Supercross BMX racing is even more awesome than conventional BMX racing due largely in part to the track. A Supercross BMX track is more like a motorcross track than one built for pedal bikes. The largest and longest of the Supercross obstacles measure in excess of 30 feet. Not clearing the entire obstacle in the air, in most cases, means dropping to the back of the pack. That’s a big problem when the entire race lasts a mere 30-45 seconds.
There weren’t too many Supercross tracks for BMX racing around prior to the 2008 Olympics. Now, the tracks, although still in short supply, are being built around the world. For some UCI Supercross races, tracks are specially built. Other tracks, like the Chula Vista, California track, remain as a training and competition venue for world class athletes.
Architecture, landscaping, and engineering all play a role in the building of a Supercross BMX track. A special starting hill, or ramp, must be erected. The standard height for a Supercross start hill is around 8 meters tall and this starting hill rockets riders downhill out of the start gate towards their first long obstacle, which they jump over shoulder to shoulder, eight riders across.
The corners are paved, sometimes with bricks, as in the case of the Supercross track built in Randaberg, Norway for round 2 of the 2012 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup.
The middles of many of the doubles(the big air jumps) are landscaped with grass, or in some cases, riders must fly over a portion of the track in the air. The 2007 UCI BMX Supercross track in Madrid, Spain featured a huge gap in the first straight that all riders had to jump at the bottom of the start hill.
London’s BMX track at the north end of Olympic Park is state of the art. One of it’s many impressive features is the underground tunnel on the women’s course. A partial straight goes underneath the men’s portion of the track. Female riders will ride down into the tunnel, out the other side and over a giant step-up jump.
Finally, like most BMX race spots, the Supercross venue is completed with a warm-up and staging area, parking, spectator stands, bike pit, finish line area and more.
Some facts about the Olympic BMX track according to Yahoo! Sports:
The men’s course is 450m long, the women’s course, 440m.
14 000 cubic feet of dirt were used to complete London’s Supercross BMX track.
There is seating for 6 000 spectators.
The track will remain in London as part of a cycling super-centre after the Olympic Games are over. The track will be modified for all levels of bmx racers to use.