Robin van der Kolk WK BMX Academy

Seperate Worlds for Challenge and Elite?

Some controversial stuff going on in different Instagram posts about the Worlds by some Elites on taking away challenge classes in general or only the 17/29 challenge classes. All because there are assumptions that World title winners in 17+ challenge call themselves ‘champions’? Smh about this.. Give respect to get respect, right? It’s like getting mad at people for not knowing what BMX is, or when they say ‘that’s just adults on little kids bikes, right?’. In BMX, everybody knows who the real mvp’s are. If riders brag to their friends outside BMX about being the best of the best, they’re just insecure about themselves. Why would you bother.

When people got an opinion about something, why wouldn’t they back it up with facts. It’s like defending your graduation thesis: ‘This will work out because I am sure it will, believe me’. Okay, you failed bro. It needs facts and research. Elite riders should be leading, not bossing. Seek solutions instead of criticize, earn respect instead of demanding respect, depending on goodwill instead of authority, etc etc.

Riders in challenge 17+ don’t ride Elite because of a variety of reasons:

  • Scared of SX tracks
  • Got no time/fundings to train fulltime
  • Not the ambition to be the best of the best. Best of the rest is cool enough
  • Preparing to go Elite after X years
  • Don’t want to risk their lives for 30K(??) a year

There are plenty more, but this sums up the most important ones. Challenge riders don’t compare themselves with the Elites or say they go faster, they got MAD respect for them.

SX and BMX are not the same. It’s a bit like saying these sports are the same as well:
Cricket <-> Baseball
Korfball <-> Basketball
Badminton <-> Tennis
If you say that everyone above a certain age MUST ride Elite, it would be the same that all the sports mentioned above should be good in the lookalike sports too or else they can’t call themselves good.

I bet a lot of Elite riders that raced before 1995 wouldn’t even dare to ride SX nowadays if they were still able to ride, because of the risks involved. Making an assumption right now, get it? 😉 A lot were making WAY more money through sponsorship deals back then by riding on flat, sandy tracks. Is that what y’all mad about?

The thing is: If there are no big changes coming, the next 10+ years the World Champs would still be held together with the challenge classes. BMX is, like I mentioned in an earlier post, still a baby sport. On the whole wide earth, there are not more than 500K BMX racers. Compare that with soccer. In Holland alone there are more than 1,25million soccer players. That’s why there are so many different leagues etc etc. Right now, only when there are other, major sports events during racing you can fill the stands (Glasgow/Olympics).

First, the sport must grow with a crazy amounts of riders. That could be accomplished in different ways. One way I think how to play it, is that every federation should up their license costs by at least €15,- per rider. So even if there are ‘just’ 200K riders around the globe, BMX could invest €3mil extra each year into a topnotch sports marketing agency that will help come up with a plan to grow the sport through different strategies. You reap what you sow, but nobody is willing to sow..

Should there be a stand-alone Worlds for Elites? Absolutely, but it’s by far not the right time to do that right now.

Just my 2 cents about the matter. But who am I. I’m just another 25/29 challenge rider that calls himself multiple World Champion.

Pic: @FifteenBMX / Sandra Smith

Robin van der Kolk WK BMX Academy

1 reactie op “Seperate Worlds for Challenge and Elite?”

  1. You nailed it, look at the world cups, it’s impossible to organize a world cup without sponsership, we tried but stopped, it has no sense to spend a lot of money and only have 300 spectators in the grand stands, BMX is still an embryo although it’s the most global cycling sport at the moment, and yes, at this moment it’s the challenge categorie that makes or brakes an event.

    Most of the riders don’t have the oppertunity to become an elite, several reasons for this.
    1. Because there are no professional teams you have to rely on the national federations support, if there is support :-), or your family is your main sponser.
    If you don’t have this, you have to study or work, so no time to train like a professional and the risk of injuries is to high.
    2. Lack of a category between junior and elite as in all other cycling disciplines, you don’t have the chance to grow and learn to become elite. I suggested 2 years ago to the UCI or extend the junior category to 4 years or add an additional category U23.

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