My Opinion on the UCI BMX SX Papendal – Holland of May 6-7th. 2017
After the UCI BMX Worlds at Zolder in Belgium in 2015, I decided to take it easy and stop giving my opinion to the UCI and other decision makers in BMX world wide, which I did before for several years. I did not go to a lot of BMX events since 2015. Lately I was invited by a friend as a guest/VIP at the 2017 UCI BMX SX at Papendal-Holland. So, here we were on Saturday and Sunday, May 6 -7th. at the Papendal race.
Besides that, Dutch National TV, NOS-NTR Andere tijden sport, was following me around during the weekend. They were making a docu about the start and rise of BMX in Holland and Europe. This 30 min. docu will be broadcasted on Sunday evening, July 18th. 2017 on NPO 1 at 22.15 hours. Anxious to see the finished docu.
Because of being present, watching the racing and side-events, my creative BMX mind started to work again and after the event I had to give you all my opinion one more time. Hope you don't mind ….... Also because things looked better and situations improved and that's worth while mentioning too.
A view things I learned, had changed this year. First, former promotor, BMX Holland stopped organising this event. The Papendal organisation (Jochem Schellens as “main-man” and his crew) were now organizing this event themselves. As before, there were side-events in place. Papendal also took care of well planned promotion through social media and for sure that worked. Compliments!
Arriving on the venue I was surprised by the many, many cars in the parking lot. Big difference with the previus years (2011 > 2016). On the side-event venue, next to the BMX venue, for 2 days long many people were present, including many children and they were using the facilities. Great job done here, I think. Compliments Papendal!
Racing technical changes.
I was happily surprised by the fact that from 2017 on, the UCI decided, not to use the TIME-TRIALS anymore. Probably you all know my opinion on time-trials and I am very glad those rials are cancelled. The Olympic qualification system is used now. Now we don't have to sit for hours and watch just 1 rider go round on the track, we can see racing happening again.
I also learned that to be allocated a World Cup or Super Cross event, it is not a MUST anymore to have an 8 metre starting hill. The 5 metre hills are o.k. too now. I think that is a very good step forward to. It gives many more professional organizers world wide a change to be able to organise such top events. (read UCI Chargebook page 82, To be allocated a Worlds an 8 mtr hill is required. To be allocated a World Cup/SX, a 5mtr. till 8 mtr. starting hill will be accepted.
In my opinion it also will be SAFER for the riders, these 5 mtr. hills. Less speed coming down the 5 mtr. hill means also less heavy crashes and I think that racing might even be more spectacular on those tracks with 5 metre starting hills. An 8 mtr starting hill looks spectacular to the outside world, but may also caus career ending injuries. An extra benifit is that probably most BMX clubs can afford themselves to built a 5 mtr starting hill. Thats a different story with an 8 mtr. hill. It is disappointing ofcourse for those organisers that already built 8 mtr. hills. Still SAFETY goes first, so its a good thing speed goes down somewhat.
Note: Still one serious problem remains concerning SAFETY of the riders. The concrete, tec-soil, brick layed tracks, I hope in the near future someone comes up with a unique idea to change that too in order to prefent further bad injuries by the riders when crashing. We have seen a couple of bad crashes at Papendal also this weekend, I am sorry to say. But again, BMX is a contact sport and speed is involved. Just like in moto-cross and road cycling, accidents will happen.
In motorcycle road racing and formula 1 for instance, safety is a hot item. Look what has happened in the past 20 or more years. Safety improved a lot. In BMX we have to work harder on that too.
Improving the last straight.
I can't resist giving my opinion/advice on the last straight (done that before!). Looking at the SX and other tracks, the last straight needs some attention. It will bring more racing and exitement till the finish-line, when after the set of whop-de-doos on the last straight, at least 25 meters will be FLAT (no obsticals) in order to have the riders SPRINT to the finish. It will give technical riders (whoop-de-doos) as well as power riders (24 mtr. flat track) equal changes at the end of a race ánd I am sure it will be spectacular for spectators to watch that longer sprint. Something to try-out / test I think!
Progress is made for sure.
Main reason to give my opinion on the 2017 Papendal race is the fact that is was such a different race in 2011, when the first ever SX race took place on this location. At the time mr. Lindström was the actual SX series promotor. A copy of the London Olympic BMX track was built on Papendal, including the so-called “box-jump” and so on. This 2011 race was a dissaster.
