Homepage Forums NJ BMX Racing NJ Racing old How long should a beginner stay in that class?

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    I am curious as to opinions on this, because I see this as a major impediment to growing BMX at the moment.
    I see a few “beginners” out there on very expensive bikes, that are clipped in with full uniforms…some are even sponsored!
    When guys like leadslead, me, and Farside started racing 20 some odd years ago, beginner was specifically for the new rider who never hit a track before, i.e.: the kid bringing in his bike from TRU or K-Mart and having at it.
    I think it would benefit all of us if a “upgrade to novice after a certain period” rule, was put into effect.
    And….and I KNOW this is not going to make me friends with a few people when I say this, that national plates for beginners should be done away with. Get the beginners back at the locals where they belong.



    First Race

    Jersey City Armory

    I’m 14

    Tri-moly Mongoose with the cheap forks

    My class: 14 AND OVER beginner

    Trophies to First, Second & Third.

    Do you know how bad I wanted that third place trophy??? (…and it took me several races to get it.)

    Do you know how bad I wanted out of that class when I found out you wouldn’t get anything else? I wanted to be in 14 novice sooooo bad after that first winter.


    I’m with Brett here folks for sure. I mean no disrespect to a certain 9 Rookie rider from CT, but it scared the poop out of me when this kid’s dad told me his kid has a 6 POUND BIKE!!! With CLIPS!!! WHAT?!?!?!?

    If you want to get the local moto counts up, you have to make it easy to get a kid on the track. Instead of a 1 month trial membership, make it a 1 weekend or two week, or make it “X” amount of races on a temp pass up to 3 months and give the kid a race card to get punched. This way it gives the kid a few more tries to get back to the track on the temp membership. Not every parent can drop everything and bring his kid down 4 weeks in a row to get their money’s worth. Keep it cheap but give it some value.

    Also – “no clips allowed” for rookies. Come on – if your kid is good enough to ride with clips, he DOES not belong in rookie. Sorry. BITD we helped push the kids up the table top if they needed help, and they LOVED it.

    Farside’s moto-x race gave me another idea: How much would it cost to have 8-10 entry level bikes at the track to be rented?? Rent them for $5-10 bucks a day, but make sure a parent signs for it with a valid credit card. I know this is not a perfect idea because how do you make sure you have bikes for every age and size rider, but its an idea and maybe this will inspire someone else to think of a better idea.

    That’s my thoughts for now.


    I’m with Brett & Craig

    A temporary Rookie license is a good idea, good for 5 beginners races. good for three months.
    Run the five races than you move up to Novice, Get your first novice race free & the full license at a discount.
    Maybe one more race if they attend a beginners class, I always enjoyed
    giving the class at Braddock. Maybe a beginners day at the track, not on a race day. have some
    bikes there for kids to ride. Give incentives to current & beginner riders when they
    get a new rider to sign up. This may be done already I’ve been away for awhile.
    Yon have to get the new kids there, and then you have keep them coming back.

    No National # for beginners.

    Rookie points at the local level could be an idea, a new rider that signs up for the first time
    that rider can run for that tracks Rookie of the Year honor. All the points that
    rider gets at that track, in beginner, novice & expert go towards the ROY points
    Give a new rider something to aim for. Have the ROY trophy on display at the track at each race, It was
    a big deal to me when I got my first trophy.


    I guess the real question is becoming…Are guys like us ready to start making our voices heard?


    I’m trying to remeber my first race, 80 or 81 WWBMXA Action Park National 10 Beginner Class on my Fuji Orange Peel. Finished 3rd and could not wait to get out of the beginer class, mostly to lose the stigma of the beginner title…BITD didn’t you move up after you won a beginner race???

    I like the idea of a 5 race max for the Rok class. 5 races or 2 wins and you move up. The equipment (clips) end does not bother me, there will always be people with more money then most that choose to spend it to look cool or in hopes of going faster. Plus you may have older Roks that have been riding MTB and are comfortable with slips. For the families that don’t have the money for clips and carbon forks it would be awesome to have a fleet of rental bikes and helmets to get them on the track. The Hyper spec bike thing seems like a great way to do that. You get your rental bikes and elimanate any equipment advantages

    What shop would sponser a Beginner???



