BMX racing is a fast, exciting sport where riders pedal furiously around rugged off-road tracks and compete to reach the end first. It's all about speed, power and agility rather than doing stunts, making it totally different to BMX freestyle.
A maximum of 8 riders line up at the gate, then race around the course as fast as they can, taking on several bumps, jumps and berms (tightly banked corners) along the way.
BMX racing recently became an Olympic sport and is set to feature at the London 2012 Games. It's a physical and high-adrenaline event, and there can be a few knocks and bruises, which is why the riders have to wear helmets, gloves and other protective BMX equipment.
The best way to get into racing BMX is to rock up at your local BMX club - there are plenty up and down the country, with races held for males and females of all ages and abilities. BMX racing is also a thrilling sport to go along and watch if you don't fancy competing.
BMX Racing Bikes
With BMX racing, the lighter the bike the better, but it's also got to be strong enough to withstand the jumps and landings. Pro racers use top-of-the-range models, but you can still get into racing using an everyday 20-inch BMX bike.
Before entering a race, you may be asked to take off your stunt pegs so you don't clash with other riders. You also have to make sure you've got decent tread on your tyres, and that your brakes are working properly.
Some racers, particularly taller ones, use 24-inch BMX racing bikes called 'cruisers', which have slightly bigger wheels than standard bikes. What type you use is really just a matter of personal choice.
Don't worry if you turn up to a track with your bike and feel like a total noob - everyone has to start somewhere. Study the track, chat to the other riders and you'll soon pick it up!
BMX Racing - A Little Bit of Trivia
It's not very well known, but Halfords was actually pretty important in introducing BMX racing to the UK. Back in 1980 the company sent key people to the US to find out about this exciting new form of cycling, and ended up forming the UK's first racing track and BMX club, called Redditch Premiers. That's one for the pub quiz in future!