PDF of 2019 UCI BMX Racing Rules

February 6, 2019 by · Comments Off 

2019 UCI BMX Rules

The UCI BMX rulebook is somewhat of a DiVinci Code situation for a lot of us here in the states. Most of us will never race a UCI-sanctioned event, and those who do (primarily those who race the worlds, or are moving to Elite sometime soon), will need to have some kind of sherpa to guide them through Read more

Liam Phillips Joins UCI as WCC BMX Coach

February 2, 2018 by · Comments Off 

Liam Phillips is UCI World Cycling Center BMX Coach

It has been a little over two months since BMX News ran the story of British star Liam Phillips’ retirement from competition. In that announcement, Liam told News “If I’m no longer able to compete myself, it feels right for me to assist others in their quest to achieve their goals.” Read more

Social Reply: Has UCI/USA BMX Relationship Helped or Hurt the Sport?

November 17, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Social Reply: UCI and USA BMX

Posted on Facebook by Bryan Jones, we answer here, since the reply was too-long for FB.

In this question, we have to do something we do not normally do–separate, exactly, what “the Sport” is.

The bulk of the sport is rank-and-file families, who bring their kids to the BMX track to get in on some true family-oriented fun. Some climb the pyramid up to inter, expert, state races, Gold Cup, and national racing.

The tippy-top levels of the BMX pyramid is made up of Elites, with A-Pros (in the USA) below them, and hotshoe Experts who are considering making the jump to the next class-up.

The former, rank-and-file folks, are not affected by UCI at all (unless they go to the Worlds).

The latter are, however, affected in different ways.

The USA BMX format is, by far, the most mature set of BMX Racing rules in the world. Their self-contained system is set up to promote grassroots racing, on-up to the A-Pro, Pro Women and AA-Pro classes. No other country has such a system.

When an outside force, like UCI, comes in to place certain rules and requirements on the “American flavor” of BMX racing, it DOES hurt the sanctity of the American flavor of BMX Racing, though may not hurt “the Sport,” as a whole. Sit back, as we unpack it.

Three mains, for example, is a uniquely-American format, and is rooted in giving the pros more exposure to the fans. That is critical to sponsor value in supporting athletes.

Also: the inability for the USA BMX #1 pros (Men and Women) to run their #1 plate here at home (even if the UCI #1 is not in attendance), hurts the value of those titles and, by extension, pro/elite racing. (NOT a problem in 2017, with BIG props to our own home-grown UCI World Champions: Corben Sharrah and Alise Post!!)

That said, the pros have done some things to hurt their own program, without UCI or USA BMX influence. Namely, the Friday/Saturday racing schedule. News has been on-record as opposing that since its inception; it denies the Sunday crowd—which is appreciably-larger than the Friday crowd—the opportunity to see their heroes in action.

The reasons for having pro/elite classes, in the first place, are said to include “giving the younger riders something to strive for,” “giving kids ‘heroes’ they can look-up to,” and “providing ‘influencers’ for sponsors to represent products and services.” If that is the case, there is a lot of “optimization” available to make BMX Elite/Pro racing better for all concerned.

So, back to the question at hand: “Has the Relationship Between UCI and USA BMX Helped or Hurt the Sport?”

The UCI program is the gateway to the Olympic Games. The fact that all of the USA BMX Pro Series races are also UCI-calendar events HELPS our athletes earn both nation and athlete points toward Olympic qualifying. That’s a BIG positive.

But, it comes at somewhat of a cost to the “soul” of American BMX Racing. In order to be on that lympic bandwagon, USA BMX has to conform to UCI rules (one main, no USA BMX #1 plate on the track, etc), plus their “equal pay” scale for Elite Men and Elite Women classes.

All of the proverbial players know how that game works and, though the equal pay rule doesn’t make a lot of sense when you have 30 Elite Men and eight Elite Women, it’s a system born in the European tradition, the current thinking of which is equal pay.

OUR BOTTOM LINE: “The Sport” is a big place. In the US, we are fortunate to have the USA BMX system of proficiencies, support for local programs, and a genuinely-good “pyramid” that allows BMXers to participate at the level they are most comfortable. Can you imagine a BMX local scene where there was only one proficiency, by age, here in the USA? Me neither.

For those who ARE affected by UCI influence (Elites, mostly), to borrow a line from Godfather II, “this is the business (they’ve) chosen.”

Thanks to Bryan Jones for posting the big question.

—Mike Carruth


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Social Reply: UCI and USA BMX

UCI Comments on BMX Aus. President Remarks

August 15, 2017 by · Comments Off 


UCI Headquarters in Switzerland
Last week, BMX Australia President, Neil Cameron, posted a 1900-word recap of his trip to the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, SC.

The top portion of his remarks paid recognition to all the riders who were part of Team Australia Read more

Smulders and Phillips Join UCI Athlete Commission

August 7, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Smulders and Phillips Elected to UCI Athlete Commission

As most of the world’s top Elite riders converged on Rock Hill, SC for the 2017 Worlds, another decision would come out of the event, apart from the four Rainbow Jersey Champions: the two duly-elected representatives to be named as BMX representatives to the UCI Athlete Commission.

