BMX Track Opens Today |

BMX Track Opens Today

BMXers are poised for action, because the new BMX track is open for “Demo Day.”

South Tahoe BMX, which had a promising start last summer but had to relocate for construction of an ice rink, has succeeded in building a new track for the summer.

“The obstacles are bigger,” said Lauren Thomaselli, track organizer. “The berms are bigger. It’s faster, and it’s got more of everything that is good.”

The 720-foot course, located on South Tahoe Middle School property, will be open for free riding and practice today from 10 a.m. to dusk. The first race will be Saturday.

“It’s a chance for people to come by and check out the track and ride, if they want to,” Thomaselli said.

The track will be open for free riding throughout the summer, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. until dusk, and Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The track has mechanical gates and Kevin “Coop” Cooper will be the announcer on race days.

Riders of all ages and skill levels are welcome to compete on race days. Thomaselli said she expects about 70 riders at the first race. Sign ups will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and races will begin between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Age categories range from 5 years old and younger to 56 and over. There are also different categories of racer ability.

“Our main message is that it doesn’t take anything special to participate in this sport,” she said

But Thomaselli said racing isn’t for everyone and that is fine, too.

“The free riding is sometimes the most fun,” she said.

Riders are required to have long sleeve shirts, long pants, helmets and bike pads and to sign up as an American Bicycle Association member. Children under 18 need a parent’s permission.

For the first couple of weeks pads and sweat pants will be available for use, but Thomaselli said that is just to get people involved. In a few weeks, riders will be required to supply their own gear.

Michael Frates,16, helped shape the track and test it for ridability. Frates also took first- and second-place finishes recently at the Gold Cup Qualifiers in Roseville.

Frates said the first and last straights are some of his favorite parts on the tracks, because that is where riders can get the most speed and have more opportunities for passing. But jumps are always an attraction.

“There is a big jump on the second straight that is really fun,” Frates said.

One of the goals of the track designers was to build a course that everyone could ride but would still be challenging for advanced riders.

Forest Clinton, mother of the 5 year-old BMXer Brianna, has been active in developing the track.

“Brianna started racing last year, and it has been great for her and brought out a lot of great characteristics we didn’t know she had,” Forest said.

Brianna placed third in the nationals in Stockton, Calif. last year and first at the Gold Cup Qualifier in Roseville a few weeks ago.

When asked why she likes BMX so much, she responded by saying: “I like doing jumps.”

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