Gold Cup qualifiers bring BMX Bikers from all over to Sandy Downs
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Sunday morning just behind the Sandy Downs Rodeo Arena, BMX riders from all over the NorthWest United States came to Idaho Falls to race for the next major race in the circuit the Gold Cup.
Hosted by the non-profit Snake River BMX Club, the races were started around 10 in the morning with the young kids on balance bikes enjoying a smaller race with two of the tracks turns and a few of the bumps a long the way.
Throughout the day, everyone present around the track from the volunteers, to the riders, to the families of the riders had a smile on their faces the entire day as they enjoyed the activities of the day.
The track at Sandy Downs is a new to the area. As after a recent agreement between the Idaho Falls City Council and the club, the track area is leased out by the city to the club for them to use and take care of. Every $1 for the registered racer goes back to the city as part of the agreement. Casey Christensen, the president of the Snake River BMX Club, says they're grateful for this new track.
"Snake River, BMX has been in here in Eastside over for 40 years, plus. We were able to move the track this year over here to Sandy Downs. The city was able to lease this property. We pay a dollar per rider for every paid rider and then we do all the upkeep, the maintenance. We use our own nonprofit money into it," Christensen said.
He says, "all the money that comes in here goes straight back into the track. We run strictly our volunteers. Nobody is paid here. We've got riders a year and a half all the way up to an 80 year old from Montana. That comes and races with us." He says everyone is welcome to come join them "And yeah, we race Tuesdays and Thursdays, Wednesday nights."
Christensen says with Sunday's qualifiers many are telling him that the new track is fantastic.
"The venue here is is huge compared to the old one. The old one was very small. Yet we've been there 40 years, but we've kind of gotten closed on it. And so coming here with the city, we got eight acres of camping, eight acres of parking, we've got twice the size on the track. We've got a pump track and a strider track that will have going up next year. And so yeah, the, the reviews on have been phenomenal. Everybody loves the bigger and more technical track, you know, the bigger riders that want that hard level and be able to compete with it, get that on this track. So we've had great reviews on it."
The track was built in a quick amount time only three months. Steven Hardee who helped build the track says the feedback on the track has been great as well.
"Everyone out of town is loving it with this. It takes a while to get it, get a track smooth. And they're already said it's smooth."
He says the track is all about helping the riders achieve their goals.
"Everything's a lot bigger than our last track. It's not as long, but everything is. It is a lot bigger and there's more obstacles. And it just it helps riders as myself and experience for riders that want to be travel more, for national and national level. And it's it takes a lot so having a technical track is gonna help these kids achieve their goals."
One of the racers for the Day Jay "Matrix" Jackson III says while the track can be challenging there are other obstacles the bikers may face.
"You always want to give your very best lap and sometimes that doesn't happen. Sometimes you have mechanical issues or you have that up top mechanical issue where you just, you know, like I said a little bit ago, you don't give yourself their best chance, you know, if you're thinking about it too much."
He says that every track has a subtle difference to it too.
"I really like the track is it feels really, really fast just trying to get it figured out. Every track's different, every gaits different. So that's one of the cool challenges about BMX. You can go to your local track, you can go to a track in Florida, Texas, Washington, California, and every track is going to lay out differently. his track has a left hand turn coming out of the gate. There are some tracks in Colorado there, the right hand turn. So every track you have to figure out what's the best line you can take to be the fastest you can take. And so just trying to get it figured out from the first time here, definitely want to visit again."
For Jackson one of the bigger draws out to a race like this is the family atmosphere it creates.
"BMX is a huge family affair. So that's the one thing that we when we first started in BMX, we realized that it's, you know, from all the way from the little get little striders, all the way up to, you know, 83 year olds in Bozeman, Montana, racing. So it's a it's a big family community."
Jackson was not the only one competing today from his family. He says his son was there with him racing as well. He says as any dad watching his child compete was a rollercoaster of emotions.
"Watching your child perform and live up to a potential that you see them is like you can't even put it into words.So you like, you're proud, you're nervous, you're happy or sad, you're mad like all the things happened when you know when they cheat themselves or when they do like an excellent lap or like just all the things."