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The BMX boom began, as many of the recent extreme sports have done, in California. Moto-Cross was big business and teenagers inevitably wanted to join in but simply didn’t have the money to but the machines, and so the next best thing was it’s human-powered equivalent.

Tracks began to spring up across the US as the sport’s appeal to a group who were hungry for low cost competition exploded.

A governing body for the sport in the USA was created in the early 1970s as BMX racing took off properly. It swept across Europe in the late ‘70s and in 1981 the International BMX Federation was founded, and the first world championships were held in 1982. In 1993 BMX became fully integrated into the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Olympic History

On 29 June 2003, the International Olympic Committee decided to include BMX in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.


Competition format

The men's and women's events at London 2012 both start with a seeding phase: each rider runs the track once to determine the seedings, which ensures that the fastest riders don’t meet before the final.

The women progress straight to the semi-finals and the men’s event continues with the quarter-finals, which are held over five runs, with points for places on each run. After three runs, the best two riders from each quarter-final progress to the semi-finals. The remaining riders compete in the final two quarter-final runs and the best two from each quarter-final also progress to the semi-finals.

From here, the semi-finals in both the men’s and women’s events follow a three-run format. The top four riders from each semi-final advance to the final, where the medals are decided over one run.

Field of play

The men’s track is 450m long and the women’s is 440m long. Both outdoor tracks are built up with jumps, bumps and tightly banked corners.



Head protection is a key factor in any extreme sport and so a proper race helmet is crucial. Shirts should be long sleeved and trousers should be long as well for protection and both should be made or tear and abrasion resistant fabric. Gloves are also required, preferably with padding around the knuckles and must not be fingerless. Elbow, knee and shoulder pads are also recommended (but are compulsory on concrete or wood tracks), as is a mouthguard.


There are two different types of BMX race bike: the 20 inch (your everyday BMX bike with 20 inch wheels) and the cruiser (a slightly bigger bike with 22-26 inch wheels).

Chain guards, side stands, mud guards, sheet metal accessories such as simulated fuel tanks, butterfly nuts, any superfluous welded or mechanically fastened fittings such as chain guard lugs, frame mounted reflectors and any other sharp protruding objects are not permitted.

All bicycles entered in competition must be equipped with an effective rear brake, which may be operated either by foot (coaster brake) or hand (calliper brake).



Flags of the colours listed below are used by Track Officials as a means of communicating with each other and to riders on the Track.

These flags have the following meanings:
GREEN FLAG: The course is unobstructed and racing can proceed.
YELLOW FLAG: The course is obstructed and racers should be held at the gate.
RED FLAG: Riders on the Track should stop immediately and return to the starting gate to await further instructions. This flag may only be shown by the Chief Referee or his assistant.


a) For each Moto in which they compete, a rider shall receive a point score equal to his Finish position in the race, with the rider in first place earning one point and so on down to the eighth place rider, who will receive 8 points, The riders with the lowest total points earned in the moto’s transfer to the next stage of competition in accordance with the rules set forth in the BMX National Race Regulations.

b) A rider must compete in all moto’s in order to be eligible for the next stage of competition.

c) A rider who does not start in a qualifying race will be recorded as “Did Not Start” (DNS) and no points will be awarded. The rider will not be eligible to transfer to the next stage.

d) A rider who starts but does not complete a Moto will be recorded as “Did Not Finish” (DNF) and will receive a score equal to the number of riders who started the Moto. This rider will be eligible to transfer.

e) If two or more riders in a class complete the Moto’s with equal scores, then they will be ranked according to their respective finishes in the last Moto and if this does not resolve the qualifiers then the result of the second or even the first Moto will be taken into account. Where Moto rotation is in use, a tie will be resolved by the running of a race (run off) comprising all those riders on equal points.

Conduct On The Track

a) Riders who have registered for a competition are the only riders allowed to ride or practice on any part of the Track on the days of the competition.

b) The Chief Referee is the final authority at any competition and has the right to impose a penalty on any competitor, parent, spectator or team manager in the interests of safety, or for violation of these rules, following the guide lines described in section 5.1

c) If a race is stopped by officials before its conclusion, the riders in the race must return to the starting line immediately and await instructions

d) A re-run of a Moto, qualifying round or final will take place only if, in the opinion of the Chief Referee, the running of the race has been adversely effected by interference on the part of one or more riders, or by a spectator, animal or other outside agency.

e) If a rider falls or is forced to stop due to a bicycle malfunction during a race, his first responsibility shall be to remove himself and his bicycle from the course in order give the least obstruction to other riders. If a rider cannot or does not get up after a fall, they may be moved only by first aid attendants

f) Any rider who leaves the course during a race must regardless of the circumstance re-enter the course at the nearest safe point. They shall not interfere with the progress of any other rider or cut the course in order to gain an advantage. A penalty for this infringement shall be imposed by the Chief Referee.

g) A rider shall not cause any part of his person or bicycle to come into contact with another rider’s person or bicycle during a race with the intention of impeding their progress so as to overtake him or cause him to be overtaken by another rider. A penalty for this infringement shall be imposed by the Chief Referee.

h) The lead rider shall have the right to choose his line on the track and through all corners.

i) When on the final straight, however, the lead rider shall not deliberate obstruct another rider from passing. A penalty for this infringement shall be imposed by the Chief Referee.

j) Team riding or helping other competitors to gain a higher finishing position is prohibited. A penalty for this infringement shall be imposed by the Chief Referee.

k) Team managers, parents, and others in the company of a rider shall not interfere with a race on behalf of a team or a rider. Such interference may result in a penalty being imposed by the Chief Referee.

l) After crossing the finish line in a race, each rider shall, if instructed by a race official, proceed to the area where the finish markers assigned to the race are located and stand beside the marker whose number corresponds with their finish position. Each riders shall remain in that location until they are dismissed by a race official.

m) The Finish – A rider shall have finished at the moment when the tyre of the front wheel touches the vertical plane rising from the starting edge of the finish line.

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