BRITISH BMX HALL OF FAME UPDATE: Following our initial post a few weeks ago announcing the formation of a British BMX Hall of Fame, we would like to introduce you to the British BMX HOF Organising Committee who are currently working hard behind the scenes to make this event a reality:
ANDY RUFFELL: needs little introduction. At age 11, Andy saw the BMX episode of CHiPs and dreamed of one day being able to upgrade his Raleigh Grifter for the real thing. After working on a market stall and doing paper rounds 7 days a week, Andy was able to purchase his first BMX bike, a Mongoose Supergoose. Before BMX teams were a thing in the UK, Andy spent all of his spare time at Rom and Harrow skate parks and built a reputation as one of the best park riders in the UK, credited as one of the first UK BMX’ers to perfect aerial 360s and giant airs. In 1980, Andy joined the UK’s first BMX race team, Team Ace, won the first official BMX race in the UK, and was quickly snapped up by Ammaco Mongoose to become Mongoose’s first factory sponsored European rider. As BMX blew up in the UK, Andy became the UK’s first BMX superstar, traveling the world racing and also putting on freestyle demos to huge crowds. With the sport at its peak, Andy signed the biggest BMX sponsorship contract in UK BMX history with industry giant, Raleigh Bicycles. Off the track, Andy developed a significant career in TV hosting BMX Beat, The Tizer Freestyle Championships and Kellogg’s BMX Championships on mainstream TV. Andy also founded and produced several BMX events, most notably, Holeshot, which attracted the top BMX and skateboard talent from all over the world.
MIKE WONG: is a first generation BMX’er who, after discovering issue #2 of Official BMX magazine in his local paper shop realized what he and his friends had been doing in the woods on their Raleigh Grifters for years had evolved into a sport called BMX. Mike’s Grifter was soon exchanged for a £99 Moto-One, and a lifelong love affair with all things BMX was sealed. Mike is a self-confessed BMX nerd/fan who fulfilled his BMX ambitions by starting his own bike company (Dialled Bikes and FTB BMX), designing bikes which have carried British BMX racers to numerous world, European and national titles, managing the Dialled Bikes and FTB race teams to multiple UK national team titles, and more recently moving to America to race in the USA BMX national and Gold Cup series’, and the USA BMX Race of Champions and Grand Nationals.
DARREN O’NEILL: shortly after acquiring a £40 petrol station BMX bike to replace his Raleigh Grifter, Darren saw something being built on the local wasteland where he and his friends used to ride and practice jumps. It was Cocksmoor BMX track! Darren started racing locally in 1983, and despite his family never owning a car, his Mom somehow managed to get him to every race he needed to be at. In 1987, Darren turned Superclass and represented numerous sponsors such as ASR, ELF, Edwardes Bike Shop, Kovachi, MRD and Sunn Premier in the UK and across Europe. Darren is a multi-time UK national/British Champs 01 title winner and also made podiums on the European race scene. Nowadays, Darren is a BMX dad to his son and daughter and is on the Board of Trustees at Redditch Skate Park.
DALE HOLMES: came across a copy of Official BMX Magazine at school in 1981 and shortly after began racing locally at Bunny’s track in Nottingham on his Raleigh Pro Burner. 1983 was Dale’s first full season of racing and BMX became a family affair with Dale and his sister Rachel travelling all over the UK chasing regional and national points. As Dale’s profile increased he attracted sponsors such as Bunny’s Bike Shop, Shenpar, JMC, Powerlite and Cyclecraft. Then, in the summer of 1988 at the age of 16, Dale made the move up to Superclass hoping to supplement his £28.50 weekly YTS wage and fulfill his ambition of BMX becoming his career. Heading into the 90s Dale began to race frequently in the USA and, after winning the UCI world title in 1996, made the switch Stateside permanent. Dale spent the next 10 years travelling the world representing GT, Nirve and Free Agent, also picking up another UCI world title in 2001, eventually moving into full time team management for Free Agent and working with BMX legend Kyle Bennett and 2 x Olympic Champion, Maris Strombergs. Dale’s BMX career has now come full circle, racing for fun in Vans on flat pedals, and giving back to the sport by running a number of grassroots school and camp programs for the next generation of BMX’ers.
Updates on Date/Venue of the inaugural event and the British BMX Hall of Fame Selection Panel to follow shortly.