What you will need to start:
Most racers start with their 20" bike by removing the chain guard, kick stand, reflectors and pegs.
There is also a cruiser class for those riders with 24" bikes.
Who will I race?
Races are organized into separate girls and boys classes then subdivided into age groups and skill levels. The age groups range from 5 and under to 51 and over classes. Within these age groups are three skill levels: Novice, Intermediate and Expert. All riders start as novices and work up to the more advanced levels by winning races.
How much does it cost?
Once you have become an ABA member, (Click here for more ABA Membership information), the only cost will be the race day entry fee. The entry fee entitles you to be a participant in the day's actions. A typical BMX race includes 2 or 3 qualifying motos along with the main event. In the main event, you race for awards (stamps or trophies), determined by your finish, along with the precious ABA points. Most races at EPBMX are $10.
New riders at Emery Park who purchase of full membership will receive a Congratulations 1st time rider trophy, no matter how you place your first race. These are awarded during intermission.
Required Apparel and Equipment
- All riders must wear helmets with a permanent strap attached, snaps are not allowed. Helmets must have sufficient padding and be of good quality. The ABA highly recommends a full-face helmet or a helmet that covers the ears. (Loaner Helmets are avalible at sign-ups)
- All riders must wear enclosed shoes, which are sufficient to protect the rider's feet. (No open toed/back shoes will be allowed)
- All riders must wear long pants (waist to ankles) Or knee length shorts, with shin and knee pads
- It is recommended that riders must wear long sleeved shirts. Short sleeved shirts and sufficient elbow padding is allowable
- It is recommended that riders must wear gloces also
- Handlebar grips are required and must be sufficient to fully cover and enclose all metal and openings on the handlebar ends
- All kickstands, chain guards, fenders and reflector brackets must be removed
- No bicycle with any freestyle type pegs will be allowed on the track at any time
- All bikes must have some form of operating braking system-hand and/or coaster (foot) brake
- All equipment must be safe and in good condition in order to compete or practice
Want to try out BMX? Don't have a bike or helmet?
Come to registration we have a few bikes, jerseys and helmets you can borrow to try out BMX. We have limited number of bikes and equipment to loan new riders, first come first serve basis. So come early to pre sign to try out BMX. If you are wanting to borrow bike, we strongly suggest you come early, limited number of bikes available. First come serve basis.
Reading Moto Sheets
What moto are you in? What gate do you have? Who are you racing?
It's the call everyone is waiting for. "Motos are posted!" Suddenly, everyone drops what they are doing and crowds around the moto boards. The moto sheets will tell you what race you are in, who is in your race, how many are transferring to the main, and what gate positions you have. All of this is vital information that you'll need to know. Be sure everything listed for your rider is correct. All points and awards go to the name and number listed on the moto sheet. If it's not correct, you will not get your points/awards. If you find that it is not correct, let the administrators know and it will be corrected and motos will be re-posted.
Transfer System: How to Qualify for "The Main"
In BMX racing, the goal is to make it to the main event. That's where the trophies are awarded and points earned. To get to the main event, you've got two or three chances to qualify. These rounds of qualifying are called "motos".
In ABA-sanctioned races, the method used in qualifying is called the "Transfer System". It is designed to reward the winner (by transferring him/her to the main event) and give all the remaining racers an equal chance at winning the next moto.
The simplest way to describe the Transfer System is that "one rider will not transfer". (NOTE: in the case of more than nine riders, more that one rider will not transfer.) Simply put, if there are 5 riders in the motos, one will not transfer and 4 will make it to the big show.
When your race is posted, the "transfer" will be marked at the top of the moto sheet. Depending on how many kids you are racing, this could be anything from a 1-1-2, or 2-2-2. What these numbers stand for are "How many riders will go to the main from each qualifying round."
EXAMPLE: Let's say you have a 1-1-2 transfer. Count them up and that means four guys will be in the main. And as noted at the top of the moto sheets, your class has five riders.
Remember 1-1-2: In the first round 1 rider - the winner, will go straight to the main and not have to race any more qualifying rounds. You now have four riders that race in the second round of motos. Again, 1 rider (the winner of the second round) will go straight to the main. In the third and final round of qualifying, they're transferring 2. Whoever gets first and second qualifies for the main event and will meet the winners of the first and second rounds.
When there are only three riders in your moto, you'll be racing under the "Total Points" system.
The way this works is; all three of your races count toward your overall finish. First place counts as 1 point, second place counts as 2 and third place counts for 3. After the three rounds of motos, the rider with the least amount of points will get the overall win for the day. Ties are broken by the better finish in the third round.
- BMX tracks are friendly and family-oriented.
- All you need to say is: "We're new to BMX racing and we'd like to know..." and there will be plenty of people ready to help you.
- There are two kinds of bikes being ridden around the track in the races: "Class" bikes which have 20-inch wheels and "cruiser" bikes which have 24-inch wheels. Most riders will be on "class" bikes and this is where most children should start their BMX careers. The really serious younger riders will usually be found riding both class and cruiser bikes. Many adults ride only a cruiser bike since they are larger.
- The chances are that your visit will be during a "single-point" race. If there are lots and lots of people, vendors selling bike parts and everything else related to BMX, and you have trouble finding parking, you may have arrived at a double- or triple-point race such as a State Qualifier, State Championship Final, National, Redline Cup Qualifier, Race-for-Life, or Earned Double.
