Woodbridge BMX Action

July 22 — On an early Thursday evening with temperatures still in the 90s, some 50 BMX racers as well as a large contingent of their families and friends gathered at the NOVA BMX track at the Prince William County Stadium Complex off the Prince William County Parkway for an evening of racing.

BMX racers line up for practice Thursday, July 22 prior to an evening of races. From left to right, front: Ethan Howell, Brittany Ware and Joey Howell. Standing: Silvio da Silva Pinto, Lee Moses, and Romer Hurtado.

Everyone was sweating, regardless of whether or not they were racing, but everyone had smiles on their faces. Youngsters of all ages — from 5 years old on up — were here to try their best at racing around the undulating, curving track.

Cody Sharbaugh (rear) gains on Noah Koos during one of the races.

Kyle Ryan leads Dalton Viers as they come out of the first hairpin turn during one of the evening races.

Announcers called for the racers to line up as practice rounds got underway.

Racers always take several turns around the course prior to the official races starting to get a feel for the track.

Gabriel Perez heads through the dips in the track.

Nicolas Hurtado rips around the track.

One of the things practiced often was getting used to the countdown to the start of the race and the dropping of the starting gate. It takes a little finesse to balance at the gate with both feet on the pedals.

BMX racers get ready for a practice run Thursday, July 22 prior to an evening of races.

Amir Williams concentrates just before the starting gate goes down.

Nicolas Kincheloe heads around the track.

The NOVA BMX group is a welcoming bunch of volunteers who make riding a family affair and a joy for everyone involved. Paul Kincheloe is track director for the group, a very open and welcoming guy, and he says that anyone who wants to give BMX a try, regardless of age, can show up with a bike, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and they can get on the track and try it out.

“Any bike without a motor is fine,” says a chuckling Scott Sereduick, vice president of the Northern Virginia (NOVA) BMX parents’ board and rider representative for the track. NOVA BMX has full-face helmets (the kind that has a jaw protector) that they can loan to novice riders who arrive interested in giving the sport a try. These full-face helmets are a requirement. The first-timer can make some trial runs at no cost and get a feel for whether or not it’s something he or she has an interest in.

“Once you start coming more, we do ask that you join the National Bicycle League,” he says. “It’s a $50 a year fee, and that gives you your BMX license, your registration number, your plate number and gives you the ability to race.”

That fee also covers insurance. After that, there’s varying per-race charges, and gate practice nights on Wednesdays run $3. Other nights they don’t run the gates are free.

“Wednesdays, we’ll work with new kids, new adults, whoever starts,” says Mr. Sereduick, “in the gate, teach them how to balance.”

Any of the experienced riders also are happy to help the newcomers.

Ryan Trotman whizzes around the track Thursday, July 22, at Prince William County's NOVA BMX track in Woodbridge.

Brenden Ware, riding Ripper Jr., concentrates on the track ahead.

The track currently is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 5 pm till dusk, and Sundays from noon to 3 pm. Wednesdays are “gate practice” days, where riders will line up at the starting gate as if they are racing and practice their start techniques to get used to the announcer calls and the gate dropping. That’s also the best night for beginners to come to the track to be sure that someone will be there to help them and answer questions. “Any one of those days you can come in, ride the track, get a feel for the track”, says Mr. Sereduick. “On Wednesdays or race nights, is the best time if you have questions because rider reps are here, the track director’s here, [I’m] here — a lot more of the experienced riders are here. All of these riders will help any new rider.”

Shonell Moses and Paul Kincheloe relax after an event and rest up as they wait for the next series of races to begin.

On the backside of the starting gate, racers mingle and get ready to line up for the next run.

A helmet hangs at the ready while riders relax during a break in the action.

At the start of Thursday's races, Lee Moses stands by, ready to carry the American flag around the track to signal the start of the night's racing.

Racers get ready to follow Lee Moses carrying the American flag around the track for the first lap.

Riders speed around one of the track's hairpin turns.

This young biker casts a shadow as he heads down the dirt track.

Check the NOVA BMX website (http://www.novabmx.org/) for the latest information, updates, track conditions and schedule changes. They also have a page on Facebook.


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