If you're new to BMX racing, there's probably lots of things you're keen to know more about....

It's possible that you're hearing words like 'NQM', 'UCI' and 'Sprockets' being bandied around, not to mention all the terminology relating to BMX bikes themselves (what is a "bottom bracket" anyway?).

You may be confused over how the National Championships work, or what the 'Elite' class is, or who's allowed to ride in it.

On this page, we hope to strip away some of the mysterious sounding words, and break it all down into simple-to-understand explanations of how BMX racing works in New Zealand.

Let's start with BMX competition itself.


We're not going to bore you with technical UCI meeting classifications, because in all honesty, the UCI meeting classification doesn't matter to most riders (it's more for organisational and permitting reasons than anything else), so we're going to group meetings into three levels for you.

Level 1: Club Nights

Level 2: Calander Meets

Level 3: NQMs and Major Events

OK, so that's the different race meetings out of the way, what ones can I race at?

To race at a club meeting (Level 1) you can generally get 3 club nights free then you need to become a member of BMXNZ and the Waitākere BMX Club. Beyond that, you don't need anything special, just a bike and some safety gear. Clubs are easy-going, and if they aren't, they should be. It's all about rider enjoyment at the club level.

To race at levels 2 and 3 (as described above) you'll need a Sprocket or Challenge BMXNZ licence.


If you want to race at meetings that are at Levels 2 or 3 (as described above), you're going to need a Sprocket or Challenge BMXNZ racing licence. Sounds scary right? Don't worry, you don't have to sit a test. In fact, all you have to do to get a BMXNZ racing licence, is fill out a few forms, and pay some money.

It's actually very easy getting a BMXNZ licence in New Zealand. When you join a club, part of the club fee goes towards getting your BMXNZ licence. So when you join a club, they handle your licence documents for you - you have to fill them out, but the club sends them to BMXNZ on your behalf. Simple huh?

Racing licences cost between $75 for under 7 year old riders, and $120 for riders 8 years old and over.

A racing licence lasts you one calendar year from the 1st of January through to the 31st of December. That's actually a bit of a pain for us here in New Zealand, because our season takes place over summer, which means that come December every year - right in the middle of our season - you have to re-apply for your licence. That's the UCI rules, so that's what we do...... (silly really, but that's the way we do it).

​​​​​​​Now that you know about licences, let's take a brief look at the bikes you can ride....


Yep, that's right, you can actually choose what size bike you want to ride, or you can do what some riders do, and ride both types of bike from time to time.

In BMX racing competition, there are two different wheel sizes of bike available;

20" Diameter Wheels

24" Diameter Wheels (Cruiser)

Generally speaking, Cruiser bikes and 20-inch bikes don't compete in the same classes, but there can be the occasional exception. At race meets in the Northern Region both the Northern Region Race Series (NRRS) and the Crank-it Series allows for either Cruisers or 20" bikes to be ridden.


In New Zealand, there are several different racing series that you can become involved with, or you can just race at the club level and have fun that way. The topic of race classes can seem a little complicated, so I'll try to explain it simply.

Striders: Bikes without Pedals

Sprockets: Young Participation Classes

Challenge: Age-group Classes

Championship: Junior, Under 23 & Elite Classes

Special Classes: Crank-It Series, ....


I hear you saying "So how can I race at Worlds?".

The process and criteria to qualify for the UCI BMX World Championships depends on whether you are a Challenge (amateur) rider or a Championship (Elite, U23, Junior Elite) rider.  


To ride at Worlds for NZ you must be a NZ citizen and then you can qualify by finishing in the top 8 at the BMXNZ National Champs either the year of the Worlds event or the year prior. An alternative pathway is by applying for a wild card entry through BMXNZ when entries open, typically May or March if in an Olympic year.

Standard 20-Inch age group categories for Worlds are as follows: 

ages: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

ages: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

ages: 17-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35+ and Masters 30+

ages: 17-24, 25+ and Masters 30+

​​​​​​​Cruiser 24-Inch age group categories for Worlds are as follows: 

Boysages: 8-12, 13-14, 15-16

Girlsages: 8-12, 13-16

Menages: 17-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50+

Womenages: 17-29, 30-39, 40+

The above informations is from 2024 and the requirements for NZ riders competing at Worlds in Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA. For each iteration of Worlds these details may change so it pays to check with BMXNZ for the latest information.