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New Rule Changes for 2019

Filed under General on December 13, 2018 | Comment(s)

The annual review of the rules is one of the most important processes USA BMX conducts each year.  Throughout the year we collect a number of ideas and feedback from our membership and tracks.  These rule suggestions are then carefully analyzed by our staff with decades of BMX experience.  While we’re always working to implement policies and programs to grow our sport (like the BMX Racing League), we also shoulder the responsibility of being the stewards of BMX in North America.

Below you’ll find short explanations of rule changes for 2019. As always, please refer to the 2019 USA BMX Rule Book for exact wording of the rules.

State/Provincial Championship Series/Race of Champions

With the range of allowable dates for SCF/PCF races extending from August to the end of October, we’ve certainly expanded the window for ROC qualification, with Finals happening from as early as May to as late at October. That meant that it was time to establish a singular date for ROC eligibility – to make it fair for all riders from all state/provinces

Change the rule regarding the date used for the ROC to:

“A rider shall compete in the age and skill level that they were as of August 31st.” 

Class Creation/Move Up Rules

We had lots of problems with the older riders of the day ending up in weird classes with the 2018 version of the rules. In particular, the Girl (soon to be Expert Girl) classes were among the best examples of this. Our team has worked hard to re-write the class creation procedure to ensure riders are combined in a way that ensures good class creation and competition.   

Clips vs. Flats

Obviously, this was a hot topic coming into this year’s rules meeting. While most of us accepted clips as a part of BMX culture for the last 25 years, the rest of the world has certainly moved to put most riders back on flats. The vast majority of the best coaches in BMX supported getting most BMXers back onto flat pedals to better develop bike-handling skills.  As such, we will be migrating towards no clips for certain ages and proficiencies – albeit more slowly than the rest of the world. This will help our riders, tracks and the industry make this transition.

To allow for riders to prepare for additional changes regarding allowable equipment for their age and proficiency, there will be no changes introduced in 2019. Beginning in 2020, the use of clipless pedals will be prohibited for Intermediate riders age 12 & Under as well as for Novice riders of any age. Beginning in 2021, the use of clipless pedals will be prohibited for all riders age 12 & Under (Intermediate, Expert and Expert Girl) as well as for Novice riders of any age.  Once in place, the restriction is placed on the age/skill level of the rider – regardless of the class that rider may end up in. This is consistent with the current rules regarding Novice riders and clipless pedals. 

  • 2019 – All Novice (no change from 2018) = no clipless pedals
  • 2020 – All Novice and 12 & Under Intermediates = no clipless pedals
  • 2021 – All Novice and All Riders 12 & Under = no clipless pedals

Class Name Change

The class titled “Girl” will be re-labeled as “Expert Girl”.

This change came from the result of the Facebook post heard around the world. We appreciated the recommendation and agreed it was time to evolve and change the name of the class to better meet the needs of our customers. 

Number Plate Backgrounds

Over the past several years, numbers plate designs have made it harder and harder for our scorers, both locally and nationally, to read the plate and know the type of plate (NAG, NAT, State, etc.).  We have clarified what constitutes a number plate background to read that the background color should touch all sides of the number plate. Additionally, we are asking riders to make sure the background is a solid color and does not include a design. Standardized background colors with CMYK/RGB color codes are now included in the rulebook.  Of course, sponsor logos are welcome, however, they need to be placed on the proper background color. 

In addition, riders may use the correct background color on their side plate.

Pro Changes

One of the more significant changes to the rules in 2019 is the restructuring of the Pro class.  Starting in 2019, based on year of birth, a rider must be 19 or older to participate in A Pro, AA Pro or Women Pro (Year of Birth 2000 or earlier).  Additionally, we will be hosting Men Jr and Women Jr classes at all Pro Series races.  Traditionally, these riders were combined with AA Pro/Elite Men or Women Pro/Women Elite.  These riders with a year of birth of 2001 -2002 may race the Men/Women Jr classes at any UCI race, but will also be allowed to continue to race in their USA BMX/BMX Canada amateur class.  For example, an 18 Expert can race a Pro Series National Event and compete in both the 17-20 Expert Class as well as Men Jr.  Additionally, these riders can compete at any UCI event and maintain their amateur status with USA BMX/BMX Canada.  Riders participating in the Men/Women Jr Class will be required to have a UCI membership.  US citizens can purchase this membership through USA Cycling.

Foreign Riders

Because of the quality of event and outstanding competition, more and more international riders are coming to USA BMX national events.  As such, some clarification needed to be added for these riders.  We have added the following:

  1. Foreign amateur riders (UCI Challenge Class) are NOT required to purchase an amateur membership but are required to complete a membership application. That rider will be able to compete for the award of the day, and will NOT receive any ranking points.  Should a foreign rider wish to compete for any USA BMX ranking program, they must purchase a full membership. 
  2. Any foreign rider competing in the A Pro class, must purchase a USA BMX Pro Membership.

Additionally, we modified page 5 #10 in rulebook to: “Any rider competing with another organization may be required to compete in the equivalent proficiency at all sanctioned events. This decision rests entirely with the sanctioning body.”

Team Changes

The waiting period for switching from factory team to change from 120 days to 90 days.

NAG and National Ranking

Riders have the opportunity to earn bonus NAG/National points by racing in single point races.  The deadline to earn these bonus points has been moved up by 15 days to October 1st.  This allows a few extra weeks to ensure that these valuable points are in the system in advance of the Grands where points are finalized. 

Advancement Clarification

On page 6 #12, specify that this refers to Gold Cup #1 only – rather than just Gold Cup.

We had riders that earned Gold Cup #3 plates based on being the third rider in a three-rider class. That should not merit a mandatory move-up to the next proficiency and this fixes that rule for our National Team at those events.

Rulebook Clarifications

The Membership Department also had many rulebook clarifications/corrections that will be made – among them are specifying that a Balance Bike Upgrade keeps the same expiration date as the current Balance Bike membership (or 6 months from the date of upgrade, whichever is greater). We will also clarify that 8 single point races for “alternate eligibility” to qualify for the Race Of Champions MUST BE on the same bike. As always, check the shaded boxes for any changes in the rulebook.

Tracks Running “Total Points”

We will modify the software to change any 9 rider class to a “transfer system” race (for that class only) if a track is running their race as “Total Points” and the system encounters a 9 rider class. This is the only fair way to get 8 riders into a main event.

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