In 2011 there was a big difference in the level of riding skills by the riders, the track wasn't layed down well and that caused many, many accidents and injuries back then. You can read my report on that event on my website, www.universityofbmx.com (History of BMX, year 2011-12 etc.). It was awefull and I complained about it through my OPINION letters.
For the first time since then (2011), in my opinion this year 2017 was almost perfect race and organisation wise. Perfect in BMX is almost impossible because it is a fast and spectacular sport with 8 riders on the track and then things can happen (crashes). Besides the track itself, also the level of skills the riders has increased a lot. For the first time since 2011, I enjoyed myself for 99%. Also taken into consideration the fact that Time-Trials are no longer a part of racing. Compliments to the Papendal organisation and ofcourse compliment for the UCI on those changes made.
From arriving at the Papendal grounds till parking, entry, side-event area, BMX venue in total, everything was just great. Very friendly officials at all spots mentioned, just the way it should be. Again, a job well done here Papendal !
Spectators / Grandstands.
It was clear to all, that the Papendal organisation added extra Grandstands along the first straight of the track. Therefore it looked like there weren't that many spectators. Empty seats on the other grandstands. Still there were more spectators overall just on day 1, May 6th as last year in 2 days. More attention for the event by the Papendal organisers through Social Media, probably is the reason why. Well done!
However, now we have to think how to get the grandstands filled completely next year 2018. Well, since I am writing this OPINION letter, maybe I can add some suggestions, to make this event even more attractive. Here we go:
Add a new item to the race program (is my advice).
O.K., in my time (1983 – 1993) when I organized the European Challenge Cup – E.C.C. Events at Slagharen – Holland, I was able to impliment extra races or special activities, without any problem within the I.BMX.F. Today we have a different situation. Things are regulated tricly within the UCI. It still would be nice if UCI would allow some kind of experiment for 2018 to take place during the SX event at Papendal. I do have 2 suggestions/proposals, hopefully worhtwhile considering implimenting as last event of the day (Sunday). Pick one of them.
1e.: UCI BMX Trophy of Nations
For many years I am suggesting a Trophy of Nations in the setting as done in moto-cross. As a pilot project and on a small level, one could have a Trophy of Nations Cup as follows. Have Elite men and women form a team, so per country 2 riders. Have a maximum of 32 teams present. They will race 3 moto's, a semi final and a final, men as well as women. In time we need around 2 hours to runs such an event. This count be done after the SX event is finished.Have riders wear their National Flags on chest and back for better recoqniztion. I am sure this works with spectators too. They can cheer for their Country. Try to have teams present from all 5 continents.
2e : UCI BMX CORPERATE TEAM World Cup (commercial and/or factory teams).
Up and till the 2000's, factory team racing was very popular. Manufacturers were very interested in setting up teams, sopporting the sport and we can use that now-a-days again very well. Just today I learned that the UCI started Team racing again this year 2017. That's a good thing to hear. Probably it is not a seperate event, but teamriders get points for their results and in the end there will be announced a winner. That's o.k.
What I would like to see, is a Team event, maybe as a pilot project too, where teams of let's say 4 riders (Elite and Juniors, men and women?). Compete against eachother. For 2018 Papendal it should be a max. of 16 (selected) teams (x 4 riders= 64 riders) to compete against eachother for instance. Racing in Team uniforms (commercial and/ or manufacturer teams). Again, just an idea for some EXTRA exitement in 2018.
Celebrating 40 years of BMX in Holland (and therefore in Europe) in 2018.
An extra item could also be the fact that BMX will excist for 40 years in 2018 here in Holland. This celebration could take place during the 2018 UCI BMX SX event and be co-organized by Papendal, together with the University of BMX ? It's just an idea specific details have been sent to the Papendal organisation. We'll see what will happen. (SFN 1978 - now KNWU 2018 = 40 years).
This is what I had to say. Glad to see progress in adjusting BMX to what BMX is all about. Next important thing is to work on safety, specily concerning the BMX tracks themselves, soil wise. Yesterday a wise man said to me (the chairman of the professional scoccer club of Heerenveen): why do they make new modern sports that dangerous (BMX, Half Pipe snowboard, etc)! Road racing, F1 and other motorspsort have became much safer over the years. A sport like BMX should work towards that goal too. So far.
