We've adopted a bunch of Rule Changes for 2013 and wanted to give you a quick overview of them right here online.
NO CLIPS FOR NOVICES
• Perhaps one of the biggest rule changes for the new year is that Novice riders (of any age) will no longer be allowed to race with clipless pedals. This "no clips" rule is in place for ALL Novice riders regardless of what class they end up racing in (i.e. getting moved to Intermediate or competing in Mixed Open). Basically, if you are a Novice rider - you cannot use clips in competition. Period.
The simple fact is that too many riders are “clipping in” too early (because they see the faster riders clipped in) and are not able to acquire the bike-handling skills that they will need later in their BMX career. We’ve talked to trainers and coaches about how riders who clip in too early are not likely learning the basics, such as manualing (an essential component in BMX racing these days), due to fear of looping out while clipped in. When you also factor in the cost of clipless pedals and shoes, the perceived cost of being “competitive” could be turning off newcomers to BMX.
• Beginning in 2013, Novice riders will need 10 wins to advance to Intermediate (or Girl for females). Also, Intermediate riders will advance to Expert with 20 wins as an Intermediate. Any rider with 20-24 wins at the end of the 2012 season will be credited with 19 wins and will advance to Expert upon his next win. USA BMX will instruct their Track Operators to pay special attention to anyone “sandbagging” (trying to avoid getting that last win), so they can let us know to move those riders up to the next proficiency.
AGE CLASS RESTRUCTURING
• The kids racing cruisers just keep getting younger & younger. For 2013, we’ve responded by introducing the 7 & Under Cruiser class for those riders. Make no mistake, the numbers are there for these young kids racing cruisers and we expect this class to grow exponentially as well.
• The Girls Cruiser class will now have riders checking up two age groups to find a legal, 3 rider class before moving those riders to the Cruiser class of their respective age. This was in response to many concerned riders contacting us about young girls on cruisers ending up racing older ladies.
• The Girls class undergoes a slight change at single point races only by giving Girl riders (the female equivalent of an Expert) the choice to race against the Expert class of their age. This request MUST be done prior to sign-ups closing, as we don’t want these riders affecting the efficiency at which our tracks run their events.
• We also adjusted the older Girls classes to make them more competitive and break out the age groups per the request of the riders. Expect to see 15-16, 17-20, 21-25, 26-30 and 31 & Over Girls classes in 2013.
OPEN WHEEL CLASS
• Good news for Cruiser riders: USA BMX/BMX Canada will now allow Cruisers to compete in the Mixed Open and X-Open classes at nationals. If a rider is racing in the cruiser class and is also competing in the Novice or Intermediate class that day, he may choose to race his 24” bike in the Mixed Open class. If he is racing in the Expert class or only planning to race Cruiser & Open that day, he will be placed in the (Expert) Open class.
REDLINE CUP CHANGES
• Riders will count their best two scores from Redline Cup Qualifier events held at local track, plus Saturday & Sunday of the Redline Cup Finals.
• Riders may race a Redline Cup Final in ANY region.
STATE/PROVINCIAL CHAMP CHANGES
The State/Provincial Championship Series undergoes a major overhaul heading into 2013. First, any state or province with 7 or more tracks will now count a rider’s best four (4) SCR/PCR scores, plus the Final towards their overall ranking. Second, a rider must race in 6 single point races prior to August 1st, 2013 in order to be eligible for a state or provincial ranking. Third, riders can earn an additional bonus point for each single point race ran prior to August 1st above the required six (6), with a maximum of four (4) bonus points being awarded.
• Lastly, the State/Provincial Finals will offer double State/Provincial points for the Final. This will mean an Expert win will be worth 40 points, 2nd is 38, and so forth.
• Perhaps the biggest change for the State Series is that riders will be earning numbers that they can run. Certainly, that alone would have been a big change, but we will be giving Experts (along with Girls, Cruisers & Girl Cruisers) a number plate with a blue background and white number, while the Novice and Intermediate riders (combined) will be doing battle to win a number plate that sports a green background with a white number.
All Champions will still be awarded a FLY backpack for their efforts.
BMX CANADA NATIONALS
• The BMX Canada National Series will count a racer’s Best-5 scores from BMX Canada nationals, plus the BMX Canada Grands to determine CNAG & CNAT rankings. This will allow the riders in Eastern Canada to be able to compete for a BMX Canada CNAG plate with only one trip out West for the Grands.
• There will also be a one-for-one requirement for both US riders & Canadian riders on counting BMX Canada scores towards a USA BMX NAG or National ranking. What this means is that a rider must have raced one (1) USA BMX national for each score from a BMX Canada national that he/she would like to count towards their USA BMX NAG ranking.
NAG PLATES EXPAND FOR EXPERTS
• Speaking of NAG rankings, many people have been asking USA BMX to consider expanding the NAG rankings in the über-competitive amateur boys classes. And we listened.
In 2013, USA BMX will be awarding NAG plates to the top twenty (20) riders in the amateur boys classes. In looking at the numbers, those classes had the numbers to justify the increase.
The Top 10 NAG riders will continue to also receive NAG jackets, while 11-20 will be awarded plates. This still keeps the prestige of being a Top 10 NAG rider intact, while still recognizing that a Top 20 ranking within USA BMX is also a huge accomplishment!
• And finally, riders must have six (6) scores plus race the Grands to be eligible for a NAG plate in 2013. This concept of meeting minimum requirements for eligibility exists in the Redline Cup and State/Provincial Championship Series, so this just makes the idea of requirements universal throughout the program.
Each year, the Rules Committee meets to review current programs and rules, and considers all of the new-rule proposals that are put forth by track operators and members. Much thought is put in to these changes, in order to maintain fair competition and to maintain rider retention.