Bicycle moto cross (BMX) started in the late 1960s in California, around the time that motocross became a popular sport in the USA. The motorized version of the sport was the inspiration for the human powered competition. Children and teenagers with the desire but not the means to participate in motocross sated their appetite by racing bicycles on self-built tracks. These young adventurers completed the imitation by dressing themselves up in motocross gear. The sport was given the name 'bmx' and the conception was complete.
BMX racing offered exciting action at a low cost, close to home. It is easy to see why the sport was an instant hit. In California the sport was more popular than anywhere else. During the early 1970s a sanctioning body for BMX was founded in the U.S.A. This is considered as the official start of BMX racing. As that decade progressed, the sport was introduced on other continents too, among them Europe in 1978.
In April 1981, the International BMX Federation was founded, and the first world championships were held in 1982. BMX rapidly developed as a unique sporting entity, and after several years clearly had more in common with cycling than motorcycling codes. Thus, since January 1993 BMX has been fully integrated into the Union Cycliste Internationale.
BMX Racing is part of the Olympic programme.
BMX Racing is raced on a 350m circuit. Eight riders launch themselves from an eight-metre high ramp and race over a track alternating bumps, banked corners and flat sections. The battle for first place is fierce, as it is necessary to finish in the first four of the heats to have a place in the next round and then in the final. Depending on the lay-out of the section, the riders try either to land quickly in order to gain speed, or to gain height (riders reach up to nearly five metres high).