Ranking points

Points and rankings are an aspect of BMX racing that generate a lot of confusion and sometimes controversy.

There are separate systems in place for the BMX National Series and the British Cycling rankings.

The best explanation of the British Cycling rankings is on their site, click here

Thanks to Jools at Accelerate Bike Schoolfor this important bit of race day prep; the checklist!

  • Directions to the track - inc where parking is and rough idea of journey time
  • Event schedule - when does registration close? When is practice?
  • Kit bag check - jersey, race pants, gloves, helmet, goggles, riding shoes, RACE PLATE, RACE LICENCE
  • Spares - from inner tubes to wheels, whatever you think you'll need.
  • Food & Drink - there may be limited choice at the venue or not enough time to queue for it between races.

Thanks to admin wiz Jon Redstone for this next clarification;

Now here’s the bit that normally confuses folk. The class you register to race in, may not be the class you end up actually racing in for that event. This is best explained by using an example;

If I register to race in 10yr old boys, and only two other riders register in that class (3 in total), then 5 riders register in 11yr old boys, the organisers of the race will elect to merge the 10 & 11yr old boys into a single class for the purposes of racing that event. This will generate a set of races between 8 riders.

If the race is part of a series, then the points each rider has gained from that round stay with the rider, but the riders are split back out to their registered classes to calculate the riders standing within the series. So in the example above, once the results are posted for the race series there won’t be an entry consisting of 10 & 11yr old boys, the two classes will be shown individually, each having a winner, 2nd, 3rd etc.

The merging of classes at a race meeting is a judgement taken on the day by the race team based on rider numbers & experience.

How many rounds a rider competes in per race class is dependant on how many riders they have in the same racing class as them.

If there are 8 riders or less, it will be Grand Prix format racing, where instead of three motos to determine who advances to a final, there’s a fourth moto and positions for each moto are accumulated.

9 or more riders means there’ll be the normal three motos to determine who advances as follows;
9-16 riders, this goes straight to final after motos, so the 8 riders with the worst results get dropped.
17-32 riders, this will have three motos to determine who advances to the semi finals, with the best four riders from each semi advancing to the main or “A Final” and the four losers from each semi going into the consolation B Final (racing for 9th – 16th place on the day)
33-64 riders, this class adds in a quarter final level of knockout stage.

So how does racing work?
BMX racing is 8 riders per moto (heat) racing each other over 1 lap of the track. Riders have 3 motos and their finishing positions are converted to points, with those totalling the lowest (so placing highest in motos) advancing to knockout stages. 

So a rider winning all their motos will have 3 points, a rider finishing 4th, 3rd and 5th will have 12 points.

Sometimes there won’t be a full gate of 8 riders, this happens when the class doesn’t have many entries on race day, for example 11 riders entering the 10 year old boys class. To keep things as fair as possible, motos will usually split into a gate of 6 and a gate of 5, rather than a full gate of 8 in one moto with only 3 riders in the other!

Many regions will have "Invitational" Finals, so C, D, E and so on for riders who don't make the Main and B Final. It's always worth checking how this works with your region and remember, don't set off for home until you've checked the results and seen if you've made a final!

Race day schedules are often similar; registration is open in the morning for entries or sign-on for those pre-registered. Then there's time for practice whilst the admin team sorts through the entries to make sure there aren't errors. This is when pre-sheets will be posted, to allow riders/parents to check they're entered in the correct class and on the correct plate number (mistakes not rectified can lead to a rider getting relegated to last in the moto so check the pre-sheets!)

There's usually a while to wait before moto sheets are posted and a scrum to fight through to get within sight of them. It's handy to take a picture of the relevant info with your phone. Before smart phones a pen and the back of a rider or parent's hand was ok. Modern technology eh?

Before racing starts there'll be an announcement for the first 10 motos to get in the pens,  this is usually cruisers or novices. It's not easy organising the young riders, but don't send them to the pens too soon as it's very frustrating for older riders having to fight through a crowd of pocket rockets. This is when bikes get scratched and tempers frayed.

Each moto gets called up to the gate in turn, usually with an official on hand to make sure riders are in the correct gate. Then it's all quiet before the gate drops....

These guys have got it right, cheering their riders on and enjoying the excitement of BMX racing

Race Day can be intense and very stressful for all concerned. It's perfectly natural to feel nervous, it just shows you care but don't let it overshadow the day (see rule 1)Preparation is key. Many races offer online pre-registration via the British Cycling website. Pre-reg saves time, can save money and is one less thing to do on race day.

It's always good to check the bike over in advance, you don't want last minute mechanicals scuppering the day. Having a routine for the weekend can be a life-saver, even if it's just always packing the kit in the same way in the same bag. There's a handy checklist below.

Spares are a good idea, an inner tube can save the weekend, even if you get someone else to fit it. There are usually retailers on-site selling all manner of BMX bits but just in case they don't have what you want, being prepared is important.

The same goes for food, there are usually fast-food options but a burger isn't always best between motos. Taking something simple like a banana or packed lunch can make the day much easier.

  • The most important thing to remember is HAVE FUN- this is a competitive discipline and yes, it's an Olympic discipline, but above all it is about a community of people enjoying riding little bikes around tracks.
  • JOIN A CLUB - clubs are where you'll find friends, advice and support You'll also sit/pit with the club at races.
  • BE PATIENT - whether it's as a rider or parent, BMX Racing can take a while to master on and off the track. Give it time.
  • You're never too old, too unfit, too slow or anything else. GIVE IT A GO
  • BE REALISTIC - Not everyone will make it to the top, but racing will still challenge you, give you opportunities to push yourself and to shine no matter if you win or never make it out of motos.
  • BE A GOOD SPORT - you'll lose more often than you'll win and how you handle it will get noticed. Racers shake hands after crossing the line.
  • RESPECT - Race Officials, they're volunteers, they do it for the love of the sport, we couldn't race without them.
  • REMEMBER - Expensive parts make the bike better, not the rider.
  • RIDE LOTS - The best way to get good at riding a BMX around a track is to ride a BMX around a track.

whether you're a racer or the parent of one, BMX racing is demanding. here's our guide to getting through