The stated mission of the Athlete Commission, as defied by UCI, in a release, is as follows:

- Present the UCI Management Committee with a wide-range of considerations in order to improve the role of athletes in all disciplines;

- Promote/improve the respect and rights of athletes across all forms of cycling and in all disciplines;

- Promote ethics and all fair play rules inherent to the practice of cycling at all levels;

- Provide a direct link with the UCI Management Committee for major events;

- Inform athletes of the range of professional training available to them during and after their sporting careers;

- Act as ambassadors and role models for all disciplines and at all levels.

Rounding out the six-member commission are Kristina Vogel (Germany) and Kenny De Ketele (Belgium), and Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) and Simon Zahner (Switzerland), respectively, elected as track cycling and cyclocross representatives, two members apiece.

Of the eligible riders eligible to vote for their favored candidate, a little less than half exercised the privilege.

Liam, Laura and the other members will serve a four-year term, ending at the UCI Congress in 2021.

Congrats to both of them on their election.

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Smulders and Phillips Elected to UCI Athlete Commission

Video: UCI Looks at BMX History

July 23, 2017 by · Comments Off 

UCI History of BMX

There has been long-standing debate in BMX historical circles over the true origins of the sport. Ahead of this week’s UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, SC, the governing body is out with a “History of BMX Racing” video which presents one point of view.

The nine-minute edit gives Read more

Team USA Puts Worlds Players on the Board

June 1, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Team USA For 2017 is Final
Late Thursday, USA Cycling named 18 Junior and Elite athletes to represent the Unites States at the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, SC. The race is only 52 days away, as of today, according to the Dan’s Comp Countdown Clock.

The final list of Team USA challenge class riders is also out now. We have included a link to download it as a PDF below.

All-told, our calculations show 944 total Team USA entries (914 Challenge, 12 Masters and 18 Championship). That is a contingent roughly NINE times the above group from the 2016 worlds in Colombia. It’s going to be an incredible experience for all.

Here now, your 2017 UCI Worlds team:

2017 USA Junior Women Team
Sophia Foresta

2017 USA Junior Men Team
Bryce Batten
Kamren Larsen

2017 USA Elite Women Team
Alise Post
Brooke Crain
Dani George
Shealen Reno
Mika Shaw
Felicia Stancil

2017 USA Elite Men Team
Connor Fields
Nic Long
Corben Sharrah
Sean Gaian
Jared Garcia
Zach Van Kammen
Justin Posey
Jeremy Smith
Jeffrey Upshaw

Download the Challenge and Masters roster using the link below.

We look forward to seeing Team USA suited up and ready for some serious berm warfare in Rock Hill.

—Mike Carruth


Download the PDF of Challenge and Masters class riders

Top Photo via Facebook, photographer unknown

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Box Components Partners With UCI

February 15, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Box UCI BMX Number Plate

Box plates have been a fixture on the UCI circuit for a couple years now. But this week, their partnership took on a higher meaning, as Box became an official UCI partner. With the UCI Worlds happening here, on home soil in 2017, it’s oh-so-perfect that this new partnership gets started in 2017. Read more

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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Preview: 2017 UCI BMX Calendar

October 24, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Preview - 2017 UCI BMX Calendar

The 2017 UCI BMX event calendar is coming together. Taking a quick look at the PDF (link below), one thing that took us by surprise: Of the three stops on the World Cup tour, there isn’t one in the USA.

Naturally, the UCI BMX Worlds are in Rock Hill, USA in July, so that’s a big highlight on the schedule, with lots and lots of BMXers from around the world coming to the States in ’17.

But we were kinda-expecting one of the World Cup stops might touch down here as well, as has been the case every year since 2008.

Here are the SX stops that ARE on the calendar:

May 6-7, 2017 – Papendal, Netherlands
May 13-14 – Zolder, Belgium
September 16-17 – Santiago del Estero, Argentina

As previously reported, the 2017 World Cup format has dropped the Time Trial from the program, and each stop on the tour will now be two race days, good for two World Cup series scores. Thus, fewer stops, but more scores to figure in to a year-end title chase.

The only USA-based race on the UCI calendar thus far is the World Championships on July 25-29. The 2017 USA BMX National schedule has not been fully released yet, so we are anxious to see how that calendar pencils-out and fills in some North American spots in the final version of the UCI BMX calendar.

Looking further down the list, we see national championships for 33 countries, including five (so far) that were not on the 2016 calendar: Iran, Kazakhstan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and Timor Leste.

Stick with BMX News for more developments on the UCI BMX and USA BMX 2017 schedules as details become available.

Click the link below for a PRELIMINARY version of the 2017 UCI BMX calendar. As we noted, more events are being added each week.


Preview: 2017 UCI BMX Calendar

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