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Racing to the finish line

Wednesday, May 15, 20131324 views

BMX bike racing is the newest Olympic sport, and for some West Valley residents, it has become a way for them to spend time together.

Hunter Schuman, 12, from West Valley, was invited last September to a BMX race by his neighbor, Caiston Scholes, 13. After one practice race, he was hooked.

“This is the greatest sport I have ever done,” Schuman said.

Scholes,  also from West Valley, started racing about six years ago. He currently races in the 13-year-old intermediate division. He had 13 wins last season.

Schumann races in the 12-year-old novice division. He won his first trophy in March.

Caiston won a race sliding on his head across the finish line.

“It was exciting. I raced when I was younger, and now this is where we spend our summers. Some riders are very experienced, and others are just beginning like Hunter. That is what makes it fun,” Nick Scholes, Caiston’s father said.

Caiston and Schuman race at Rad Canyon BMX race track located in South Jordan, 5200 West 9800 South. It is a Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation facility and USA BMX-sanctioned race track.

Rad Canyon has been recognized as the top track in the nation for rider participation. Approximately 400 athletes, ages 2 to 65, race annually at the track.

The typical race around the track lasts about 50 seconds. It is an off-road bicycle race on a groomed dirt course with jumps, banked corners and a finish line.

BMX racing offers three levels in each age group: novice, intermediate and expert. Every racer is expected to wear a helmet, long pants and long-sleeved shirt for safety.

The outdoor racing season runs from May to September. Races are held every Thursday evening starting at 7 p.m.

Red Canyon is scheduled to host the Great Salt Lake Nationals June 7-9. Racers from many of the western states will be attending.

“Anyone can come out and race with any type of equipment or experience,” Nick Scholes said.

BMX racing became a medal sport in the 2008 Beijing summer Olympics.

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