Runnymeade Rockets BMX


Runnymeade Rockets Track Chertsey Surrey during the mid 80s designed by British Champions, Tim O’Shea & Marcus Rich. At the time, this track was one of the more technical and challenging in the UK with a long, first straight and a peaky-first speed jump up to a 15ft double into the first, big wide-open 180 or “The Wall”, as it was called. The second straight, consisted of a technical step-up with the key to catch backside to set yourself up for another wide-open 180 into a tall camel jump. Last turn, another wide-open 180 turn into a long, last straight with a table-top followed by triples to the finish line.

Even though, now looking back and seeing this diagram, the track was basic but what I did like was the wide-open turns where so many moves were made. If a rider went on the inside to protect his/her line, the rider behind could rail the turns and make passes on the straights with better exit speed. The key to this track was to keep your momentum but with the wide-open turns, so many riders would dive, which kept it interesting. It’s good to see, Runnymeade, finally got an upgrade this year and that the racing is flourishing once again like it was in the 80s. The 1988 NBMXA National Finals itself has a lot of British race history, as the last ever, NBMXA National, before merging with UKBMX to form EBA in 1989. A rider on a Raleigh Grifter, ( Gary Morgan ), also made history racing and winning the 17 plus category and this event also marked the last Pro-Class event before the Pros merged back in with the Superclass and new era of racing for money in the UK for the future.

1986 NBMXA National Champions

Pro Tim March

17+ Darrin Stock, 16 David Morris, 15 Sean Field, 14 Neal Wood, 13 Geremy Kenning, 12 Lee Pickstone, 11 Dylan Clayton, 10 Karl Moult, 9 Simon Jones, 8 David Maw, 7 Chris Hyde, 6 Stu Wilson, 5 Dale Masterman

13-15 Cruiser Paul Clarkson, 16+ Cruiser Darrin Stock, 25+ Cruiser Phil Turner,  35+ Cruiser John Terry

5-7 Girls Claire Buckinger,  8-9 Girls Donna Hoffman, 10-11 Girls Linsey Smale, 12-13 Girls Lisa Wright, 14+ Girls Sarah-Jane Nichols

The UK’s first World Champion Louis Mears

The first World Championships to hit European soil goes back to 1983 in Holland, which was under the IBMXF umbrella at the time before merging into the UCI that’s now known as the world governing body for all of cycling. The event was a huge success for its first outing – outside the US, held in Ponypark, Slagharen and organized by Gerrit Does and the Royal Dutch Cycling Federation (K.N.W.U.).

With over 1000 entries, 15,000 spectators over the 2 days of racing, and broadcasted on National TV, it was the first time the majority of the top riders from the the UK got to stack-up against the best riders in the World. Including riders from GT, Kuwahara, JMC and Hutch all U.S. Teams who had flown over for the race.

Even though it was a World Championships there were two classes offered to race; Expert and Juniors. With a lot of the UK’s top riders at the time who were still fairly new to the sport, they decided to go the Junior route qualifying though a couple of events put on in the UK prior to the Worlds.

Up to this time, no British rider had won a World Championships title in any class previously but by the time the event was over, Diamond Back’s Louis Mears, was crowned Britian’s first official and only World Champion at the time winning the 7 year old Juniors class and backed it up with a 3rd in the Open class against the top expert riders.

Louis received the star treatment once back in the UK, he was plastered all over the BMX Magazines, appeared in the mainstream media including many TV appearances with a segment at the Westway Track in London riding with all of the locals that was broadcasted on the morning news.


