Excitement mounts for the first ever UCI sanctioned Pump Track World Championships which are being held 17-19 October at the Swiss Bike Park in Köniz-Oberried, close to Bern, Switzerland. It’s a simple format that puts skill, stamina, technique and nerve to the test. Olympic BMX racers, mountain bike champions and newly qualified pump track riders are amongst nearly 100 competitors from around 30 countries going head-to-head on a fair, if not level, playing field…
What is pump track?
Born out of skateparks, home to countless BMX enthusiasts and often used as a way to develop mountain bike handling skills, pump tracks are made up from a series of connected rollers and berms. What’s special about them is that the riders don’t need to pedal – the ‘pump’ refers to the rider’s body thrusts, pushing the bike into motion. It’s the skillful use of the track’s contours to move quickly from the gun that is the crux of the competition.
Any rigid bike works on a pump track so we see a good mix of riders from BMX and mountain bike backgrounds, with a shared skillset that comes together on the pump track. At Köniz there’s a new Velosolutions Pump Track with a total length of 300m, and an area of 1600m2. There are thousands of pump tracks – in different shapes and sizes, some dirt, others asphalt – all around the world. And so it’s no surprise that the UCI World Championships this year feature riders from so many nations.
And the pump track race format?
It’s beautifully simple – and that’s part of what makes it so watchable. Timed qualifying sessions determine a running order. From there pairs of riders go head-to-head in knockout-style heats until the last two men and the last two women remain, who fight it out in their finals for the rainbow jerseys!
2018 saw the first Pump Track World Championships, hosted at the Jones Center in Arkansas, USA, where of the 67 BMX and mountain bike riders competing it was two Swiss riders – David Graf and Christa von Niederhäusern – who took the men’s and women’s titles. Both are back this year for the formalised UCI event, and on home soil the quality of the international competition visiting them is intense.
UCI President David Lappartient said: “We aim to meet the expectations of a public that enjoys a show and to make our sport even more popular with the younger generation.”
How the finalists qualified
There have been 25 qualifying rounds already throughout 2019, right around the globe, giving these UCI World Championships its uniquely international feel.
From Chile in February, Bruno Lavagnino was the men’s winning qualifier and Renata Urrutia the women’s: “All ready for the grand finale of the @redbullpumptrackworlds next stop Switzerland Bern.”
In March, from Shenzhen, China, winning qualifiers were Nong Zheng and Wang Si Yangzi. In Manila, the Philippines, Jerich Farr and Lea Denise Belgria. While in Roma, Lesotho, we welcomed winners Mohapi Mosito and South African Georgina Grassie.
Read more https://www.uci.org/