BMX has quite a distinction of being an individual sport. “No one sits on the bench” is a popular recruitment slogan. So why are there so many teams?
The basic concept of BMX teams in the beginning was sponsor driven, to promote and advance companies and hopefully to help promote and advance the rider and the sport of BMX. Over the years smaller family and track based teams have formed. Smaller companies have created their own teams and teams have even formed by common interests. And although USA BMX has a strong handle on regulating almost all of BMX “the team” is not one of those areas.
So you want to be on a team? Of course you do! Teams create a BMX Family. You spend a lot of time with your team and if you travel hopefully your team travels also. A great team can help your rider build confidence, support the family with BMX education, mechanics, sponsorships, pit space to hang out and help you when you might be late for registration. But how do you know what team is right for your family?
There are several different types of teams and depending on your skill level, travel plans and budget you should try to be realistic on what type of team is right for you.
Track/Local Teams: These teams are awesome for riders who need a lot of attention and education at their local track. They may only travel to other tracks within 100 miles for State and Gold Cup races but you might find yourself alone if you decide to venture to a National or the Grands. Many of these teams still have some great sponsors supporting them. Allows Novice, Intermediate and Expert riders. Budget $ Not rostered with USA BMX.
Company Teams/ State Based: These teams are a little big bigger and many travel farther. You might have a big group at your local track or they could be all over the state you live in. You will get a greater variety of families and rider abilities. Many of the State Teams are part of a larger group of company based teams and it’s great to get the extra support when you travel to bigger races. However make sure you check on pit space policies and expectations before you sign up. Each team will have their own expectations and not every team will allow a local novice to sit with their Factory Team. Many of these teams require you to buy anything from just a jersey to a full on kit and bike. Know the cost and expectations before hand. Allows Novice, Intermediate and Expert riders. Budget $$ Maybe rostered with USA BMX only if competing at a National Level.
Trophy Teams: These teams are taking it up a notch. They usually have all of the above advantages but want to start to get competitive. Sometimes it means local series team sheets and sometimes the trophy division at a USA BMX National. You should expect a pit space at the big races and you have advanced beyond needing a ton of extra help to being the family that helps others. Still allows Novice (usually a sibling), Intermediate and Expert riders. Budget $$ Maybe rostered with USA BMX only if competing at a National Level.
Bike Shop Team: Now we are getting competitive here. A true Bike Shop Team is rostered with USA BMX and should have rider contracts to sign. If you decide to leave your contracted team there is a 45 day waiting period per USA BMX before you can be rostered with another team. The disadvantage is that you may not have local support if you do not live by your team hub. The advantage is you should have some good pit space and support at big races including the Grands. You might even be able to do a parade lap at a National if your team wins the USA BMX Team Sheet the previous day. Are you getting free stuff and have all of your races paid for? Possibly but not likely. Your team should expect that you are regularly making the mains or winning at National Events. Still allows Novice (only if a sibling), Intermediate and Expert riders. Budget $$$ Rostered with USA BMX
Factory Team: Now I know this term is put on jerseys all over the country, but there are only about 25 true Factory Teams competing. For the rostered Factory Teams competing for team standing through USA BMX you CAN ONLY BE AN EXPERT. This is a long standing rule, and if you leave a team you are contracted with there is a 125 day waiting period before you can be rostered with another team. Factory Teams expect that you are a top 10 NAG rider. Yes you need a grey plate. They expect that you are regularly making podium finishes at National Events and that you are doing some major traveling. Budgets for Factory Teams vary but you can expect sponsor parts and gear, a race frame and some entry fees paid. Is it all free? Not likely. You are usually expected to pay for travel etc. You should definitely expect a pit space at Nationals and Grands. You may not be getting the support locally but at this level it’s time for you to support others and help promote the sport of BMX. Allows Expert riders ONLY. Budget Varies. Rostered with USA BMX
With all that said the biggest and most important consideration for any team you are looking to join is compatibility, workability and of course fun!