- You will hear the word "moto" a lot. A "moto" is a group of eight or fewer racers and all the motos are numbered in consecutive order from one up to the total number of races for that day. Every racer (or their parents) needs to know the number of the moto(s) that they are in so they can get to the starting gate on time. Usually, motos are "staged," that is, lined up behind the starting hill, ten motos ahead. Thus, when Moto 12 is on the track, Motos 13 through 23 need to be in the staging area. At big events, the motos can go very fast so racers may "stage up" as many as twenty motos ahead.
- Each race is a sprint around the track that lasts about a minute, longer for younger children and as quick as 30-seconds for the older expert riders. The older experts will quite literally fly over some of the obstacles.
- The general order of racing is this: Opens, Girls, Girls Cruisers, Boys Cruisers, and Boys Classes. Opens are grouped only by age. Opens are extra races that are "open" to all classes. They give riders extra "track time" to prepare for the class and cruiser races. Girls are grouped only by age. Girls' and Boys' cruisers are grouped by age. Boys' classes are grouped by age and ability level. The ability levels are Novice, Intermediate, and Expert. Thus, you will hear the announcer say "ten Novices are on the track" which will be followed by the Intermediates, and then the Experts.
- It takes a minimum of three riders of the same age and ability level to make up a "class." When there aren't enough riders in a particular class, they are moved around to other ages and classes. Everybody who signs up gets to race. However, for some of the smaller single-point races, riders may be grouped together in motos that seem a bit unfair. For example, one expert rider may race against a group of intermediates. Take my word for it: The rules for forming the motos are actually very fair to all the riders. If you find that your Novice child isn't winning because they always race against an Intermediate, your Novice child gets more "district points" than they would if they were only racing Novices, and that Intermediate racer will eventually become an Expert so they aren't likely to race your child again for quite a while.
- When girls sign up to race, they have a choice of being "girls" or "novices." If they chose "Novice," they will race in the boys' classes until they win eight races, then they switch to the girls' classes. Boys move up to Intermediate after their eighth Novice win. then they move up to "Expert" after their twenty-fifth intermediate win.
- By the way, even thirty-year-old men and women are called "boys" and "girls" in amateur BMX racing.
- Here's how races are structured: The main idea in BMX racing is to "make the Main."
- If there are from four to eight riders in the class, the riders race against each other in either two or three qualifying rounds. During these rounds, the announcer will say who "qualified" out of each round. In the last or "heartbreak" round the last place finisher is the only rider who doesn't get to be in the main.
- If there are three racers in the moto, all three riders will be in the Main. This is called a "total points" race. In this case, each round counts toward determining the "overall" finish (i.e., who gets first, second, and third). In the qualifying rounds, the riders get points (NOT related to district points) for the order in which they finish. First gets one point; second gets two points; and third gets three points. Points for each rider are added up for two qualifying rounds and the main, and the rider with the lowest number of points gets the first. If points are tied, the finish in the main determines the final places or "overall finish" as you would hear the announcer say.
- When there are nine riders, they are split into two motos. In the last qualifying round, the five riders from both of these motos who did not make the main are combined into a single moto with five racers. The top four finishers "make the main" and the last place finisher does not. This leaves eight riders ("a full gate") to race in the main.
- When there are from ten to sixteen riders in a class, they are split into two motos and the top four from each moto will be in the main.
- When there are more than sixteen riders in a class (this can happen anytime but it's usually at Nationals or other big races), there will be eighth-mains, quarter-mains, and/or semi-mains. Each of these "pre-main" races is like a qualifying round except that it is run only once with the top finishers going to the next level. In semi-mains, the top four finishers qualify for the main event. However, for other types (quarter-mains, eigth-mains, etc.), the number of riders who move on to the next raound may vary. This is noted on the moto sheets and it is very important for the rider to know how they need to finish in order to move on. The end result of the qualifying rounds will be eight riders competing in the "Main Event."
- The "Main Event" is the most exciting part of the race day. In the big races, like "Nationals," a lot can be at stake so the races are the most exciting and competitive. The top three finishers receive awards, unless there are only three or four racers. For the very important races, the top four riders receive awards.
- How do racers find out how they will be racing? When you hear the announcer say "Motos are being posted," follow the crowd. They will be looking at the "moto sheets." The moto sheets list each rider's name and the number of the moto in which they will be racing. It also tells how many riders are in the class for that day. If there are nine or more riders in a class, they will be spread out across more than one moto. All the information needed to understand the race is printed on the moto sheet. However, the newbie can find it a bit confusing. Just ask. There are lots of people around who will be glad to explain what will be happening.
- Remember, the first goal of every rider is to "make the main" and now you know where I got the name Main Event Press. Making the main is important because the rider receives lots more points when they "make the main." Points are important because they are used to determine district, state, national, and other rankings.
- Once you've visited a BMX track, it will be obvious whether your child is interested. Some parents make their first visit, sign up, and race right away.
- If you want to sign up right away, get in line where it says "Registration" and have your checkbook ready. It costs $45 to join the ABA for a year and race fees (paid at every race) range from around $10 all the way up to $45. Most local races will have fees of $10 being pretty typical. Various double-point races, State Championship Series races, Nationals, and Redline Cup races typically range from $20 to $45.