"It's Race Day" An Overview
How a BMX Race works:
Below is an overview of what to expect at a BMX race for a first-time racer.
Once you get to the track, find the registration booth or tent. If it's your first race, you'll need to complete the USABMX registration form and pay your membership fee. Depending on your age, expertise, gender and bike type, you'll be placed in a particular "class". An example of a class is "10 Novice", which is 10-year old novice boys, riding 20" (wheel diameter)bikes.
For subsequent races, you'll just need to pay the track fee. When you become a USABMX member, you'll get a temporary number plate and number which you'll need to affix to your handlebars. Bring zip or twisty ties. You'll also get a receipt, followed by a membership card in the mail — you'll need to bring this to all future races.
You may want to practice before your first race. Molalla River BMX is located in a city park, therefore is open to the public during non-sanctioned events.
You may practice with the rest of the racers on race days for a $2 fee (if you are a USABMX member), even if you do not race.
Get your gear and helmet on and follow everyone to the starting gate. Watch the other racers during the starting cadence - you'll notice that they balance on their bike at the starting gate. This may take some practice to accomplish, but you can start with one foot down if you're not ready to balance yet.
When the gate drops, start pedaling. When you first ride the track, take it slow at first. Don't ride over your head. You will get the hang of it eventually; don't worry if you can't jump or handle the track very well at first - it takes time and practice. Many of the racers you see during practice have been racing for years.
Practice will end and the moto sheets will be posted. Find your class — you will be in a "moto" (or heat) with other riders about your age and gender. Moto sheets will also include your bike number and your lane assignments. Be sure that your age, proficiency(novice, intermediate, expert), bike number and serial number are correct. If there is a mistake, go to Registration and make corrections at this time. If necessary, motos will be re-posted. There will typically be a flag-lap(playing of the National Anthem) at this time.
You will line up with the other racers in your moto in the "staging area". When your group is called, you will proceed to the gate and line up in your assigned gate. A lap around the track is approx 1000 feet. You will do this two or three times, depending on the transfer system for that race. Our races are typically total points, which means that everyone races two rounds plus the main event.
State Qualifiers and Double Point Races will be a two-moto transfer...
USABMX uses the "Olympic-style Transfer System" to determine who goes to the final event: the "main" event. Depending on how many riders race, the first place and possibly second place riders in any moto will transfer to the main. For example, this is how a class of 5 riders in a 2-moto transfer would advance to the main:
One rider does not qualify and a four-rider main event is run.
Between the qualifying rounds and the Main Event, there will be a short intermission (or "main-break"). The announcer will announce when it is time for the Main Event, at this time, all riders that qualified for the Main Event needs to make his/her way to the staging area. The stager will call your group to the gate. After your race, make your way to the registration booth for your trophy.
So, how do I get good at BMX racing?
If you're new to BMX racing, don't be afraid to ask questions of the other racers — they'll be happy to help you out.
After you have raced locally for a while, you may want to race statewide for more competition, and ultimately race nationally. That is where the fun comes in; traveling all over the country, having plenty of competition, seeing friends, and of course, racing BMX.