BMX Grand National comes to Tulsa this weekend
BY MICHAEL OVERALL World Staff Writer
Thursday, November 22, 2012
11/22/12 at 5:15 AM
More than 3,500 BMX riders from 17 different countries will converge on Tulsa this holiday weekend for what fans call "the Greatest Race on Earth."
Expo Square will truck in 800 loads of dirt to host the annual BMX Grand National, the sport's most prestigious competition.
And more than 6,000 spectators will pump at least $10 million into the local economy, according to estimates from the Tulsa Sports Commission.
"We appreciate their decision to return to Tulsa every Thanksgiving," said Ray Hoyt, the commission's senior vice president.
"It's an awesome opportunity to see Olympic BMX riders compete."
The dirt track, built indoors specifically for this event, will stretch 1,050 feet long, including bumps, jumps, steeply banked turns and two "split" straightaways.
The biggest competitions will come Sunday afternoon, when the national No. 1 titles will be decided.
But spectators often prefer Saturday night's Pro Spectacular, featuring the best professional racers from around the world.
It's often described as the next-best-thing to Olympic BMX racing.
In fact, it will include several Olympic riders.
Practice sessions begin Thursday, with competition on Friday through Sunday.
Riders will compete in several different classes over the three-day event, with the ultimate goal of taking home a No. 1 bike plate.
Title chases will include several age groups in two different bike categories based on wheel size.
The Tulsa Sports Commission has hosted the event since 1997.
BMX Grand National highlights
Thursday: Practice sessions from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday: Race of Champions/ President's Cup competition starts at 7:30 a.m.
Saturday: Qualifying races start at 9 a.m. Pro Spectacular starts at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5 p.m.)
Sunday: Title chases begin at noon.
Original Print Headline: Best of BMX riders are in Tulsa for Grand National
Michael Overall 918-581-8383
Ron Jones, a transportation engineer for the BMX Grand National, packs down turns Wednesday in preparation for the annual BMX Grand National in the QuikTrip Center at Expo Square. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
Jason Miles of Eckert, Colo., a grounds worker for the BMX Grand National, smooths curves in the dirt Wednesday at the QuikTrip Center at Expo Square. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World