BASIC TRACK DIMENSIONS
|Starting gate: 24ft or wider to fit 8 riders (ABA has plans on how to build.)|
|1st straightaway: 25-35 ft. wide.|
|Width of track after first turn: 15-20 ft.|
Total length of track: 900-1,200 ft.
Fencing: two fences are recommended. One a security barrier around the perimeter of the property. The second fence is a spectator control fence maximum of 4 ft. high.
Starting gate (8 rider gate required for ABA sanctioning.
In track building, the number of jumps, berms, along with their size, determine how much dirt will be needed. 2,000 yards of dirt will get you started, however, an ideal track uses over 3,000 yards. Dirt can be purchased through vendors or the cheap alternative is to look for construction sites and tell them you will take any excess dirt off their hands. They might even offer to dump it for you.
All BMX tracks are different, but the same. Certain things are similar but at the same time very different. Before you start to build your track there are many factors to consider; climate, drainage, what kind of dirt, type of layout (how many berms, jumps and other obstacles). Several track designs are shown below. The top two factors are safety and raceability.
The dimensions listed above leave a lot of flexibility in the construction of your BMX track. Keep these in mind when designing your track. The track should fit your property and environment. Ex: Wet climates need good drainage, while desert climates should have lights for night racing to avoid the summer heat. Scoring and announcing should be from the same structure. Enough tower elevation is required for a good perspective of the track for the announcer and should be in close proximity to the finish line for the scoring.
The best soil for a BMX track is loam with some clay with a surface of river silt. The river silt will give a smooth, hard surface when packed and the loam with wet clay will provide a stable basis for your berms and jumps. The starting hill can be relatively tall but a good rule is the taller the starting hill the easier the first obstacle, which can be a problem spot if it is too high or steep. A full gate of riders arriving at the first obstacle at approximately the same time needs an obstacle designed to slow their speed yet not so difficult as to cause accidents.
Berm construction is equally important. If the first turn is too tight, there won't be enough room for the riders. A general rule is the outside radius of the turn should be 30 ft plus. The longer the first straight, the larger the turn. After the first turn, the riders start to spread out and the remaining obstacles and turns can be smaller or more difficult because all eight riders are not trying to negotiate these at the same time. If space permits, allow enough room in your design for plenty of racing. If there isn't room enough for racers to pass after the first straight the riders will soon become bored with your "hole shot" track where the first rider out of the gate has an opportunity to win.
In more established BMX areas with experienced riders, track length can be somewhat longer and the obstacles more difficult than in areas where BMX is just getting started. Downhill tracks that "5" across the slope can be somewhat longer than tracks built on level ground.
In any track design safety comes first. Any obstacle that presents a hazard should be removed, padded or modified, Any jump can be made safe by extending the "backside, making it nearly impossible to land on flat ground. When designing your track, intentions should be directed toward taking as many precautions as possible while still providing an exciting and challenging racecourse. Study the examples that are provided in this manual but remember: Each track operator is responsible for his/her own track. The design and construction suggestions offered by the ABA do not constitute any official approval of these or any other track design, even the best design can be unsafe or unraceable if built Incorrectly.
Center pivot rubber tire 2 1/2 yard loader - Example: Case 621, Cat 936.
Small tractor with a small front bucket and a landscaping box on rear - Example: Case 480, 570, John Deere or Ford.
5 ton smooth drum roller. (The track should be rolled after everything has been raked and smoothed out.)
Lots of volunteer help to rake and shovel.
BMX Track Construction Estimates
(Remember prices vary from town to town)
DIRT: 2,000 to 2,500 yards. Ideally the track should be built above ground level. Is there existing dirt at the site or does it need to be purchased. The dirt should have a clay content. It should pack into a ball in your hand, but it should be fine enough to be raked with a hand rake. ($2-$4/yard = $4,000 to $12,500)
EQUIPMENT: PREFERRED EQUIPMENT: 2 1/2 yard
wheel loader, 480 Case with landscaping bucket box, 2-5 ton roller. ($3,000)
LUMBER: Enough to construct a registration/snack bar building about 10' x 20'.Afso, a scoring platform or 2 story tower (10' x 10'). These buildings should be finished on the inside. ($3000 - Registration building. $3000 -Tower: NOT MANDATORY)
ELECTRICITY: Is it available on the property or will it have to be brought in from the nearest access? You will probably need a 200 Amp power pole. A generator is an option. ($300-$500 for pole 7 Amp box only.)
WATER: Again, is it available on the property or does it have to be brought in from the nearest access? ($500)
STARTING GATE: 6' x 28' steel mesh gate. Currently no one manufactures gates for retail purposes, but they are fairly easy to have custom-made. One could also be available used from a dosed track elsewhere. If not, ABA has plans for construction. ($300 -used, $1200 -new)
GATE LIGHTS & RELEASE MECHANISM: Available from Shur Start (602) 786-9763. Fully computerized and voice recorded. includes starting lights and magnet. (Light box can be homemade.) ($1000)
P.A. SYSTEM: For announcing the races. The most popular basic set is the Realistic (Radio Shack) 20 Amp with microphone and at least 4 speakers. Of course, a more professional system can be installed. (Amp & mic -$100, Speakers -$40 each.)
1 ) A spectator fence; between the track and the spectators. ABA recommends it be 4' high. Chain link or more decorative fence such as a split rail or even a "homemade" version using PVC pipe as posts with nylon rope run through it. Whatever the preference, some sort of barrier should be erected.
2) A property fence; around the perimeter of the facility. At least 6' chain link will do. Should enclose the track and spectator area as well as any track buildings. Not entirely necessary for parking areas.
3) Some ABA tracks exist in public parks with no fencing. It can, of course, help with limiting liability. ABA insurance will cover any sanctioned track regardless of the fencing issue.
Fencing can be purchased either new or used. Another consideration is rental fence which is the type used most often at construction sites. ($1600- $4000)
TRACK LIGHTING: Obviously, lights are mandatory for night racing. Night racing allows a track to escape the heat of day in warm weather and makes weekday racing or practice possible. You should, at least, have some type of night security light, mounted on either a building or pole. Used lighting can be found at economical prices. Check with school districts, Park and Recreation departments or salvage yards. ($3000 -$7000)
BLEACHERS: Although not mandatory, they help complete a BMX facility. Bleachers can be aluminum or steel framed with wood seating. 2 -10 sets would be sufficient depending on the usual size of your crowds in attendance. Each set should seat about 50 people and should not exceed 5 rows in height which eliminates the need for railings and stairways. ($700 set)
RESTROOMS: If no onsite restrooms are available, rental of 2 (1 men's & 1 women's) Port-A-Johns is sufficient. Keep in mind, however, that for larger crowds there will be a greater need for these facilities. (Check for monthly rental cost.)
*Again, these are all estimated costs and not every track will use all the items listed. Many of these items can be attained through donations from local merchants, so be sure to exhaust all avenues in this regard before making any retail purchases.
Reference: American Bicycle Association, PO Box 718, Chandler, AZ 85244
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