If you have 5 top finishes in a race season you are required to move up. If you don't, you can stay in beginner as long as you want. There were sandbaggers in our beginner class last year. It is not up to the race director to move people into a higher class. It is self regulated by the racers. If no one objects to a guy sandbagging he will be allowed to do it. I learned the rules as theyear went on and as you get to know peoples names. By checking past race results you can tell if a person is a legitimate beginner or not. Thats the official system on whether a person is a sandbagger or not. I believe that the beginner class should be for beginners. Once you have raced a season or say 5 races, then the next year, they should have an advanced beginner class. Then for that class the official rules should come into play. The top 2 guys in my class last year should have been in sport. They each had 5 top 5 finishes in the past. If I would have known about it, I would have called tham out and forced them to move up. Myself, I am still eligible as a beginner. If I race it this year, I will be contending for 1'st place every race. Whether I win or not will depend on other race variables like mechanicals, accidents... but I know how strong I am now compared to the riders last year and I know I will be doing very well if I go beginner. I want a bigger challenge so I am 95% certain I will be going for the Sport category. For this I will do twice the distance as the beginners and will be competing against riders more at my level. Thats if I keep riding and training. If I stop training, you lose your power pretty quick. Once you move up to the Sport level, you cannot return to Beginner.
FactorE.... there is usually a novice class, or first timers class at most of the races.
Either way anyone goes, Beginner or Sport, the races are a blast. I had a great time last year and am doing it again this year.
Trek8500- it doesn't matter whether you are NOrba registered or not. They actually encourage you to register.
There were guys I raced against that have been in the Beginner category for 5 years. They never win enough to move up. Usually in the 4 -9 places. It is competitive, You won't win unless you train.