EAGLE — It started as a mound of dirt on an empty patch of land four years ago. Now Eagle’s BMX track is bringing about 200 people to town on Saturday for a state-qualifying bike race.
“We’re super excited to have all these people coming here from all over the state,” said Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick. “I’ve seen a bunch of promotions for hotels and things. This whole BMX park has been a great grass-roots effort that started with local families.”
Saturday’s race includes several divisions, spanning all ages. Anyone is welcome to compete as long as the rider has a bike and helmet. Saturday’s registration costs $25 and is from 10:30 to 12:30 at the track, which is next to the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink on 1700 Bull Pasture Road. Competition starts at 1:30 p.m.
Track operator Jay Lucas said the course has hosted a state-sanctioned race every year since it opened four years ago.
“Last year we had 172 racers and about 150 of them came from different parts of Colorado,” he said. “I think we’ll see more people this year because the regulations have been changed, and people now have to compete in four sanctioned races instead of three to qualify for state.”
The state championship is Aug. 24-25 in Grand Junction.
Lucas said riders can enter any race at any time but they won’t be contenders for the coveted No. 1 race number plate if they don’t enter at least four sanctioned races before the championship.
“There are 10 race plates that denote your ranking,” Lucas said. “You earn points through the season and get a plate if you’re in the top 10. Everyone is going after No. 1 — the fastest and the baddest.”
Local BMX contenders
There are currently three locals with a top-five ranking in their divisions. Jona Ziggler, 13, is No. 1 in the expert 24-inch wheel class and No. 2 in the expert 20-inch class. Kiowa Richardson, 16, is No. 3 in the intermediate 20-inch class. Bjorn Bredson, 17, is No. 4 in the intermediate 20-inch class.
“We have more riders who are in the top 10,” Lucas said.
A rider can’t just sign up to race in the intermediate or expert class, either. You have to earn your way into each division.
“You start in the novice division and you have to win eight races to move up to intermediate, then 20 wins to enter the expert class,” Lucas said. “It takes a lot of time and dedication to reach that level.”
Lucas said people come to Eagle’s race from a wide range of places, including Durango, Cortez, Colorado Springs and Denver. The winners will take home tall, shiny trophies and the rest of the entry fees will go toward track maintenance and operations.
“This has been a great partnership between the town of Eagle, Eagle County BMX and the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District,” Kostick said. “Also, this wouldn’t have been possible without Purchase Development donating the dirt for the track and the Eagle Public Works staff who built the track.”
Kostick said many of Saturday’s visitors will likely take an interest in the new Haymeadow Trail, which is being built near the BMX track for the Colorado High School Cycling League Championship, set for Oct. 18-20.
“We’ll have a grand opening for the trail soon,” he said.