University of BMX
June 9th., UCI Press-release on among others BMX Freestyle Park
HOT NEWS, ........ Madison and BMX Freestyle Park added to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Programme. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is delighted to announce that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has agreed to add the Madison and BMX Freestyle Park to the Programme of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The decision was made at today’s meeting of the IOC Executive Board in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Named after legendary races organised at Madison Square Garden in New York (USA), the Madison is a dynamic, exciting and technically demanding track cycling event, which requires excellent bike handling skills, balance, strategic capability, observation and tactics. The Madison will appear on the Olympic Programme with both men’s and women’s races and two new Olympic gold medals to be won on the track.
The race, which is 50km for men, and 30km for women, involves two riders, a sprinter and a rouleur, working as a team to propel each other forward as they meet between laps. Teams sprint every 10 laps to accumulate points according to the following structure: five points to the first team, three points to the second, two points to the third, and one point to the 4th. Points awarded in the last sprint will be doubled. In addition to the sprints, teams can earn 20 points for lapping the field. The winner is the team with the most points at the end of the race. Famous pairs include many riders who have also been champions on the road such as Juan Esteban Curuchet-Walter Perez (Argentina), Mark Cavendish-Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain), Howard Leigh-Cameron Meyer (Australia) and current women World Champions Lotte Kopecky-Jolien D’Hoore (Belgium) crowned in April in Hong-Kong.
BMX Freestyle Park is a spectacular, crowd-pleasing discipline, which takes place on ramps with big transitions and large obstacles. Competitors are judged on tricks performed throughout the course, with points awarded based on difficulty, originality, style and execution. Each rider in both the men’s and women’s events gets two one-minute runs (which both count) to impress the judges, who will reward the rider with a score between 0-100 points, with the ultimate goal being the award of an Olympic gold medal. Famous riders include Logan Martin (Australia), Daniel Dhers (Venezuela), Alex Coleborn (Great Britain) for men, Nikita Ducarroz (Switzerland), Macarena Perez (Chile) and UCI World Cup title holder, 15-year-old Hannah Roberts (USA) for women.
In addition, in line with the UCI’s strategy to promote women’s cycling and the IOC’s Agenda 2020, it was agreed that for Mountain Bike and BMX Racing, several quotas previously allocated to men athletes would be transferred to women, achieving full gender equity in both disciplines.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “I am thrilled to see four more cycling events joining the Olympic programme. With competitions across very different disciplines, cycling already makes a large and diverse contribution to the Olympic Games, and now becomes the third largest sport in terms of gold medals, with 22 on offer. I am also delighted that we have made another big step towards full gender equity across all of our disciplines.
“I want to thank President Bach and the IOC Executive Board for their confidence and reiterate the UCI’s full commitment to make Tokyo 2020 a great success for cycling. I also want to thank our partner FISE for the role they have played in the development of BMX Freestyle over the past 20 years.
“The Madison will bring its long-established history and exciting format to the Games, while BMX Freestyle Park has great potential to open the event up to a whole new generation of athletes and fans. In an increasingly competitive landscape for Olympic sport, it is important not only to see our overall quota remain unchanged, but to also welcome the award of four additional opportunities for medals in Olympic cycling disciplines.
“I am proud of the effort made over the past few years by all of our National Federations, event organisers, teams and riders, which has helped us improve cycling’s strong position within the Olympic Movement. I am fully committed to continue this work and I am convinced that after extremely successful Games in Rio in 2016, Tokyo will take our sport to another exciting level.”
END of Press-release.
July 12th - 16th., the 2017 UCI BMX European Championships took place in Bordeaux - France.
Only selected riders were able to compete in this one event in the age and cruiser classes. In Elite class these were the final rounds for the European title (total rounds, ... ).
July 14th., the BMX Museum (NED) had a special quests from Australia, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Iglio.
For some time now, I am acting as host for Mike Janssen's Dutch BMX MUSEUM in Megen. On July 14th. I had a special appointed with Frank Iglio from Australia. Frank did bring his wife and his brother in law with him to the BMX Museum were we spent several hours talking about BMX and checking all the stuff at the Museum.
This was the first time we had a visitor from Australia. Frank got involved in BMX, more specific in the collectors side of the sport and then mainly in BMX Freestyle. We always talk about the European and American scene, but little about the Australian / New Zealand scene of both BMX race and Freestyle. Frank promissed me to sent me information on what is happening since a couple of years in his country and so he did. Please find here a report on the collectors scene in Australia. Hope you all like this and I will try to keep in close contact with the Aussies to general more info over time. Enjoy !
