The Dutch Federation Pull Riders from the 2022 European Championships

The Dutch Federation Pull Riders from the 2022 European Championships

With two weeks to go until the 2022 UEC European BMX Championship in Dessel, Belgium, the Dutch Cycling Federation, KNWU, has pulled all their riders aged 15 years and older from the competition due to safety concerns after a track inspection. You can read the full release as emailed to both Dessel BMX and all Dutch riders 15 years and older below, but in essence they are saying the Dessel BMX track does not conform to UCI standards and therefore is unsafe for faster riders. This also includes Championship Class/Elite riders. We estimate that this will affect in the region of 150-200 Dutch riders.

The KNWU are not completely shutting the door on the Dutch participation and are requesting the UEC allow Dutch riders enter themselves, with their own insurance, if they so wish. As of yet we are not sure if the UEC will accept this, but a number of Dutch riders have confirmed to us that, unfortunately, they will not be in attendance …

Director of Dessel BMX, Frank Smets, implied that something may be in the works to rectify the situation in an Instagram post but as of yet it is unclear what, if anything, that is All my love for the Dutch riders 15 and over, I’m praying for all of you that you can race in two weeks, I’m sure there is a solution coming.’ Clearly, it’s too late to modify the track to the extent the Dutch would like but fingers crossed something can be worked out.

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KNWU communication 24th June 2022

‘Hi BMXer,

Unfortunately, we have to inform you that we as KNWU have decided to cancel all participants from 15 years and older for the European Championships BMX from July 9th in Dessel. This is a tough decision but after several mails back and forth with the UEC we have decided to take this decision because we are of the opinion that this track as we have experienced and measured it the last weeks is not suitable for the current BMX riders of 15 years and older.

We are of the opinion that the BMX sport has developed so much in recent years that some tracks are no longer suitable for the speeds the riders develop nowadays. We have raised this issue with the UEC. The answer they gave us does not give us the confidence that the problems we pointed out will be solved in such a way that the races can be held safely at a top level.

The issues we raised were;

1: The landing area after the triple jump at the end of the first straight is 6,4 metres wide while the UCI rules require 8 metres width.

2: The middle of the first corner is only 7 metres wide.

3: The 2nd straight of the challenge goes after a jump in a width of 6,4m to 5,8m then 4,8m to finally end on a width of 4 metres where 6 metres is required.

4: The 2nd straight in the pro-section goes per jump from 6m to 4,8m and then to 4,2 meter

5: The 2nd and 3rd corners are fine.

6: The 3rd and last right-hand corner vary in width from 5.45m to 5.6m where 6 metres width is requested.

It is absolutely not our intention to measure all tracks against each other but during our visit to the track in Dessel we have asked ourselves if we can send our drivers here without worrying.

We also asked our insurance company to what extent we could be held liable for accidents during a race on a track abroad. They told us that if we have any doubt about the safety of the race but we do register the athletes, we can be held liable.

All this together made us decide to remove all riders aged 15 years and older from the list of participants. We deeply regret this decision and know that we will cause grief to many athletes and fans and, last but not least, cause problems for the club in Dessel. However, we felt we had to take this decision in order to send out a message that the time is over when we can just ignore the rules of BMX accommodations or just say that no big accidents have happened during the last few races and that according to Annex 5 of the UCI BMX Rulebook, one can deviate from the minimum dimensions as described.

Today we will send the riders 15 years and older a cancellation for participation in the European Championships and refund the entry fee.

The European Championships BMX 2022 will take place on the track in Dessel. We are going to ask the UEC if they will make it possible for Dutch riders who, despite our cancellation, still want to participate in this European Championship at their own risk, to register on the spot. However, we must inform you that you cannot claim on the insurance of the KNWU for this European Championship.

KNWU insurance as taken out for your license. You will therefore have to take out your own insurance.

Athletes under 15 years of age who, after reading the above, also no longer wish to participate in the European BMX Championships in Dessel can cancel their participation until Sunday evening, 26 June, 23.59 hrs.

We regret not being able to tell you anything else.’

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