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The City Journals

Rad canyon bmx track has become a premier facility

Sep 13, 2021 11:44AM ● By Greg James

The paved turns at Rad Canyon BMX track help riders maintain speed as they navigate the track. (Greg James/City Journals)

By Greg James |  [email protected] 

West Jordan is the home to Rad Canyon BMX track, one of the premier facilities in the country.

“This is my favorite track,” Rad Canyon pro racer Sophia Foresta said. “Everyone who comes here says they love it. It is just technical enough for a pro but yet good enough for a beginner.”

The track hosted the annual Great Salt Lake Nationals July 30–Aug. 1. The event boasted 899 unique riders from six countries and 31 states. This was the 30th consecutive year of the event (it was cancelled last season because of the pandemic).

In Saturday’s racing at the nationals event, they ran 229 motos (races), an increase of more than 30 from two years ago. The nationals event has a 30-year history in Salt Lake City and draws professional riders from all over the world.

“The interest has grown,” USA BMX Director of Nationals Race Operations Chris Luna said. “We have seen an increase in numbers in the last few years.”

Knox Perkins, Trey Vrotney, Isaac Larson, Matt Spencer Adrian Guzma, Makenna Wagner, Charlie Hartwell, Gaige Fotheringham, Payton Gleave, Paxton Mitchell, Ethan Hernandez and Charlie Giese were among the age group winners in Saturday's racing. 

Foresta finished fifth on Friday and seventh overall on Saturday. 

“I have felt good about my racing,” Foresta said. “It has been a rough few years for me mentally and physically. I have worked to overcome that and make it back to where I was.”

In her heat race No. 2 on Saturday, she trailed coming off turn three. Her never give up mentality pushed her past two other riders to the win.

“I have learned to push all the way to the end; it's not over ‘til the end,” she said. “I followed the other girls until I knew I had a shot and I made it happen.” 

Foresta was named Sports Illustrated high school athlete of the month as junior at Bingham High School in 2016. 

BMX racing made its Olympic debut in the 2008 Beijing games. Connor Fields from Las Vegas is a member of the national team and competed in the Tokyo Olympics. He was the defending gold medalist and suffered an injury in the semifinals race.

Rad Canyon opened in 1996 when it moved from its former location in Murray. The track has a large starting hill and an eight-position starting gate. It’s three paved turns lead to long straightways with a tabletop, roller and rhythm section. 

“This track is all volunteer,” Harmony Mitchell said. “It has a lot of parental involvement. The kids can ride the track for free if they help out. We try to give them some benefits.”

The summer racing season goes from May to October and has racing one night a week with practice times available. 

Its largest group of riders is the 5-and-under age group. 

“Anyone can show up and rent a bike if needed,” Mitchell said. “We have all of the equipment. My husband races, and now all of my kids do too.” 

Foresta offers classes for beginner riders as well as more seasoned veterans.

“I have taught young kids up to 70-year-olds at the track,” Foresta said. ‘This sport and track teach sportsmanship. I race against my friends and have learned to celebrate with them even when they beat me.”