Since BMX Freestyle Park was added to the Olympic programme, the number of venues for practising this spectacular discipline has shot up. Yet, athletes need to be able to access facilities comparable to those used at the speciality’s UCI World Cups. Logically, the level of competitors, both men and women, living close to quality parks has increased exponentially given they have perfect conditions to practise new figures.
One of the most recently-constructed parks can be found at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC), next to the UCI offices in Aigle, Switzerland. The natural surroundings are amazing, but BMX Freestyle riders have eyes only for the park itself. Built by the French company and UCI Partner Hurricane, the park has a good variety of the most popular obstacles including jump boxes, spines and quarter pipes. There are also two resi-sections where new tricks can be attempted in optimal safety conditions: the gymnastic-style mats provide a softer reception in the event of an inaccurate landing.
UCI BMX Freestyle consultant Bart de Jong is enthusiastic about the new addition at the UCI WCC which already houses a BMX Supercross track, a pump track, a velodrome, and a cyclo-cross training circuit. We asked him about the new park.
What was the idea behind building a BMX Freestyle Park at the UCI WCC?
Bart De Jong (BDJ): The idea is to stimulate the development of this new Olympic discipline by putting a world-class facility at the disposal of our National Federations, as we do for the other Olympic disciplines. It will also be open for regional sporting purposes.
More concretely, what is the plan with the park?
BDJ: The plan is to organise training camps for athletes from National Federations, offering them the opportunity to use the park and the rest of our facilities: accommodation, restaurant, gym, Wattbikes, etc. We also wish to give people from the region a chance to discover this discipline by organising initiations and demonstrations. We could also organise an international competition in the future.
Where can people find more information about the use of the park?
BDJ: National Federations and the local public should write to [email protected].
The park at the UCI WCC is the second of its kind to open in Switzerland after the one in Cadenazzo, which recently hosted the UEC BMX Freestyle Park European Championships.
BMX Freestyle Park riders complete a run, during which they perform a sequence of tricks including jumps and transfers between obstacles. Creativity in how runs are assembled, and the variety and difficulty of tricks performed is highly important, and the design of each BMX Freestyle park defines the type of riding that is possible within it. A BMX Freestyle Park competition can even be held in a similar facility such as a skateboard park or concrete bowl, facilities commonly found in urban areas around the world. However, such facilities will not offer the same possibilities to BMX Freestyle experts, capable of adapting to any situation, due to less-than-ideal size, spacing and layout of the obstacles.
The new UCI WCC facility has something for everyone. It is possible to learn new figures thanks to its resi reception areas and to develop talent on the quarter pipes. It is a question of taking things step by step. A facility of this type together with a good dose of determination, and an athlete can only improve as time goes by.
Athletes of all levels are impatient to discover the ramps in Aigle. The UCI WCC’s BMX Freestyle park will be inaugurated on November 27 with the participation of the winners of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games. A not-to-be-missed occasion to discover this sport and the facility that will play a major role in the discipline’s worldwide development!