BMX riders make plea to remove PAL's control over Santa Clara racetrack

BMX riders and their parents gathered at the Santa Clara City Council meeting Tuesday night, asking the city to deny the Police Activities League control over the BMX track. 

Santa Clara BMX riders and PAL say they’re committed to keeping the racetrack sanctioned but without a partnership with USA BMX, competing there is in jeopardy. 

"City Council has an opportunity to I think stick with their mission which is to try to increase sport for the kids. Or it’s an opportunity to regress it back to probably where it was in the late 90s,." said Jason Perkins, whose son Chase is a competitive BMX rider.   

Santa Clara Police Activities League or PAL has been operating this BMX racetrack for nearly 25 years and on multiple occasions, it’s been the #1 racetrack in the country. Now some riders and their parents are asking the city to allow USA BMX to manage it. 

"We’re not allowed to hold events if we can’t keep the sanction at Santa Clara BMX track and I don’t want that for my children because they really love the sport. It’s taking a huge toll on myself and my family and I know many other riders as well who have to travel well over an hour to get to a race track," said  Shpresh Head, a mom of four.  

Because PAL doesn’t have an agreement with USA BMX, Santa Clara riders can’t officially qualify for competition on their home track. The racetrack was also shut down last month after PAL discovered volunteers were not keeping standard accounting practices. After obtaining the necessary insurance, PAL says the track will reopen Tuesday, May 31st.  

"USA BMX would like to just take the track and fully operate it and PAL does not want to do that. We want to do it the way we’ve been doing it since 1998, since we’ve been sanctioned. Where we operate the track and they are the sanctioning body just like they do for over 300 other tracks throughout the nation," said Mike Walke, Santa Clara PAL Exec Board Pres.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, BMX riders made their case to the council. 

"I’ve been sad since they closed the track because I miss racing," said BMX rider Mia. 

"I need this track open under USA BMX sanction in order to get myself ready for world and try to make State One again," said Chase, who's planning a trip to France to compete. 

People on both sides of this debate made their voices heard but the Council didn't make a final decision about the racetrack Tuesday night, so for now the racetrack will remain a practice facility.