The opportunity to compete internationally is a fantastic part of BMX racing, but diving in at the deep end is probably best avoided. If you've got experience on the National circuit, not just of the level of competition, but the demands of preparation and travel, then you should have enough experience to give Euros a go. There are plenty of Brits who compete regularly so it's a great idea to link up with them.
The UCI's showpiece series is the Supercross (SX) World Cup. It's for the very best riders and is staged at the toughest tracks, from the Indoor in Manchester to Chula Vista in California. Monster 8m high start hills, huge jumps and a field packed with Olympic prospects means the races aren't for the faint hearted!
The Olympics have taken the sport to a new level, bestowing a mainstream awareness that hasn't been attached to the sport since the heydays of the 1980s. The SX format is so different from what we think of as normal BMX racing though that it's got a lot of people seeing it as a distinct aspect of the sport.
BMX is unique amongst the cycling disciplines for the structure of its World Championships. Where road and mountain biking have Worlds for the Elites and Juniors (in UCI terms, 16-18 year old Elite level riders)BMX divides riders into Championship Classes (Elite Men, Elite Women, Junior Men and Junior Women) and Challenge Class riders (all the age groups from 6 and Under to 45+ on 20" and Cruisers)
Crucially, everyone races at the same venue on the same track (with Elites using a modified start hill and tracks having pro only straights) so the BMX World Championships are a week long fiesta of racing, with nations practicing in blocs at the beginning of the week, the competition starting with the younger classes midweek and Elites the big showpiece end to the event on Saturday.
The USA will always be the spiritual home of bicycle motocross, even though as an Olympic discipline its governing body is the UCI (Union Cycliste International/International Cycling Union) whose HQ is in Switzerland.
Similarly, although now owned by multinational corporations, the vast majority of BMX race brands have their roots in the USA. The UCI makes the rules for the sport and sanctions the annual World Championships as well as the annual World Cup for Elite riders.
Above the National race series in each country sits the European race series run by the UEC. "Euros" as they're known attract a traveling group of Brits who are keen to test themselves on a higher stage of racing. Euros are great experiences on and off the track, with a real camaraderie between British riders and friendships are often made with riders from across Europe.
There's often a Euro round at a British venue, the ideal way to test the European competition waters!