2022 see’s some interesting format changes to the UCI BMX World Championships in both the Challenge and Championship classes . The 2021 UCI BMX World Championships did not go to plan in fact we were lucky there was an event at all due to Covid19. But, for 2022 the UCI are already working behind the scenes to make the World Championships due to be held from July 26th – 31st, in Nantes, France, bigger and better. We already know of some major format changes that will take effect in France for both the Challenge and Championship classes.
The big one in the Challenge and Masters Classes and one that we think will broadly be welcomed is the introduction on mixed or scrambled motos meaning you’ll races different competitors in each of your three qualifying motos. These motos will be seeded we assume from the previous World Championships who remembers Zolder 2019! This represents a return to a more traditional moto format and in the grand scheme of things, an overall fairer format.
The Championship / Elite Classes will also see a change to the race format. The three Elite motos of past World Championships are to be replaced with the system used in the UCI World Cup series. One qualifying round where the top four move on to the knockout stages and the remaining riders move on to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) round, where the top two riders move on to the knockout stages the rest go home.
While the fans miss out on the three-moto action the format is more familiar to the Championship riders, especially those on the UCI circuit. We hit up Swiss National Coach, David Graf, for his thoughts on the change, ‘Finally! Now we only have to advance this system to get full racks and I‘m all happy. My suggestion is Round 1, then LCQ – but not taking all top twos. Just take the amount of riders to fill up the 1/8 finals. Let’s say after round 1 we have 52 riders that made it through. Then the rest of the field is fighting for the remaining 12 spots based on rank and times. And we now have full gates from the 1/8s all the way thru to the main’.
Another change in the Championship class at Worlds level is the introduction of the Under 23 class to the event. This will add a potential 152 extra riders to the weekend schedule, 72 women and 80 men.
The UCI have also clarified a question we heard a lot this year regarding the Under 23 class and Elite riders deciding to ‘race down’ ‘At any stage during the calendar year (01 January to 31 December) if a rider aged between 19 to 22 enters a UCI BMX World Cup or UCI BMX World Championships in the Elite category, that rider must enter all future events in the Elite category. The rider may choose to return to the Under 23 category in the following calendar year, however all points earned in the Elite category will remain in the Elite ranking and not transfer to the Under 23 ranking.’ Interestingly, the UCI are placing more importance on the Under 23 class when it comes to Olympic Qualification, previously the Junior class riders could gather points but for the upcoming Olympic qualification cycle, it will be a nations 3 best Elite/Under 23 riders who will be in the points chase. Start paying more attention to that Under 23 class!