The Sea Otter Classic will be held April 12-15, 2007 at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, California, USA. In past years, Sea Otter's BMX event took place slightly away from the main venues, however with its return this year, BMX racing will take center stage on the site of the former Mountain Cross course.
"The course will be a downhill course with lots of different kinds of obstacles: step-ups, tabletops, and doubles - those will be the obstacles as the riders come down the hill," said Mary Garcia, co-commissioner for Golden State NBL BMX. "It will basically be a downhill, zig-zag course with five straights, which will make for exciting racing."
Eric Carter (Mongoose) raced BMX for 18 years before trading in his BMX bike for the heavier rig used in gravity racing. Carter brings his experience with BMX racing and an overall geniality to his role as official spokesperson for Sea Otter's BMX event.
"The technology was a lot different in BMX racing ten years ago," explained Carter. "The bikes were mostly chromoly - now there's lots of carbon fiber. Skill levels have risen, riders are faster, technology has evolved, and technique is more refined. Now BMX is a much more serious sport due to its inclusion into the Olympics. There's lots of corporate interest and lots of TV interest since obviously there's potential for riders to become national heroes. BMX racing used to be viewed as just a kids' sport, now it's being taken more seriously by mainstream America."
Currently ranked number two in the world, top BMX pro racer, Randy Stumpfhauser (GT Bicycles, supported by SRAM), previously raced BMX at Sea Otter, as well as tried his luck at Mountain Cross.
"To bring BMX racing in front of the cycling community at Sea Otter will give it some great exposure to the cycling world," said Stumpfhauser. "BMX's return to Sea Otter should gain the sport a lot of respect from the different disciplines of racing that may have yet to witness a BMX race."
With the addition of BMX racing to the Olympics, the UCI has a series of events for both riders and nations to gain points to qualify for the 2008 Games. Stumpfhauser and many other top USA pros will be traveling the globe in pursuit of these precious qualifying points.
"Local" and "top talent" don't often get mentioned in the same sentence except when Joey Bradford, currently ranked number one in the world for the Junior Elite Class, expresses his intentions to mosey on up the hill to Laguna Seca from his home in Monterey. In addition to BMX, where expectations are high for the budding pro, Bradford also plans to compete in Dual Slalom and perhaps Downhill. No stranger to Sea Otter, Bradford returns this year to showcase his BMX skills to Sea Otter's eager and intrigued cycling community.
"As a spectator, you will see all classes from beginner to expert and possibly some pros," explained Garcia. "Each rider will ride in three motos or rounds, three different times. They will have to ride with the same age class and efficiency. Riders with top finishes will transfer to a semi-main event and then the top four finishers from each semi-main will ride against each other in a main event."
For those who have never experienced a BMX race, don't blink or you'll miss it! Get ready to be set on stun as racers start from a dead standstill and explode out of the gates with a power more closely related to drag racing. Try to pick out the best gate and the best lines, ask questions and prepare yourself for the 2008 Games because BMX will be the one to watch in Beijing!
The Sea Otter Classic BMX events will take place throughout the day on Saturday, April 14 starting at 8 am and continue on Sunday, April 15 from 8 am until 4 pm. For a racing schedule and more information, visit: www.seaotterclassic.com
The 17th Annual Sea Otter Classic will be held April 12 - 15, 2007 at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, California, USA. The four-day 'Celebration of Sport' is considered the world's largest cycling festival, hosting nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans. The Cypress Youth Fund is the Sea Otter Classic's philanthropic arm. The Fund provides funding to organizations that benefit their communities in the areas of youth, sport, education, and environment. More information can be found by calling 800-218-8411 .