track. His deep faith and commitment to working with young people allow us to appreciate him as more than just one of the greatest BMX Racers of his generation.

Hyper Brand Manager Jud Ciancio said: “I was always proud to see Donny at the track wearing Hyper gear. Watching Donny race and seeing his determination was always inspirational.”

Donny was also key to the success of the Hyper “dR Pro Model” Program which made competitive, starter BMX bikes available to thousands of kids who would not otherwise had the chance to experience our sport.

We look forward to watching Donny continue as a winner on the track, and in life.

Of the change, Donny told BMX News:

I rode for Hyper as an amateur back in 1994, and returning to the team in 2007 was like a homecoming. Our relationship produced an Olympic Bronze Medal, a World Championship title, as well as a BMX-Racing-specific bicycle in Walmart. Although Hyper’s focus may be changing, I am indebted to them for the opportunities they allowed for me. We have been, and will always remain close friends. I look forward to what this next chapter in my racing career will bring.

And while no official word is yet out on where that next chapter will take dR, word around Northern California, and in the Facebook universe has reports of Donny on a new bike already. Whether that is just a hook-up for something new to ride, or a prelude to news to be released in coming days will be keeping us close to the BMX News ticker tape. As soon as we know for sure, we’ll report it. With the season opener 21 days away, it’s likely we will know sooner rather than later.


Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles