Not many riders had the chance to challenge or even beat Andy Ruffell during the 1983-85 years but one guy that did was Hutch’s, Simon Bailey from Doncaster. It was the 1984 NBMXA Nottingham Re-Run Nationals where basically the first scheduled Nottingham National of the year had ran out of day light during the semi finals so another date was set to finish up the meeting. The real challenge was getting everyone that had raced the first National to show up for the rescheduled one later in the year.
With Tim Match a no-show, the 17 plus main event looked like a breeze for Andy Ruffell against the NBMXA 17 plus regulars but Simon Bailey had other plans taking the win from start to finish with Ruffell 2nd and John Lee 3rd.
Bailey never went onto win a National number 1 plate but did win the NBMXA British Championships this same year at Derby dethroning NBMXA reigning Champ, Mark Cracknell, he also raced the 1985 Kelloggs series before retiring at the end of 85.
So many talented riders came out of London during the 80s in both Freestyle & Racing. Charlie Reynolds from South London was not only a talent on a bike but also a huge personality off the bike. If reality TV was around during these times, I could not think of a better candidate than Charlie to feature on any TV show. The ratings would have gone through the roof — he was that good.
There are so many legendary stories and quotes from the Charlie era, if you were around during these times then I’m sure you would of heard or saw the blacked-out BMW with a Boom-a-rang suited with a VIP bar and TV in the back seats. (remember this is the 80s ) Charlie pulling 360 over Wigan’s Kong Pro-Section Jump with Moon-Boots on, the huge Miami Vice Mobile phone and bum bag always full of cash, the huge 360 at the 1990 World Championships in France and who could not forget the 720s most of the time shirtless, with no helmet on.
Charlie was a showman but backed it up. Not many people could challenge Geth Shooter during his rise through the ranks, but Charlie battled and beat Geth on many occasions during their expert class days.
Charlie definitely hung up his helmet before his sell by date but always would make a few appearances over the years, win some races, bust out some 360s then be gone again.
The golden years of UKBMX racing was not just about Andy Ruffell, Tim March and all of the familiar names we saw at the races, on TV and read about in the magazines. Some other names off the track also helped make racing magical during the the 80s when the sport was growing at a fast pace. If you raced UKBMX and enjoyed to throw an elbow or go a little early on the gate, then chances are you ran into Chief Referee, Norman Darbyshire. Norman was a little intimidating if you ever saw him walking towards you at the finish line after a race – you’d take a deep breath – yet at the same time, he was always fair and respected all the riders with the decisions he made. He was a “ref” throughout the 80s and into the 90s both in the UK and on the international stage including European and World Championships races.
Sam Wood, pictured in the center, was not only Team manager to some of UK’s big Factory Teams including Skyway, Pro-Lite and Raleigh but also one of the best commentators ever to hold a microphone, even today. Sam had style not just in the Pits but also with his team set ups and was a huge crowd favorite on the mic every time he climbed in the tower. Every National with Sam’s commentary would be guaranteed with an electrical atmosphere. If you check out some National archives on youtube there is a good chance you will come across some of Sam’s great “one-liners” during the races. Anyone remember “Humongous” or Sam’s identifiable “put-on” Jamaican accent he would use when Winston Wright was out on the track! Sam also spent time as Chairman of UKBMX for a period of time and did a fine job at that as well along with being such a likable character on the UKBMX scene.
Vic Roberts ( pictured right ) like Sam was from London’s Region 9 and was one of the legendary UKBMX starters from the 80s with his slow-call ( compared to most starters ) yet precise & consistent dropping of the gate. And, how can you not remember those first words you would hear from Vic when you were lined up on the gate ready to go, “Set em’ up Lads”. Vic shared the starting duty at the Nationals with notables like; Les Slater, Brian Pickstone and Sonny Ives and also enjoyed the honor of being one of the official starters for the 1986 Slough World Championships.
David Duffield one of the key guys that brought BMX to the UK has sadly passed away. David was influential in Halford’s involvement in BMX in the early days with the Redditch Track and legendary events put on by Halford’s like the Anglo American Cup. David was also the TV commentator for the first Kelloggs in 1984 and numerous other BMX Shows that were televised in the early 80s.
Below was posted on the Redditch Premiers BMX Club Page.
UK BMX Pioneer and creator of the original Redditch BMX Track, David Duffield has sadly passed away at age 83 after a fall. David brought the sport of Bicycle Motorcross (BMX) to our shores when he was marketing manager at Halford’s Head Office in Redditch. He always said, “he knew it was going to work!” He played a big part in building the first BMX Track almost opposite the Halford’s Head Office off Icknield Street Drive, in Redditch. The first official BMX race took place on 30th of August 1980 at the Redditch BMX Track. National, regional and open races took place at the track with hundreds of children and young people using it every day.The Redditch BMX Track hosted the first International Anglo American races of 81 and 82- BMX was booming!!! David went on to become a legendary Eurosport Cycling Commentator covering races such as the Tour De France. We tracked David down and invited him to the Redditch BMX Tracks opening ceremony some 30 years later on 10th of July 2010. David left some memorabilia in the Club house for us. Thoughts go out to David’s family and friends. Thank you David and rest in peace x
If you were around in the UK race scene during the mid 80s through the 90s or read the UK magazines during that time then, no doubt, you’ll be familiar with Keith Duly. Keith, a Bexhill / Hastings local, was a top National racer during the latter part of the 80s but really made a name for himself during the King of Dirt Series at the National events. It really took off in the early 90s and along with other top racers at the time like Stephen & Martin Murray, Dylan Clayton, Kye Forte, Clive Gosling and so many others these guys could send it in the dirt comps then line up on the gate 10 minutes later and come home with silverware in both. Something that is pretty much unheard of these days.
Keith who rode for Mongoose — was kind of the UK’s version of Fuzzy Hall liked by everyone for his humbleness, radness and passion for the sport — Keith’s family was also heavily involved in the BMX/race scene. Keith’s Dad, Paddy, was a commentator at the Nationals and during the Backyard Jams time, the whole Duly’s home doors were wide-open and essentially turned into a hotel for bmxers from all over the World to crash during the weekend.
Today, Keith is using all of his experience, passion, industry connections and knowledge of BMX to give back to the sport and continue to do his part in grass roots and continually looks at new ways to bring kids into BMX with his, “Jim Dirt’s Jump Club” he’s been rolling. Check it out ( link below ) and enjoy the interview.
First up, how did the name Jim Dirt come about?
It was just a goofy name I used as a kid, when writing to Jive to buy stickers. It was never meant to stick.
How many years have you been involved in the sport?
Probably since 1983 or there-abouts.
Coming from Hastings, which has always had a big BMX community both Race & Freestyle, who were some of the locals that inspired you back in the early days and spots/tracks you rode?
I mainly rode Bexhill track and Sidley trails with people like Rat, David Bishop, Rob ‘Rekka’ Crouch, Thomas Hooper, Dan Highams, Ian Morris, Eastbourne crew, Boyley and Mercer to name a few. We rode Crowhurst alot, which still has the original vert ramp, dirt jumps with metal take-offs, floodlights. It’s unchanged to this day. Crowhurst had a mix of vert riders, skaters, trail riders and racers. Lots of people strapping mattresses to themselves learning flips and stuff.
If we weren’t racing then we used to go wherever Stu Dawkins (owner of Seventies Distribution) drove us in the Backyard Van. Ian brought a lot of energy to the scene. Mark Richards produced a series of films which indirectly show-cased our scene. People were always visiting from all over the world, I remember Hoffman riding Crowhurst and Mad Dog riding our local track for example.
It was cool being around Backyard Skates as it grew. I remember popping out of work during a lunch break once and seeing Jimmy Levan walking through WHSmith. Team Sano forgot to give Amos a lift home once, he’s still here in Hastings.
Who were your sponsors & supporters over the years?
Mongoose, GT, Vans, UGP, 2B, Backyard and a few free Jive plates back in the day. I only got the Mongoose and GT deals because Clive Gosling needed a wingman for the KODs. I was on Redline for a week.
These days old friends SOURCEBMX and 4Down help keep me and the Duly juniors supplied.
You were a huge part of the mid 90s KOD events that were held at the races that are still talked about today & were documented in the magazines at the time. What are your memories of these comps and the riders you competed with?
KODs were a blast. I won the UK KOD title three years running, not that anyone was counting, except me and maybe Bill Baggs who made the events happen.
Dylan Clayton, Neal Wood, Tony Fleming, Shawn Andrews, Paul Roberts, my homeboys Clive Gosling and Dave Bishop took part, Murray bros were regulars. Every now and then people like Simon Tabron, Scott Stevens and Ian Morris popped in to mix it up. There were usually a few locals who stepped up.
There was a very strict neon dress code and at some point in the series you had to do a nac-nac or a dual no-footer with the legendary Paul Roberts. I remember riders like Will Smyth, Dean Iddiols and Ian Fry being really influential dirt jumpers both at the race scene and the early KOD events. I guess Charlie Reynolds helped to ease dirt jumping events into race meetings in a way. Years later people finally realised that you didn’t have to wear a fanny-pack to pull a 360.
Alongside side Dirt Jumping you were also a successful racer. What were some of your best results over the years?
I won a couple of British Championships on my 24”. I made a 4th maybe 5th, at the Slough European Championship once on my 20”. Frank Brix still beat me even though his fanny pack got stuck in his back wheel. I haven’t said the words fanny-pack for years until now. I raced in Western Australia for a season, thanks to my old friend Peter Read, which was a highlight. But to be honest it was the Superclass dudes like Dylan, Dale, Geth and Neil etc who were redefining UK racing in my era.
Give us a little insight on who and what the LRP was all about.
LRP brothers include Tom Lynch, Daryl Gibbard, Carl ‘ Sex on Wheels’ Alford, Robbie Stobart, Clive Gosling, Steve Bardens, Stevie Pollard, Darren O’Neil, Manfred, Jon-E, our late buddy Ross Hill and Steve Bell was roped in for his mini-bus driving skills and general badass-ness. I got involved when Carl took me under his wing after I got fleeced for second at the Euro KOD. BMX is way more fun with the LRP.
It’s very rare to find racers that do more than race today. Why do you think this has changed since the 80s and 90s where so many riders like your self rode all aspects of BMX?
The Kellogg’s era got me hooked on racing and then it was the original S&M team who brought a fresh influence to the race scene just at the right time for me. I remember so many cool photos of riders not involved in the race scene like the Dirt Bros, John Povah and Taj which really influenced me.
The current SX guys are so skilled. They could kill stuff if they wanted to. I’m sure some reprobate will come along and shake up the current race scene again. I doubt if he or she will come from an Olympic training squad though.
You’re back in the race scene these days giving back to young riders on the grassroots front. Tell us about your Coaching and Jump Club and it looks like the revival of the Bexhill track and race scene.
I’ve always been around the sport helping out. But I was chatting to Ian Morris a few years back and he was talking about the importance of keeping BMX attainable and relevant for new riders. That was a bit of a trigger. Source guys were keen to support something new. I wanted my own boys Ike and Sonny to enjoy their BMXs with friends. More recently I broke a wrist and a rib last summer racing. I’m booked in for shoulder surgery soon. It just means I can devote more energy to JUMPCLUB whilst recouping. We’re aiming to have as much fun on BMXs as we can, racing, skate parks, road trips, whatever. We lucked out on the kids involved. We have a cool race team of local young underdogs, mostly beginners. We have UBR in Superclass men and Double 0 in Championship women. During the last transfer window we signed Mark Fisher, Blake Bros, Jon-E, Rob Stobart, Bishop and Gozza. Even Sex on Wheels formerly left Factory JMC to come ride with us. Skydiver Frazer ‘Mad-Air’ Wells joined our roster recently, he’s a handful.
At the moment we mainly run race and jump coaching locally at Bexhill Burners track, home of the Backyard Jams. 4Down previously lent us the Etnies park, now that’s gone. Currently we’re super excited about linking with the brand new SourcePark under Hastings seafront. The most incredible skate park I’ve ever seen, completely unique.
JumpClub is also an excuse to work collaboratively with creative friends, In the future we’ll have more stuff to buy. I’m hoping to do a decent youth event in the Summer. Do some cool stuff with Source. Get more kids from all over the UK involved somehow.
What are your views on today’s racing and the way the sport is going with the Olympics and SX tracks?
It’s rad, no doubt. I think racing had to get faster and bigger. SX is on a different level and it’s so good to watch. It would be cool if tracks could be designed to encourage more overtaking though. I was kinda hoping that tracks would stay dirt and start to evolve downhill to gain speed, rather than reply on hard surface and tarmac. But it’s up to the new generation of riders to influence their sport now. I think us older generation have a responsibility to help keep the sport rider run and to keep it on the rider’s terms. It needs to keep evolving.
What about grassroots racing?
