bmx world championships

42702776_1571072141300104_r.jpegRobert Ambrose - My BMX Life.

 

Robert first got involved in BMX racing at about the age 11. His Mum was talking to one of the Groundsmen at the Caravan Park where they sometimes stay. He was taking his son to the local track that weekend racing and invited Robert to come along and watch. 

That was it, Robert was hooked. The local club had spare bikes, equipment and helmets for people to borrow until they decided whether they wanted to take up the hobby and could buy their own bike and all the equipment that goes with it.

The first club that Robert joined was Preston Pirates as this was the closest to his home. However, it wasn’t meant to be. Unfortunately, because of Roberts issues, and the fact that nobody could or wanted to understand his needs, he was asked to leave the club. This kind of rejection was deeply upsetting for Robert.  He’d finally found something that he really enjoyed doing and turned out to be extremely good at.

Luckily this setback didn’t stop him, he’d finally found a hobby that kept his interest and attention. So, he joined Blackpool Club and was also accepted at Mid Lancashire Club.

Robert now trains at least 3 times a week, races most weekends and any spare time he has you will find him on the track. He has a private session with a coach one night a week. His coach and his new clubs are brilliant with him, he has been accepted for who he is and not just a child who is badly behaved. He has also made so many new friends who he also sees outside of racing and they also accept him for the person he is.

The regular racing and training sessions have given him something to focus on instead of being bored. It has also given him freedom. He will often go to the track to let off steam by pushing himself to be better and faster. 

His determination and all the hours of hard work paid off. Robert didn’t stay in the “novice” class for very long, his coach spotted that he had a natural talent and moved him up to “expert” class very quickly. Once he moved up he noticed that some of his peers were riding an additional bike at some of the race events. He asked some of his friends about it and was told that it was called a “cruiser” and that it was a 24” version of his normal 20” bike.

So along came his second bike, his cruiser. Different training, different racing, different rules and different mechanics. Robert just took it all in his stride and worked and trained harder.

By now Robert was taking part in regular race weekends but this was causing a problem at home. His trophy cabinet was soon full, shelves were put up. They were now full, more shelves were put up, they are now full. Trophies are even balancing on top of the fish tank. And still the trophies keep coming.

He’s got trophies and medals for Club races, Regional races, The British Championships and is now working hard to improve his National Ranking to be in with a chance to take part in the World Championships in Belgium in 2019.

 

Everyone that races are advised to become a member of a local club. Both boys & girls can race, and you race against your own age group. Sometimes races can be mixed boys and girls but normally they race separately. This usually depends on how many people attend on the actual race day. 

A race is called a “Moto”. Each race day you will ride in three moto’s. This is for just one bike, so if like Robert you race two bikes then you will have double the amount of Moto’s each race day.

A computer randomly selects who you race against in each of your Moto’s, and which starting gate you are allocated. There are eight starting gates, so only eight riders per race. The novice’s race first, then the experts. 

Once all the Moto’s are finished, the computer will calculate your scores for each race and will then tell you whether you have got through to the quarter finals. If there aren’t enough riders in your age group for quarter finals, you will go straight through to semi-finals. Depending where you finish in your semi-final will determine whether you are in the “A” final or the “B” final. The A final will be the top four riders from both the semi-finals and the B final will be the last four riders from each semi-final.

There are quite a few different kinds of BMX races, whether you can race in them can depend on two main things. The first being if you’re good enough and the second being you are rich enough!!! BMX racing costs a lot of money the more involved and better you get. Once you get to the Regional and National events which can be held anywhere in the UK, you have to start paying for accommodation, fuel, meals plus the cost of actually taking part and you still have to keep your bike(s) in racing condition otherwise you could be disqualified. 

BMX races all have different names and are better explained like a ladder.

The starting point, being the first rung, is you join your local club. Each club will charge their own yearly membership fees, you will also have to become a member of British Cycling and pay their annual membership fee and then you need a race licence for each bike. Depending on the level of race licence you go for you might also have to purchase separate insurance for you and your bike(s).

At local club races you race against other members of your own club and are a great way to teach you how to ride in race conditions.

The second rung then takes you to Club Series. The UK is broken down into Region’s. Each Region is made up from all the local clubs in that area. The two local clubs that Robert is a member of are part of the North region. 

The North region clubs then have their own race days, a summer series which usually consists of 8 or 9 race’s and a winter series which will consist of 5 or 6. The races are held at each of the clubs’ home track. 

You must attend seven out of the nine races with your top seven scores being used to determine your overall position. The top score for these race days is 54 and depending where you finish depends on your race day score. At the end of the series your scores will be calculated, and you will be given your final finishing position for your age group in your region.

Club Championship races are also held once a year, each club takes it in turn to host the event. This one-day event is attended by all the clubs in that Region. Riders race together as a club or team and each riders points are added together to determine which is the best club in that Region.

The third rung on the ladder is the Regional races. All the above rules apply with the added level of ensuring you gain enough points in your races and attend a minimum of 7 race days so that you can qualify to receive a top position trophy. 

The riders who take part at Regional level are usually each region’s top riders. At the end of the season you will find out your position against all the other regional riders in your age group.

If you wish to race in the British Championships, you must have taken part in a minimum of 5 Regional races to qualify.

The British Championships is a one-off race weekend, hosted by a different club each year. It is usually a two-day event and all the regions send their best riders to represent them. The rider’s race against their own age group with only the top ten riders being awarded points for their Region. At the end of the weekend the highest scoring Region will be announced.

The Nationals. The Nationals can be held anywhere in the Country and the decision of exactly where is made by British Cycling. There are a lot more riders who take part in the Nationals and you race against all the top riders in the UK in your age group. To enable you to take part in the Nationals you must have completed at least seven of the Regional race weekends.

At the end of the season you will be given a National Ranking, this is your final finishing position for that year. Your final position number is the number you must race with on your plate on your bike the following year.  

Robert now has a National ranking number of 28 for his 20” bike and 18 for his cruiser. This is his overall position, for his age group, in the whole of the UK.

After the Nationals comes the World Championships. The World Championships for 2019 is being held in Belgium. The top 14 National riders are offered a place to attend. Plus, a further 2 as reserves. If anyone is unable to attend then places are offered in order of ranking, so with Robert being number 18 on his cruiser he has a very good chance of being offered a place. However, he probably won’t be able to attend as most riders at this level have a sponsor to help with travel costs, but Robert has trouble getting a sponsor because of his “issues”. Once again people’s views are “if an illness isn’t visible then he’s obviously just a very badly-behaved child” Very few people see Robert as the lovely person and talented rider that he really is, some won’t even give him a chance. He has a fantastic opportunity but without funding or a sponsor none of it can happen. If Robert didn’t have his BMX racing, then he’d probably be hanging around the streets getting into trouble, but this is not the kind of life Robert wants for himself.

Robert would love to do more, would love to attend a gym for his fitness and would love a bike that isn’t made from second hand parts and given the opportunity, would love to represent his country next year at the World Championships and one day at the Olympics.

This year he has raced all over the uk including The isle of man,  Bournemouth, Peckham in London, Kent and  Scotland more than once.
he has gain several more trophies at local club winter and summer series and in regionals is 1st on his cruiser and 2nd on his 20" again 2nd year running and is now 12th in the Britain on his cruiser gaining 6 places on last year . 

Well he has done it and qualified for to represent Great Britain at the world championship in Houston Texas in the USA in 2020

We are asking for as little or as much as anyone can afford to help realise his dream to represent his country doing the one thing he loves to do his bmx racing .








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Tracy Iddon 
Organizer
Lostock Hall, North West England, United Kingdom
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