More than 3,000 BMX Supercross cyclists representing 40 counties are expected to come to Rock Hill – in 2017.
The city announced Thursday that Union Cycliste Internationale, the governing body for cycling competitions, will bring its 2017 World Championship to the Novant Health BMX Supercross track.
"This is like hitting a home run in the first time at bat," said Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols. More details on the announcement are scheduled to be released by the city on Friday.
The track at the city’s outdoor center in Riverwalk is still under construction and should be finished by August. The first official event slated for the new track is in October when USA BMX brings its 2014 Gold Cup Finals East to Rock Hill.
Rock Hill officials designed the track with the idea of attracting national and international competition, but also to serve as place for children to learn how to cycle, Echols said.
To manage the facility the city has hired Mike King, a former pro racer and member of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
King is from Chula Vista, Calif. He served as the U.S. Olympic Cycling BMX program director for the 2012 London Games and the 2008 Beijing Games, when BMX was introduced as an Olympic sport. King was unavailable for comment Thursday.
Rock Hill’s track has two different starting gates, a 5-meter tall amateur ramp and a 8-meter-tall elite ramp.
Echols said the economic impact of an international event "will be huge. They will be staying everywhere and television is almost a certainty."
Global SX Events, which runs the BMX Supercross World Cup races, estimated that economic impact per visitor is about $1,000 based on a five-day stay.