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Local BMX track brings in riders from around state

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | July 4, 2022 12:24 PM

MOSES LAKE - With a newly-installed track, the Moses Lake BMX Association has begun hosting races twice a week, taking place on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at the Larson BMX Track.

“We’re racing twice a week right now, our season goes from April through November,” track operator Jeff Neihenke said. “Kids race anywhere from one-and-a-half-year-olds, and we actually have a 55-and-over classification.”

The events bring in riders from across the state, Niehenke said, and are connected to the USA BMX league. The new track, paid for by the Moses Lake BMX Association, was finished on June 3 and cost “just under $10,000,” Niehenke said. The dirt track was updated with new obstacles.

Races are divided into different subdivisions, based on experience level, gender, age and wheel size and are permitted to race as much or as few as they desire, Niehenke said. All points scored are part of the USA BMX league, and connected to tracks across the country.

“You can show up any time during one of our events,” he said. “First race is free, you get a one-day trial and it’s $60 for a year membership and that gets you on any track in the US.”

Tracks in nearby areas like Spokane and Tri-Cities are also available to riders.

“You can race every race we run or show up once,” Neihenke said,” or show up in Spokane one night, Tri-Cities the next night and us the third night. So, it’s as little or as much as you want.”

Ages of riders range from small children to older adults, making it a sport that the whole family can become involved in. The younger children race on balance bikes, which are propelled by the rider’s feet rather than pedals.

“It’s one of the few sports where everyone from the kids to the parents can all participate,” Niehenke said.

Niehenke said that races typically gather 20-50 riders at the bi-weekly races in Moses Lake. The organization recently hosted a state competition in mid-May, bringing in over 400 riders in the State Race Double.

“Our big state race every year, this year we brought in 430 riders,” Niehenke said.

Fees for the races vary by the day, with Wednesday races costing $7 and Friday races costing entrants $10. The races are open to the public, so long as they have a bike and a helmet.

“Anyone can enter,” Niehenke said. “All they need is a bike and a helmet, and we actually have track bikes to rent and helmets to rent as well.”

Beginning riders are placed into the novice class and can advance into higher classes with race wins. Intermediate and expert classes follow the novice class, with higher win totals to advance further. One rider was presented with an award for moving to the expert class at the track on Friday.

“It’s 10 wins to get to intermediate, and then 20 wins of intermediate to get to expert,” Niehenke said.

With school letting out for the summer, Moses Lake BMX is able to host more races through the summer months. The bi-weekly races will continue until schools open back up in August and September.

“Through the summer it’s Wednesday and Friday, and then as soon as school starts we’ll go back to the Saturday morning race.”

Scoring in races is based on placements, and goes toward four different series; district, state, Gold Cup and National Series. Riders have the chance to advance in ranks based on performances in races.

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com.

photo

IAN BIVONA/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

The newly-made track was updated with new obstacles, Track Operator Jeff Niehenke said.

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