Nathan Lunn

BMX was already in full-swing in the UK by 1984 with Magazines, TV coverage and healthy National Series events – UKBMX & NBMXA happening all over the country. It also seemed like a new, fresh breed of racing talent was appearing at the Nationals and gaining recognition in the magazines. Specifically, one being, Nathan Lunn, who was first spotted in BMX Action Bike Magazine riding a Torker rocking a Van’s jersey and slip-on shoes. By the time the 84 UKBMX Nationals got underway, Nathan had been upgraded to the Torker Factory Team and was looking to put a serious threat on the number 1 plate in a very tough age group with names like Danny Stabielli, Frazer Campell, Paul Ray and Jamie Staff. Nathan’s sister, Natalie also raced as did his older brother, Jason, who also rode for Torker before having a successful Freestyle career riding for the notable, Raleigh Team during the Ruffell era. Nathan was known for his smooth riding style very similar to Dylan Clayton and we all know how good Dylan was. Nathan didn’t stick around very long it seemed by the end of the 86 season while riding for SE Nathan lost interest and hung it up. Still today, if you pick up any UK Magazines from the mid 80s or scroll around on the internet you will find so many awesome shots of Nathan who always had that fresh, stylish Factory look.


1986 UKBMX Rankings

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Superclass Tom Lynch 17 + Winnie Wright 16s Lee Alexander 15s Andy Welsh 14s Neal Wood, 13s Jeremy Kenning 12s Lee Pickstone 11s Dylan Clayton 10s Gary Bowman 9s Matt Boyle 8s David Maw 7s Gareth Blades 6s Johnathan Clarke 5s Daniel Worthington

Supergirls Karen Murphy 15 Girls Sarah Jane-Nichols 14 Girls Emma Crew 13 Girls Lisa Wright 12 Girls Caroline Coward 11 Girls Lynsey Smale 10 Girls Adele Croxon 9 Girls Donna Hoffman 8 Girls Lyndsey Gilmer 7 Girls Karen Johnson 6 Girls Natasha Sweeting 5 Girls Angela Robinson

35+ Cruiser Pete Dymott 25-34 Cruiser Frank Tennant 18-24 Cruiser Andy Brettle 16-17 Cruiser Darrin Stock 14-15 Cruiser Paul Clarkson 13 & Under Cruiser Anthony Revell



Simon Hayes

Always good to see BMX’ers continue to do good after their BMX days. Simon Hayes, was around the start of BMX in the early 80s in the UK riding for Kuwahara and Hutch racing Kelloggs TV series in 84/85 and even becoming the European Champion in 1985 in Barcelona, Spain. Simon went on to follow his Dad’s footsteps working in TV as a Sound Engineer working on many well-known TV shows and Films over the years including, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Les Miserables, which even won an Oscar for as part of the Team. Simon has still not forgotten his roots, as he’s a regular at various London tracks just riding for fun.

1983 Halfords’ NEC, Indoor Open BMX Championships

One of the most iconic events during the 80s in the UK has to be the 1983 Halfords’ Indoor Open BMX Championships held at the NEC in Birmingham. With entries from the majority of the top riders in both UKBMX and NBMXA it was one of the few events that was not for National points yet all the big names lined up on the gate. Bob Haro was flown in from the US, there was TV, the main-stream media was present, which was another huge step forward for the sport in the UK at the time. Channel 4 had a weekly TV bike program at the time called, “On Your Bike”, which was presented by Road and Tour de France commentator, Phil Liggitt. The show documented BMX numerous times during its air time putting out full-episodes on the Halfords NEC with insight and interviews with Bob Haro and Andy Ruffell. In the racing, Andy Ruffell was beaten in the 16 year old final by Redline’s Tony Slater with Tim March, sporting Skyway Graphite mags, took the 17 plus final over Sean Calvert and Malc Stapleton. Other winners throughout the age groups were, Ben Bishop, John Harding, Richard Hunt, Jason Crosby, John Greaves, Darren Page, Wayne Llewellyn, Kevin Hayes, Jason Maloney and Harvey Munkton. In the Freestyle event, Andy Ruffell took the win over Craig Campbell and Mike Pardon who were announced joint 2nd with Andy Preston in 4th.

John Greaves & Cliff Welley

1982 National Nottingham 9 year olds age group. #3 Ben Swift (Torker) #20 John Greaves (Mongoose) and #6 Cliff Welley (Kuwahara) around the first turn. John Greaves went onto become National Champion the same year while Cliff Welley became number 1 the following year in 83 with John also winning the NBMXA British Championships at Derby in 83. Cliff retired at the end of the 84 season with John calling it quits in 85. Picture taken from BMX Action Bike Magazine Aug 82.