transponders and big screen, a new impulse?
by Gerrit Does
October 3rd. 2004 the FIM MOTOCROSS of NATIONS took place in LIEROP â€“ Holland, a small town close to the city of Eindhoven. Of course, as former MX rider, I had to be there.
30 countries were present with their National MX teams. Missing was one of the leading countries, Team USA. As a sportsman I can’t understand why the Americans weren’t there. The MX of Nations is considered â€œthe Olympic eventâ€? in MX. Business wise I can understand their lack of absence: much more money to be won in the USA events, sponsors want their riders to race in the USA. O.k. but that’s just one country missing.
Anyway, over 30.000 people came to watch this prestigious event. Even more spectators then during the 2003 Grand Prix at the same track. Racing was great, the excitement fantastic as well as the atmosphere. In short a fantastic event. All those people claiming that without Team USA it wasn’t to be a good event, were totally wrong. Missing just one team isn’t a problem at all.
Anyway, reason to write this article is to confirm once more, that a BMX TROPHY of NATIONS could be a fantastic new event. Finally TEAM COMPETITION would get the appreciation it deserves, IF of course, also the organization is done the right way. What is the right way?... Well, just copy what they did in Motocross and I am sure you will have a HIT.
In my opinion a BMX Trophy of Nations should be run indoor, BERCY - Paris, France to give you an idea. Somewhere around Christmas time would be great. Just as in MX, the team should consist out of riders from the World Championship classes: 1 Elite men, 1 Elite women, 1 Junior men and one Junior women rider. So in total 4 riders and maybe spare rider that only can be entered just before the actual event, if another team-member gets hurt.
The classes in which points are to be won for the World title, World Champion National Teams will be:
- Elite men (1 rider per team)
- Elite women
- Junior men
- Junior women
- Open class Junior men/Elite men (2 riders per team)
- Open class Junior women/Elite women
In total 6 classes, in fact 8 result of which the best 6 results will be counting for points to determine the winner. Simple is beautiful!
Each team must wear a National Uniform. Here is an example Stefan Everts from Belgium and Marc de Reuver from Holland in their National Team uniform. Helmet, jersey, pants all the same with on the jersey the individual sponsors and National team sponsors. It was fantastic to see how well the riders were recognized as a Belgium, Czech rider or any other country’s rider.
Transponders are used already for a long time in MX. AMB from Heemstede, the same company that takes care of the BMX transponder thing since I introduced them in BMX in 1995, is taking care of all that. Well, the main thing we missed in Valkenswaard this year, was a big electronic scoring board where also TV images could be shown, was present in Lierop during the MX of Nations. I tell you, it was a BIG screen, situated on the starting area and main infield.
Out of the about 30.000 spectators, about 10.000 of them could follow the race on this screen PLUS the standings per lap were shown. That was nice.
What made the crowd go crazy (specially the Dutch, because the Holland team was performing very well) was the fact, that every time a rider changed positions, the computer calculated the results at once and showed on this big screen the standings per Nation. All of this made the racing much, much more exiting for the audience.
Well my friends, this is exactly what I did have in mind, when I introduced transponders and the screen/scoring board, ending 1995. The only time we came close to what I wanted it to be, was in 1996 during the World Cup in Valkenswaard-Holland.
If we want to make BMX more interesting for the outside BMX people and TV, this is the way to go. For me this MX of Nations was again prove of what should be done in BMX as well.
Besides all of the above, it's time TEAM COMPETITION is uplifted and specially National Teams competing with each other. I never forget the time, that a TV producer told me that to be successful with a TV program for a broad audience (also read: outside BMX people watching BMX races on the track), a binding tool is Team competition. Look at soccer at National level, look at soccer when the World Championships are on. Complete Nations go crazy. Same principal works for Team competition in BMX, maybe not right away the first time, but for sure in due time.
Such an event could well be a good replacement for the Supercross of BMX and even a World Cup series (for this moment). The UCI BMX department has about 40 countries affiliated. Let’s say about 30 countries will send their team, complete with a team manger, medical staff and so on. Now a National Federation will be ale to pay all expenses for their about 10 men team (6 riders and 4 officials). In this case in total about 180 riders will be competing which makes a great group of riders to have fantastic events during a certain day from let's say 13.00 till 17.00 hours including presentation of award and so on.
A professional organization as UCI, should be able to coordinate and organize such an event let's say at BERCY-Paris next December 2005, when and if the Worlds in Bercy has been a success and the Bercy management is motivated again to organize this BMX Trophy of Nations. Don’t wait another year, JUST DO IT!