If you want a spectator sport with thrills, spills, speed and excitement then BMX racing has it all. The UCI BMX World Championships held in Auckland recently saw riders from all over the world competing for the winning titles. These BMX heroes included our own Olympic champion Sarah Walker.
But before these elite riders took to the track, the New Zealand juniors competed for their world titles. This was the event I had flown to Auckland to watch as Jordan (11) and Josh (10) were racing.
Looking at them poised at the gates high on the starting ramp there was a certain amount of nervousness from family supporters in the stands. On the starters count, the gates flew open and the riders shot down the ramp, pedalling fast, rounding the first corner, then lifting the front wheels to jump over the raised mounds, at times becoming airborne. Two more sharp bends to navigate before powering down the home straight to the finish line.
I must say I felt a sense of relief to see Jordan and Josh finish their races, although not in winning positions, but certainly holding their own in the bunch and best of all staying upright which certainly takes some skill.
All it takes is a slight nudge by another bike to send a rider crashing to the ground, often resulting in a ‘pile up’. The stretcher bearers were in constant demand carrying injured riders off the track, while others struggled up unaided to complete a lonely round – character building stuff for kids. The injury aspect of the sport I did not enjoy, but aside from that, I found the racing very entertaining and exciting ‘edge of the seat’ stuff.
BMX is a family sport across all ages, catering for children as young as 5 years right through to the oldest competitive rider aged 73!. Mums and Dads are often seen racing as well as their children.
Do you feel like giving this sport a go?