Frank gave me also some inside info already ..... In October of this yeat 2017, legends Stu Thomsen, Perry Kramer and Eddy Fiola will be special guest in Australia. Besides being a "correspondent" for now, Frank also produces special BMX "stands", a quality product under the name SIDEKICK. Check out his facebook and website on that product.
Frank wrote about the Australian situation:
Here is some more info on what’s happening in Australia.
As you know old school BMX collecting and restoring has become extremely popular, which has led to many BMX shows happening each year. Most of these shows started out as a small social meet up with friends that still owned their old BMX bikes. Each year they grew larger and larger. Some of the shows are now charity based, money raised goes to a good cause.
In Melbourne, there is a show called ‘Hurstbridge Show and Shine’. In 2016 the special guest was Harry Leary and this year it will be Bob Haro. It is Hosted by ‘Bicycle Works’ a bicycle store based in Victoria. In my home town, Adelaide, we have a show called ‘RADelaide’. Last year it was very successful with Eddy Fiola visiting and this year he is also back in December.
There is also another show based in Sydney called ‘BMXpo’ this years special guest is Stu Thomsen.
Mark Tawaf is a PK collector based in Melbourne who has started a company supplying reproduction parts in Australia. He is doing very well, working with many of the old brands/manufacturers to remake limited numbers of old parts. These parts range from many styles of Grips, Comp 2,3 tyres, seats such as Kashimax and CW, Bulls eye cranks, CW lightning frames, Hutch frames etc…........Here is a link to his website, although many of the sales are done through his facebook page: http://www.oldschoolbmx.com.au/
I also mentioned a new BMX movie coming out, based on the life of John Buultjens. It’s an interesting story and worthwhile reading about. He works for Haro and has the largest Haro collection in the world. Here is a link to the article: http://www.bicyclingtrade.com.au/news/world/new-hollywood-movie-could-boost-bmx-sales-next-summer
Steve Cassap is another interesting story worth reading about. He is also now becoming involved in bmx shows in Australia: http://www.cassap.com.au/index.php/history
OZBMX is another website to check out. It is dedicated to the preservation and research of vintage BMX in Australia – it consists of a community with chat forums. It has been around for a number of years now. You can also find them on Facebook: http://www.ozbmx.com.au/
BMX monthly Swap meets have also become very popular. Again, another great way for people interested in BMX to come together and share knowledge. After most meets a ride is organised. The largest is based in St.Kilda Melbourne.
I’ve attached some of the flyers for the shows, some photos of my stands and a few pics from the last BMX shows. Feel free to use any pictures from my Sidekick page, and share around if you like. If you have any questions or want to know more info, don’t hesitate to email me at any time. Let’s keep in contact! Thanks again, Frank Iglio - Australia.
Frank, thanks for sharing this information. Please keep me up to date. I will publish this Australian news frequently. It was very nice meeting the 3 of you. See you next time.
pictures will be added soon.
July 21st. - 29th., the UCI 2017 BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, USA took place.
Sixteen years have past since the last UCI BMX Worlds in Louisville - Kentucky in july/August of 2001. A lot did happen in these past 16 years. BMX became an Olympic sport in 2008, riders in the highest performance classes were trained more professional then before, due to the Olympic level they have to reach, the N.B.L. seized to excist and ABA BMX (now called USA BMX) joined the UCI ranks for BMX.
The Worlds in 2001 in Louisville Kentucky was a dissater. A soft track at the indoor facility caused several bad crashes, protests by the Elite riders and even a strike by those riders. They wanted changes to be made on the track so it was safe ánd competable for all. Personally I was very disappointed by the way the NBL handled this 2001 Worlds event as in fact leading BMX country in the world. Read all about the 2001 Worlds in Louisville at the website www.universityofbmx.com then History od BMX and then lookfor History 2001.
OPINION on the Rock Hil - SC. UCI BMX Worlds.
