Rhythm Section- this part of the track is usually the last straight but could be anywhere. It’s so-called because it features many smaller jumps close together, without space to pedal in-between, meaning riders will have to get their timing right to go through it at speed.
Race Licence – Required to allow competitors to enter bigger races (such as regionals and nationals) and gain ranking points.
Rankings – Riders can be ranked within their region, in the National Series, or on the British Cycling website. The BC rankings take into account all races, with ranking points weighted on level of event. World Championships and European rounds generating more points than Nationals and Regionals.
National – The Individual rounds of the National Series.
National Series – Unofficial name of the British BMX Series, so-called because it is staged at venues across the whole country, rather than an entire series within each region. The hardest level of competition in the UK, as the tracks are the most modern and technically demanding. Also known as Nationals.
Pens- usually these are the area with fences to divide riders into “racks” of motos. At some races the pens are metal railings, at others poles and tape. The pens will be numbered by moto from left to right, from 1 to 10. The pens will have their numbers increasing in 10’s to make finding the right one easier for example pen 1 is also the pen for moto 11, moto 21, moto 31 and so on. Pen 7 the pen for moto 17, 27, 37 etc. Pen 10 is the pen for moto 10, 20, 30 etc...
Plate – The plate displaying a rider’s number, attached to the handlebars. BMX riders either compete using their ranking from the previous year (with champions allowed the privilege of using 1) or the last three digits of their British Cycling race licence number.
Pre-Sheets – this is the list of riders entered into each race class at an event, posted up when registration closes to allow riders to check the details are correct (such as which class they’re in and what plate number they’re using) before moto sheets are posted up.
Holeshot – like a lot of BMX language, this comes straight from motocross. It means the rider who gets to the first turn in first place, which is an advantage in racing!
Main – the final of each class (short for main final or main event)
Moto - the heats in BMX. Riders have 3 motos and their placings decide which riders move on to the elimination rounds (quarter finals etc depending on number of riders.) Each moto will usually have eight riders in it, but there may be less depending on rider numbers.
At some club and regional races, riders will race the same competitors but with different lane allocation each time. At larger races, riders will face different riders from their class in each moto, randomised by the race computer software.
Moto Sheets- The list of races for the event. Divided into race classes, the moto number and gate each rider is in will be listed for all three motos, for example;
J. Smith 25.3 50.6 75.1
Which means moto number 25, gate 3 then moto 50 gate 6 and lastly moto 75 gate 1.
Moto’d – Used by riders when they’ve failed to progress to the knockout stages, for example, “I got moto’d” alternatively riders say they “didn’t make it out of motos”
DNF – Did Not Finish, recorded in results if a rider crashes and doesn’t cross the line.
DNS – Did Not Start, recorded if a rider pulls out.
DQ – Disqualification/disqualified. Not something you want to see!
Expert – This refers to the level of the riders, with Novice being the beginners and Elite the top riders, everyone else falls into the general “Expert” classification.
Final – The deciding race for each class, also see Main below.
Gate - The gate is part of the start hill with the actual gate itself being the metal barrier riders rest their front wheels on to balance. It is forced down by a pneumatic ram in the blink of an eye, then the racing is on! When riders talk about each other’s or their own gates, they’re talking about how they start, with “He’s got a good gate” meaning the rider is fast, not that they have a particularly nice bit of start hill at home.
Also means which lane a rider is allocated for their moto, for example “gate 3.”
Grand Prix- this term is used when there are 8 riders or less in a class on race day. Instead of moto placings deciding who moves on to knockout stages and a final, there is automatically a 4th moto with placings from all 4 races deciding who wins overall. It can mean racing is a little harder than usual, as riders can’t save any energy for the knockout rounds!
Clips- these are the special pedal/shoe combinations that mean a rider’s feet are attached to their pedals. Great for extra power, tricky if you haven’t mastered getting unclipped quickly (done by twisting the foot sideways) Not allowed for younger riders. Controversial to some old riders. Confusingly, also referred to as “clipless” pedals, because they were originally an alternative to using plastic toe boxes and straps which attached to the pedals and were called clips and straps.
Cruiser – A BMX bike with 24” wheels. Bigger wheels means the bike is a bit more stable, so a little more forgiving!
Class – Which group a rider has entered, for example 6 and Under Boys. Classes are firstly divided by which bike riders are competing on with 20” and 24” racing separately. The classes are then divided by gender and age. The exceptions are the top classes, based on ability. Elite Men is the top male class, Championship Women the top female class. These racers include those on the British Cycling Olympic Programme, the very best in the country!
Balance Bike – A small bike without pedals designed to teach the very young the balance they’ll need for riding properly. Strider is a popular brand of balance bike. Some clubs run balance bike races.
Berm- the banked corners on a track, usually covered in tarmac.
B-Final – A consolation race for the 8 riders that got knocked out in the semi-final. The winner effectively gets 9th place overall, the rider finishing 8th in the B Final is 16th overall. Depending on region, the list of finals can include C, D and so on...
BMX – The sport and the bikes. BMX is short for Bicycle Motocross because it originated with kids emulating racers tearing round tracks on a motorbike (Motocross or MX.)
With or without engines, the name is Motocross not Motorcross because of the format of races, explained in Moto below.
A standard BMX has 20” wheels. Regardless of “size” of bike (explained on The Bike page) the wheels are the same size. 24” wheeled race bikes are also common, see Cruiser below.
Brits – Short for the British Championships. This is the biggest domestic event of the year. Riders qualify to enter by competing in regional races (five rounds must be raced to qualify, rather than having to attain a certain placing overall.)
At the Brits riders and supporters are grouped by their region rather than teams and clubs so the atmosphere is different from a national race. The winners of each class earn the right to use 01 as their plate number for the following season.
British BMX Series – The official name for the National Series.
British Cycling – The governing body of all cycle sport, including BMX racing, in the UK. To race most regional events and all Nationals, a British Cycling Membership and Race Licence is required. Membership has advantages including insurance.
Shortened to BC, the governing body is vital in the functioning of the sport. Clubs are affiliated to BC meaning they have insurance for their sessions. Coaches gain BMX specific qualifications through the governing body which also include essential child protection elements.