PINGREE—East Idaho BMX will be reopening its new indoor race track for the upcoming 2023 racing season starting in January. It will run from that month to Dec. 15, when the season ends and points from the year are processed.
There will be multiple races running every week starting Jan. 17. All of the races for the winter season have been scheduled, ending in April, and after that the outdoor track will open with races running starting that May.
The track is located at 1532 W. 800 S, Pingree.
“You’re on the edge of your seat the whole time,” said Derek Smith, president of East Idaho BMX. “Rubbing elbows is racing.”
The indoor race track was first opened at the end of November last year. Before that, East Idaho BMX, the sanctioning non-profit organization that runs races in the region, was renting out the Broken Bit Arena in Idaho Falls.
Jason Gibbons is the assistant track operator and the owner of the building where the races are run. Through his non-profit organization G6, they were looking at buildings in the region to find somewhere to run indoor BMX races. When they found the building, they spoke to Smith about running BMX there, and he responded that they absolutely would.
Smith said that before they had an indoor race track to run during the winter season, they would lose a 10% to 15% rider count because of “kids doing other sports, growing out of bikes, parents selling them, kids getting in trouble, (kids) selling them and that kind of stuff,” Smith said.
Smith and his children became interested in BMX racing in 2020 when one of his son’s friends told them he had to go home and get to sleep early for a race the next day.
“Race? What do you race?” Smith asked him.
“BMX bike,” the friend responded.
“Do they still have that old track out there on Yellowstone?” Smith asked. The friend responded that they would be racing there, and the next day Smith and his kids joined him for the race.
Smith had driven a truck for the last 14 years, and after this he quit his job and “started a whole new career and have done nothing but work on opening tracks.”
In addition to this new indoor track in Pingree, they’ll also be opening an outdoor track in Pocatello in the spring.
“I mean it’s an adrenaline rush and it’s an adrenaline rush for the parents. It’s an adrenaline rush for the kids. I mean it’s hands down one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced,” Smith said.
The schedule is not posted to the East Idaho BMX Facebook page but it will be sometime by the end of this week. The first three races will be on Jan. 17, 20 and 21.
For people who are interested in taking up BMX racing, they can get signed up on the East Idaho BMX Facebook page. People who want to race need a BMX bike as well as a helmet, long sleeve shirt and shin guards if they’re wearing shorts.
The first day of racing is free, and then people can get a year membership with USA BMX for $60 and then pay the race fee for $10. After that, they can race anywhere in the country.
People who come to race for the first time are classified as a novice, and will race other novices who are the competitors’ age. Once they have won 10 races, they’ll move up to intermediate and then when they’ve won 20 races, they’ll move up to expert. The class that you race in is determined by your age.
“There’s no limiter there,” Smith said. “When it comes to what you race, it’s what your proficiency is and you race your classes and you move up and down as you grow.
“I think it’s at the top of the pack when it comes to self-discipline and teaching yourself values on all levels of the mind. You learn to win, you learn to lose.”
Both Smith and Gibbons said BMX racing isn’t as dangerous as people think it is.
“It’s not nearly as dangerous as people might associate it being, it’s very safe,” Gibbons said.
While Smith acknowledged that some instances of injury do happen, “it’s no different than going out and playing football or basketball and rolling an ankle.”
Both Smith and Gibbons see great potential for the sport to grow in the region with more tracks available to race on.
“It’s kind of the fastest growing sport in the nation,” Smith said.
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.
We welcome comments, however there are some guidelines:
Keep it Clean: Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexual language. Don't Threaten: Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. Be Truthful: Don't lie about anyone or anything. Be Nice: No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading. Be Proactive: Report abusive posts and don’t engage with trolls. Share with Us: Tell us your personal accounts and the history behind articles.