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The City Journals

State champions crowned at Rad Canyon

Oct 05, 2021 10:19AM ● By Greg James

More than 200 riders competed in the state BMX finals at Rad Canyon BMX in West Jordan. (Greg James/City Journals)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

BMX racing in Salt Lake is a family sport that has seen an increase in participants over the last year.

Racers as young as 3 took to the track at a national event in July and at the state finals in September.

“I started racing when I was 10,” 2017 world champion Todd Parry said. “I have seen three-generation riders on the track: grandpa, grandma, son, daughter, grandson and granddaughter. Tell me another sport that the entire family can compete on the same track the same weekend.”

Rad Canyon BMX track in West Jordan has become a nationally renowned facility.

The finals held Sept. 11 boasted 260 riders and 64 motos (races), the most since 2017 at the facility. The two-day event crowned champions over several age groups and skill levels. 

While not the last race of the year at the outdoor facility, it does indicate a transition point to the indoor season. 

“I have loved BMX racing,” Parry said. “It is not like a team sport where you have to be there on game night and practice night. You can race as much as you want. If you want to go on vacation with the family, you can. You also progress on your own. When I get in the gate, it doesn’t matter who my sponsor is or who my dad or brother is, no politics. Whoever gets to the stripe is the winner. The coach does not decide if you are going to play or not. You can take it as far as you want to.”

Winners of the 2021 state finals included riders from across the state. Some of the season championships were decided by only a few points. 

“It was exciting to watch,” Rad Canyon officials said in unison. ”The competitiveness and camaraderie was just awe-inspring.” 

“We are spoiled to have Rad Canyon,” Parry said. “It is a top-notch track, and that is why we have national events here.”

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

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

Knox Perkins of Sandy won the 9-year-old expert division.

“I have traveled all over the country racing,” he said. “I think winning makes it fun.”

Knox will spend approximately $20,000 this season on travel expenses, equipment and event fees. He raced in Belgium at the BMX world championships. 

“This is a great track, my home track,” Knox said. “I encourage my friends to try it out.” 

Rad Canyon races one night a week with multiple practice nights available. It will transition to indoor racing in October and begin outdoor racing again next April. The track is staffed by volunteers, including officials, snack bar, starting gate, staging and scoring.