Anyway, we are 16 years later and the UCI BMX World Championships were now helt in Rock Hill - South Carolina, USA. I will place the time schedule right here and I will give my opinion on what I have seen on the life stream of the event. I will start with Tuesday racing July 25th. When I organized the 1983 Worlds and after the the E.C.C. event in Slagharen, after each event we evaluated the weekedn past. My main officials had to make a report about what in their section went good, but more important, wht went wrong. So the evaluation concerned aal aspect of the total organization like, parking, ticketing, routing, parc fermé, race track, first aid, officlas etc.etc. About 2 weeks after the race weekend the headofficilas did meet en we discussed all notes made. Our goal: improve the next event. Never we had a 100% perfect scoor (I believe thats impossible in BMX). We had an average of about 25 till 30 point e needed to address and improve. That's what we did. So what I am doing her is exactly the same as what I did in the '80 s and '90 s. In general one can say, "THIS 2017 WAS VERY GOOD, BUT IT ALWAYS CAN BE DONE BETTER". What I think is fantastic to see, how in all age classes the level of racing has improved over the years. Most remarkable improvements in the Cruiser classes of 35 years and over (looking back at the 1980's) and absolutely in Girls, the Junior and Elite Women classes.
My evaluation notes on the Worlds 2017.
Tuesday: In general I can say that the overall accomodation looked very professional. Very important part of the accomodation is the BMX track. I was happy to see a well manicured track, with no crazy obsticals, On Tuesday the Challenge cruiser classes were on and the Challenge track looked almost perfect to me. Not too technical, but o.k., variation is needed alaso in our sport. Next time a track can be much more demanding and technical. Not many accidents occurred and smooth racing took place. Some people said, not spectacular enough, I think this is just fine. The main events were exciting to watch. Just enough grand stands were placed and they were filled nicely all day long.
In total 48 countries participated in this challenge and championship event with over 4000 entries. Around 700 volunteers were helping out to run the overall organization. That is immese. Overall I would award a 9 (out of a serie from 0 to 10) to this Worlds of what I was able to see on TV, that is.
It was good, but things always can be better ....... Now I will write down the "remarks/notes" I have made since Tuesday about the. Mine ideas for better one's ofcourse, if you have them. Ideas might improve this high quality event. So, here my REMARKS:
- On these modern tracks, specialy in the younger age groups, often the riders just follow eachother in a "train" setting. Tracks are wide which doesn't invite for spectacular racing.
- Announcing was not the very best. Most of the time, race numbers were called when it did not concern American riders and if they called the names of foreign riders, you could not understand it because of very poor pronounciation. Annoucers only calling numbers and names all day long are boring too. There is so much to tell, why not add interesting stuff. For instance, former World Champions (from the '80s) took part in Cruiser class. Never anything was said about that. Mr. Speaker did not know much about the foreign riders, only numbers and stuff like, that Aussie guy or that French guy etc. Countries were mentioned like nr. 2 from Brasil", no name. BMX has become very professional, announcing has not improved and did not keep up with developments, I think. Also for them it should be, Preperation is all, read the History of our sport.
- Because of the high number of participants (over 4000), the event is scheduled to take place from Friday July 21st. up and till Saturday July 28th. A result of these high numbers of riders, specialy when we are racing in the USA is, that out of the 4000+ riders, there were around 1100 USA riders. So, 25% of the riders ar coming from the USA, Personaly I think that is wrong. Next year when we will be racing in BAKU - Azerbejhan, the situation will be completely different. The balance is out of order. I think this needs attention by the UCI. Ofcourse the fastest riders will win a medal for sure and the USA has very fast riders, but a final with 6 USA riders and only 2 foreign riders is not very exiting for a Challenge event. In the younger age classes that happened a lot.
On Tuesday, Cruiser class day, the grand stands were completely filled with spectators.
- When the Cruiser finals were on, the comment on life stream was given by Pete Delewsky and a USA Elite women. A pitty that they could not pronounce the names of the foreign riders well. To be professional in this field too, one should orientate more on a serious and professional commentary. Racing was cool, I enjoyed that very much.
medal count listOn Wednesday, the 20 inch Challenge youngest age classes were on
- In general the same remarks as on Tuesday
Thursday, the 20 inch Challenge, medium age classes were run.
Friday, the 20 inch Challenge, 17 & older classe, Master class.
Finaly on Saturday, the 20 inch CHAMPIONSHIP classes. Junior, Elite, men & women.
Overall conclusion on the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships at Rock Hill, SC - USA.
November 8 thr. 12th,the 1st. UCI Urban Cycling World Championships
The UCI becomes bigger at the Olympic level, new exciting moments coming up. Also the event on November 8 through 12th. is new .........Looking forward to our 1st. UCI Urban Cyling World Championships which event includes Bicycle Trials, BMX Freestyle Park and MTB Eliminator as formats. This 1st event will take place in Chengdu - China.