Lots of local tracks have improved, regional racing is awesome. Martin Baxter and others are running a slick ship in our region, huge props to them. But there has been a lack of progress with real grassroots over the UK. There are a large number of kids who live near BMX tracks who have street BMXs, but the reality is that very few of these kids will ever actually race. Given more resources, clubs could try new ideas, like some sort of street league. Just simple opportunities for these beginners to race each other on normal street bikes, proper novice racing. Novice racing needs developing. The jump into racing is huge for most beginners.
Get the creative BMX companies back into racing and then think innovatively about how we can get more people racing and using tracks.
Being a Hastings local you witnessed the Backyard Jam years. What was your most memorable year and why?
All the early 90’s jams were memorable and a blur. I took it all for granted, having every BMX legend of the era just 100 yards from my house for an annual event. Having a house full of friends come visit, Joe Rich buying me a beer and Dave Clymer over the chasm were my highlights. Great memories of jumping every chasm, except the one where I bust my nut sack open in the warm-up.
I’d like to especially thank my homeboy Daryl Gibbard from Jolt for his time, and the local Burners posse who help every week and raise funds for the track. Thanks to Nicely for the website. I’m really looking forward to spending more time at the SourcePark, it’s a pleasure to be linked to these BMX good guys. As always thanks to JetBMX, United, Big Daddy Plates, Neil Hanvey, BMX.Photos, UBR, Double 0 and the JUMPCLUB regulars. Crowhurst Dennis, Steve Bardens and Mark Noble for helping me to blag this over the years. Shout to our boys Indri, Winnie, Boyley and Ross.
Images: Invert Magazine / Marcel Fernandes / Mark Richards
1984 Trevor Robinson wins the first-ever Pro-money Race in the UK – From the very start of racing in the UK in 1979 it wasn’t until March of 1984 before the first, official Pro-money event where the top riders lined-up for a chance to be part of British race history. The event was put on by Fred Hunter of Dronfield Demons and took place at the Derby Greyhound Stadium under the floodlights – classified as an open meeting, as the race was not eligible for National points in either UKBMX or NBMXA. A total of 650 riders turned out on a cold, wet March winter Sunday with the only absent, big names, being Andy Ruffell who was doing demos in Scotland and Tim March was a no show–rumored to have been recovering from a broken ankle or perhaps was still in the States training with Greg Hill and not ready to show his cards yet for the 84 season.
Not being a National event, it opened its doors for not only the top guys who would be racing the newly formed Superclass that coming season in UKBMX but also the top amateur riders in both NBMXA and UKBMX at the time had a chance to sign up and go for the money as well.
UKBMX number 1 in both the UK 15 and 16 age groups respectively, Craig Schofield and Martin Jose were in Derby for local sponsor, Raleigh, as was NBMXA British Champion GT’s, Scott Williams and Patterson’s, Gary O’Connor, who all had plans to stay with their amateur classes for the 84 season but wanted in on some prize money and experience with the big guys. Birmingham Wheel’s Big, Trev Robinson, was fresh back from winter training in the States with other notable top names from UKBMX including Mark White, Pat Robinson, Tony Slater, Pete Middleton and Jamie Vince.
On the NBMXA side you had Hutch’s, Simon Bailey, Cobra’s, Dale Goodwin and the 83 British Champion, Darren Bullock, from just up the road in Doncaster. By the time the gate dropped Sunday night for the final, Big Trevor Robinson powered from the outside lane to take the big win coupled with £100 in his pocket back to Birmingham. Scott Williams came in with an impressive 2nd earning £50 for his trouble with Faze 7’s, Tony Slater in 3rd and £25 for the final podium spot. It was cold, wet and dark by the time the money was handed out but at the same time, another piece of British BMX History had been made.
Pro Tim March, Andy Ruffell, Geth Shooter, Tony Holland, Jamie Vince, Craig Schofield, Nicky Matthews, Richard Thorner
17+ Marcus Rich, 16s David Morris,15s Andy Welsh, 14s Simon Blinkhorn, 13s Geremy Kenning, 12s Chris Bennett, 11s Mark Gleed, 10s Neil Huddart, 9s Matt Boyle, 8s David Maw, 7s Chris Hyde, 6s Stu Wilson, 5s Brad Anderson
13-15 Cruiser Paul Clakson, 16+ Cruiser Darrin Stock, 25-34 Cruiser Phil Turner, 35+ Cruiser John Johns
7& Under Girls Amy Dunn, 8-9 Girls Donna Hoffman, 10-11 Girls Lindsey Smale, 12-13 Girls Lisa Wright, 14+ Girls Sarah-Jane Nichols