You only have to look at the list of participants and the results of the opening rounds of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup to understand how international this spectacular cycling discipline has become.
For the first two rounds of the 2019 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester, England, 49 female riders from 17 countries signed up. Athletes from four different nations (France, the Netherlands, Russia and Denmark) earned places on the podium. In the Elite Men class, 132 BMX racers made the trip to England, representing 24 different nations. While France took a clean sweep of the podium on Saturday, athletes from Great Britain, the Netherlands and Colombia took the top three places on Sunday. The eight finalists came from six different nations!
Some athletes have come through structured national systems, others have made the natural step up from the Challenge classes to Junior and Elite competition, while still more have discovered the sport as kids messing about at the local park.
There is no doubt that the relatively low-cost nature of BMX is an encouraging factor for youngsters wishing to start out: it was on a borrowed neon orange bike that Argentinian Exequiel Torres achieved his dream of becoming Junior UCI BMX World Champion in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, in 2015.
Meanwhile, a poignant story from South London, England, shows how the sport of BMX can take someone from humble beginnings to world class athlete. In 2004, with the help of radio DJ, TV presenter and entrepreneur CK Flash, a tiny dirt track was built on a patch of wasteland between two tower blocks controlled by rival gangs. The Peckham BMX Club was born, with four members. By 2008, it was the Number 1 club in the UK, and it is where Kye Whyte learnt how to ride BMX. Last weekend, Kye won Round 2 of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester, in front of his parents and friends, including CK Flash. It was a proud moment for all and a moment to celebrate.
Top BMX racers travel the world to compete in races on an increasingly international calendar. Important international events coming up in May will take place in Norway (UEC European Cup, rounds 5 & 6), the Netherlands (UCI World Cup rounds 3 &
4), Czech Republic (Czech Cup rounds 3 & 4), Belgium (3-Nations Cup), USA (Music City Nationals), Brazil (PanAmerican Championships), and France (UEC European Championships rounds 7 & 8).