BMX tracks collaborate for 2024 events

Hagadone News Network | May 8, 2024 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — BMX tracks across the country have been preparing over the past month for the opening of their respective seasons, including tracks in Moses Lake and Spokane. 

“We worked hard through the off-season, meeting a couple of times a month to get prepared for the season,” Moses Lake BMX Track Operator Jeff Niehenke said. “We’ve really focused on some more marketing – we’ve got an awesome marketing team now, and trying to bring more people to the track and make more people aware of the track.”

After a few weeks of local races, in mid-May both BMX tracks in Spokane and Moses Lake will be hosting their state races on back-to-back days – Spokane hosts its state race on May 11, while Moses Lake hosts its state race May 12.

“We believe it’s a really good fit for us, partnering with them, because we’re about an hour-and-a-half apart,” Niehenke said. “Spokane also has the state finals this year, so we’re really looking for a big turnout there. It’s a track for us to partner with on these big races, so we can bring participants in and hopefully lodge them in Moses Lake. They can use that as the center point for a lot of travelers.”

Matt Gallagher, the first-year track operator for Spokane BMX, said he’s noticed an uptick in collaboration between tracks across the state in the previous years. 

“One of the things I have noticed in the last few years is there’s been a big change in how the Washington tracks have seen how everything goes, and it’s more of a working together and collaboration rather than competing against each other to try and win state finals,” Gallagher said. 

The state races aren’t the only collaboration scheduled between BMX tracks in Eastern Washington this season; in August, Moses Lake BMX, Spokane BMX, Walla Walla BMX and Columbia Basin BMX will all get together for the Eastern Washington Race for Life Series. Last year, the series raised just under $18,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“I’m expecting us to far exceed that number from last year,” Niehenke said. “We’ve got more awareness on it. We also, all the tracks this year have a double-point standing for that race – so we’ll draw more riders in for it as well.”

Moses Lake BMX launched a Riders League program this spring, a six-week course that introduces new riders to the sport. Those involved in the league, targeted for new riders, race against one another rather than those at a higher experience level. The league features instruction from two sanctioned USA BMX coaches – Niehenke and Chuck Hurlbert.

Niehenke said the Racing League had 18 riders turn out in its inaugural season, which he said was a “fantastic start.”

“The first part of it was getting a hold of the rental bikes and rental helmets that we offer up to the brand new riders for that six-week program,” Niehenke said. “... It’s a really powerful introduction to the sport that baby-steps the riders into it.”

Spokane BMX has plenty of notable events as well; the track will be hosting a vintage bike show, the state finals and the Gold Cup finals toward the end of the summer.

“This is an ambitious year for a first year as a (track operator),” Gallagher said. 

Ian Bivona may be reached via email at