History

History of BMX (2001 - 2002)

Year 2001.

January, EUROPEAN BMX RACING DECLINING?

TELL IT HOW IT IS!

The UCI - BMX department has at this moment 41 countries with a BMX organization affiliated world-wide. From Europe 22 countries are affiliated with BMX organizations, North and South America has 13 affiliated organizations, Africa 2 and Oceanic 3 organizations/countries.

Looking at the European scene the number of license-holders is at a very low level France, approx. 7.000 license-holders (in 1988 around 12.000); Holland, approx. 1.000 (in 1986 almost 5.000); England, approx. 450 license-holders; Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Czech republic around 350 + license-holders.

Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Italy, Lituania, Malta, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia from 150 till around 250 license-holders and Belarussian and Russia 200 and less riders! Exact figures are not made public, would be nice to see how the situation exactly is. My estimate is that in Europe we do have all ca. 12.000 license-holders.

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History of BMX (2003 - 2004)

Year 2003.

April 24-25. European Championships rounds 1 & 2 Winterthur (CH).

The weekend of 26-27 April the first 2 rounds of the European Championships where held in Winterthur, Switzerland. Some really spectacular races on the super fast track with a new last straight added designed by home rider Roger Rinderknecht. A 90 degree turn a step-up with a dropdown afterwards of a few meter followed by a big double jump.

***    FOTO  Rob vd Wildenberg (INQU) and European Elite Champion 2002 Florent Boutte (MBK-B52)

The top of the European Elite and Junior BMX riders was present to show their best and their new rides/sponsors in Winterthur. Some familiar faces from the past returned to the European BMX scene.

Back after a few years racing in the states riders like Leive One Nordmark who didn’t get an extension to his Powerlite sponsorship showed up riding a Free Agent, Karine Chambonneau back in GT colors and Malene Madsen. Other riders went to race in America during the winter break in Europe and got some nice results. Medhi Remili (GT) has spent some time racing with several podiums and wins in A pro, Also Henrik Baltzersen was racing A pro., he joined his big brother Jan in the Supercross Team and they even did a rider’s clinic together. It all paid off because Henrik was flying in his first year in Elite. Rodger Rinderknecht (SixSixOne) recovered well from his injury. He broke his collar bone during a training session in America. But you couldn’t tell while he was making everybody chasing him throughout the motos. Ivo Lakucs was also preparing himself in the USA. He joined the Bulldog crew for several weeks and did a few races in A Pro. Winning the NBL Elite Pro Challenge put him up in the lead for the Big A Series. Michal Prokop (Author) was the did not make it to Winterthur. He is still in the USA racing in AA Pro and making mains. Things are looking good for Michal. The word is that he will come to race rounds 3&4 in Valkenswaard (NL) in between some of the 4X World Cups he will be contending.

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History of BMX (2005 - 2006)

Year 2005.

Flashback 1975, picture of USA rider Tinker Juarez on a full suspension BMX bike: did bikes change! 

BMX exists around 30 years now in the USA. Pioneer Byron Friday showing that in this poster.

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January 29-30th.  20th. Indoor of Tours, France

July 30-31st. and August 1st. UCI BMX WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS AT BERCY – Paris, France.

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History of BMX (2007 - 2008)

Year 2007.

April: OLYMPIC GAMES 2008 medals revealed. 

Dear friends in BMX,

It seems the Olympic virus is finally catching on. During the past 2 months, more and more publications and interviews were published in local and regional newspapers and magazines here in Holland.
This gives a really good feeling, still there is a small critical note to make. Even after almost 30 years of BMX in Holland (right now I am talking about the situation in Holland only, on this subject) reporters find it necessary and it probably is, to explain once again, what the sport of BMX is all about, stands for etc.

Just recently the BOCOG, or better the Chinese organizing committee of the 2008 Olympics Beijing, revealed the remarkable Olympic Medals. This presentation took place in Beijing – China on the 500 days before the start of the 2008 Olympics. The medals do weight 150 grams and are a little bit bigger then the medals issued in Greece. On the backside these medals do have a typical Chinese design of jade. The competition to design the official medals did have 265 entries. The design of the Central Academy of Art in Beijing did win this competition. In all, 6000 Olympic medals will be produced.

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History of BMX (2009 - 2010)

Year 2009.

January

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February 8th. The official opening of the Dutch BMX MUSEUM located in a small town called MEGEN in Holland did take place.

Owner Mike Janssen, and old school BMX'er himself, started to collect BMX bikes while surching for his first ever BMX bike he owned himself, when he was a kid. Mike did find a location in the small town of Megen in Holland, a second floor of a large farmhouse of about 120 m2 where was able to fit up his complete collection. Beside about 80 complete bikes, mainly BMX, but also a couple of trial bikes, so-called formula-one bikes, a side-hack there are many frame/fork sets of famous brands in 20 and 24 " issues.  

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History of BMX (2011 - 2012)

Year 2011.

January, 25 men who pioneered European BMX during 1978 and 1983.

With this article I want to honor the people that were instrumental getting BMX off the ground in their respective countries in Europe. They all were very motivated and enthusiastic to get this new sport going in Europe. They invested a lot of time, energy and even money in promoting and marketing a knew sport, that had to coop with all the problems, such a new development meets. These men and women were charismatic, good promoters and organizers of the first hour of development. In due time I hope to be able to place pictures with the names in order to let you all see, about whom we are talking here. You might meet some day, at a bicycle or motorcycle event, one of the 25 people who made it possible for you to enjoy this great sport or enjoy it right now.

Of all those men and women mentioned, about 55 % were motorsport orientated (mainly moto-cross), 40 % were bicycle oriented and around 5 % did have other backgrounds (organizers/promoters / PR business). I met and know all of them personally from the pioneer days of BMX and I wonder what they are doing now. From some I know, from others I hope to find out what’s has been going on with them and I will tell you all about it, adding the new info to this article from time to time.

Well, here are the names of the men and women who PIONEERED BMX and made it possible for you riders to race BMX bikes now a days, in the first place. More and detailed info of each of them also in the HISTORY of BMX sections.

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History of BMX (2013 - 2014)

Year 2013.

Januari, here the 2013 UCI BMX Calendar.    

To give you readers an idea of how many international events are organised (sanctioned) now-a-days wihtin the world governing body for BMX, the UCI, here a complete calender of All International Competitions 2013. On very important reason to have an extensive International calender with events world wide is for holding our Olympic status.

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History of BMX (2015 - 2016)

Year 2015.

March 7 - 8th., International BMX Indoor Tours - France number 22nd.

On March 7 and 8 th. the longest running indoor in Europe took place. The International BMX Indoor Tours - France, took place for the 22nd time, the only remaining CLASSIC bmx EVENT from the 80's (first event took place in 1983). The other CLASSIC events were the E.C.C. / European Challenge Cup at Slagharen in Holland and the International Indoor Palais Omnisport de Bercy - Paris, in France. Bothe these events seized to exsist years ago.

After a break in organizing the Indoor de Tour of 9 years, now this prestegious event is back. Since BMX has some history now, there will be Old School activities and a BMX Museum was in place. Three Pioneer well known BMX racers will attend this event on the Saturday evening. Hope to have some pictures available soon for you all.

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History of BMX (2017-2018)

Year 2017.

January, 

 

May 6 -7th. 2017, UCI BMX SX round Papendal - Holland. 

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Subject: 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.

Gerrit Does
University of BMX

 

 

 

 

History of BMX, year 2018.

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