    I’ve thought for awhile that after 5 wins, or if you aren’t winning at all, 1 season should be max. for Rookies. After 1 season, you aren’t a beginner anymore.
    As far as clips, I would not allow my son to get clips until he was 14 and had turned Expert. My daughter was 13 before she got hers. I had seen and still see too many kids falling and not being able to get unclipped. Dads having to pick up bike, kid and all and carry them still attached off the track, or having to stand at the finish line and catch the kid cause he can’t unclip to put his foot down when he stops. A lot of serious injuries have happened to the young riders because of clips.
    And last but not least, Rookies at Nationals. I think they should be allowed to attend, but maybe have combined classes for them 8 and under, 14 and under, 18 and under. Let’s them get the National experience. But would encourage the kids to move out of Rookie to avoid being combined with so many others.


    I agree their should be a limit as to the number of races for a rookie and no clips as well.

    The idea of rental bikes is a great concept but in reality I don’t think it would be to successfull. If you are going to rent bikes then you will need to at least rent helmets as well. Now combine a new rider, rental bike and a rental helmet , a recipe for disaster. Suppose this new rider takes a bad fall and gets seriously hurt? Who is going to be responsible? The guy that sized him for the helmet? The track for providing the rental bike? I think you could have them sign all the waivers you want but in the end, somebody will be held accountable and I doubt it will be the new rider!

    I enjoyed the moto bike race this weekend. As my buddy and I watched the kids racing, we both wondered what would happen if somebody got hurt on one of those. Great idea to new get kids involved just hope someone has all the bases covered.


    @bmiddaugh wrote:

    I guess the real question is becoming…Are guys like us ready to start making our voices heard?

    OK Brett

    How do we get our voices heard? And will they listen to what we have to say?
    I have a some ideas, but I will keep them to myself right now.


    RE: The equipment rental it is no different then renting a snowboard and boots and hitting the jumps at a ski slope, or renting a Downhill/freeride MTB at a resort and going big….It is done all the time…I’m sure it is not an easy or cheap propostion but maybe the Sanctioning bodies can step up and help promote the sport..



    Beginners….. Sore subject here.

    Beginners should be a local only class, no points with a temporary no cost membership that is state controlled. 5 punch slots on the temp card and once they are punched welcome to Novice ($45 for your license please). States will have to keep track of the people who signed up for the beginner class and verify who they are to prevent them resigning up at that level. Birth certificate and Parents ID.

    No beginners class at nationals. Let them run in the open classes if they want to ride there.

    All of the national “beginners” will move up to Novice if they want to compete at that level.

    I’ve caught a couple of “national beginners” who were in a higher rank in the ABA and sandbagging in the NBL. I turned them in to the NBL. They moved them up in rank but did not strip them of their points like they are supposed to.

    It will be an up hill battle.


    The proverbial “can of worms” has been opened, so what’s next?


    Well, when someone from the NJ Board of Directors agrees with you, you start bitching to the NBL!
    We do what we were trained to do by being BMX’ers in the first place, we do whatever we have to change things because we aren’t afraid to!


    The NBL makes too much $$$ off of the Rookies at the national level. About a third of their operating income at the national level comes from the Rookie class.

    This last Morristown national on Saturday:

    Rookie totals: 112 up to 16 Rookie ($5040 in entry fees 😯 )
    Novice totals: 153 up to 16 Novice
    Expert totals: 145 up to 16 Expert

    Great Lakes national:

    Rookie 82
    Novice 90
    Expert 80

    A comparison between the sanctions:

    Now you would think at the Grands the turnouts for beginners wouldn’t be that big, I mean how many Rookies are chasing a national title? Probably more than you would think. These numbers are from the 05 Grands. The NBL had more riders than the ABA yet what classes were those riders in?

    ABA Grands/ NBL Grands
    1164 total Am Boys/1428 total Am Boys
    Beginners 172/306 134 more at the NBL (22+ gates more)
    Middle 397/500 103 more at the NBL (17+ gates more)
    Expert 595/622 27 more at the NBL (Only 4+ gates more)

    If you look at the totals there were 264 more riders at the NBL Grands versus the ABA Grands. Over half of those extra riders were beginners. Only 27 were Experts.

    Percent of the extra riders at the NBL Grands than the ABA Grands:
    Rookie 51%
    Novice 39 %
    Expert 10%

    The sanctions have based operating incomes on having the beginners at the national level and probably will not give that up. They are a cash cow.

    Something to think about.




    and if there were enough riders to have Semi’s you could say it was a Big Weiner Class……maybe?

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