Bicycle moto cross (BMX) started in the late 1960s in California, around the time that motocross became a popular sport in the USA. The motorised version of the sport was the inspiration for the human powered competition. Children and teenagers with the desire but not the means to participate in motocross sated their appetite by racing bicycles on self-built tracks. These young adventurers completed the imitation by dressing themselves up in motocross gear. The sport was given the name ‘BMX’ and the conception was complete.
BMX racing offered exciting action at a low cost, close to home. It is easy to see why the sport was an instant hit. In California the sport was more popular than anywhere else. During the early 1970s a sanctioning body for BMX was founded in the U.S.A. This is considered as the official start of BMX racing. As that decade progressed, the sport was introduced on other continents too, among them Europe in 1978.
In April 1981, the International BMX Federation was founded, and the first world championships were held in 1982. BMX rapidly developed as a unique sporting entity, and after several years clearly had more in common with cycling than motorcycling codes. Thus, since January 1993 BMX has been fully integrated into the Union Cycliste Internationale.
The BMX Supercross is raced on a 350m circuit. Eight riders launch themselves from an eight-metre high ramp and race over a track alternating bumps, banked corners and flat sections. The battle for first place is fierce, as it is necessary to finish in the first four of the heats to have a place in the next round and then in the final. Depending on the lay-out of the section, the riders try either to land quickly in order to gain speed, or to gain height (riders reach up to nearly five metres high).
BMX Freestyle is a spectacular discipline where the riders perform routines which consist of sequences of executing tricks. It can be carried out in various ways such as on flat ground, in the streets, on dirt jumps, a halfpipe and on constructed ramps. In competition, riders are judged on quality of their performance (difficulty, originality and style).
THE DISCIPLINES OF BMX FREESTYLE
In BMX park competitions, riders execute a sequence of tricks on different obstacles contained within a park designed for BMX riders. Such obstacles include spines, walls, and box jumps et cetera. This is the Olympic discipline of BMX Freestyle.
This consists of performing tricks on a U-shaped ramp that is around four metres high. The sides of the ramp are vertical at the top. The best riders jump up to 4.5m higher than the ramp. Vert is a very demanding specialty, requiring years of practice.
Here the rider produces a series of tricks exclusively on flat ground, often balancing on one wheel. This artistic discipline can be compared with break dancing.
As its name indicates, this takes place on the street. Riders use urban obstacles (walls, ledges, banks and railings etc) to carry out their tricks. The principle of street is to explore, searching for new terrain that can be ridden.
Riders perform tricks on mounds of earth that are shaped to catch air. With several metres separating the take off and landing, the jumps are extremely spectacular. Riders are judged on the successful execution of several tricks during the jumps, coupled with their degree of difficulty.
* All information as per the UCI website uci.org/bmx-racing