Tickets on SALE NOW at ukbmxhof.co.uk.
The 2023 British BMX Hall of Fame will take place this year at The National Conference Centre and Motorcycle Museum, Solihull on Saturday 11th November.
We are already in the thick of it with planning. We welcome everyone’s thoughts and comments, so feel free to engage with us via email or our Facebook and Instagram pages. We appreciate the feedback and the conversations and debates they generate.
One announcement we have is that Andy Ruffell will no longer be working with us on the Hall of Fame for 2023. We part on amicable terms and want to thank Andy for all of his work on last year’s Hall of Fame event. We all wish Andy the best of luck and success with his film and music industry projects.
We also welcome Daryl Gibbard as our lead design guru who will be in charge of all things HOF design related. Those of you who bought merchandise at last year’s event will already be familiar with Daryl’s work.
Right now we are considering the addition of a few more categories for 2023 and opening up the nominees from 8 in each category to 10, among a few other planned changes.
On the Freestyle side, we’ve teamed up with Will Smyth and DIG BMX Magazine plus some other soon to be revealed freestyle big hitters to have a more specialist selection group/panel in place for the freestyle categories. More to come on that in the near future.
We will also be adding more people to the general selection/voting panel who specialize in specific categories, including some of last year’s inductees.
A full update on our Organizing Committee and the selection panel is coming soon. Please feel free to continue to send thoughts, comments and input.
Dale, Mike and Darren.
In 1984 at the age of 16, Geth was picked up by Nottingham’s Bunnies Bikes GT. Geth was making a name for himself, but his real break-out came at the 1984 NBMXA National at Ribby Hall. Geth battled with GT Factory rider Scott Williams, and they both crashed out going for the win, but it was apparent there was a new sheriff in town. Geth ended the season as NBMXA National Champion. In 1985 Geth Joined the new Pro Class, he proved he was the real deal, by securing the No.2 pate behind Andy Ruffell, however, the real highlight was Geth’s historic win at the Kellogg’s TV Series against riders like Stu Thomsen and Harry Leary! In 1986 Geth broke his ankle mid-season in a skateboarding accident and today he’s still riding road bikes for Charity, so now, we are proud to welcome Geth Shooter into The British BMX Hall Of Fame!
Carole Gosling was born into the cycling world as her grandfather started the family’s bicycle business, Edwardes Cycles, in 1908. In fact, she lived above the family bicycle shop for the first ten years of her life and her grandfather, Harold, known as Jack, was a championship-winning track racer.
When BMX came along in the early 80s, Carole’s son Clive got his first BMX and shortly after they were racing at Buckmore Park, where Carole took her first job, taking the car park fees. She quickly moved into a role that she did for many years where she was one of the infamous UKBMX finish line ladies. Then in 1985, Carole was elected as treasurer of UKBMX which led her to becoming the European treasurer of IBMXF. Carole was instrumental in organizing the Slough World Champs from writing the moto sheets at 4 o’ clock in the morning, to boiling eggs for the VIP egg and cress sandwiches.
Carole integrated herself into the UCI when they absorbed IBMXF in the early 90s, becoming a commissaire and UK Team Manager at multiple World Championships. Carole was invited by the UCI to be the secretary of various UCI World Cups and when the 2012 Olympics came along, Carole was the UCI secretary to the event, authorizing the results after each race.
Apart from these great personal achievements, Carole is everyone’s favorite mum, helping many racers get to events all over the globe who needed a little help. The amount of time she spent at the foot of a west London tower block honking her horn and waiting for Winnie Wright to come down with his bike cannot be measured lightly!
Carole took a few years off when her mother was too poorly to be left alone but soon found herself helping out once again at events, and she can still be seen today working the start hill and generally being what everyone has come to know Carole for, being a consistent figure of stability and commitment to the sport that she, and we, all love.
Neil Ruffell started his BMX Career in racing in 1983, but that didn’t last long, after he spent many weekends at Rom Skatepark, he realized his true calling was Freestyle. His big break came when he joined the Skyway Freestyle team with Craig Campbell and traveled the world doing Freestyle shows and kicking his brother’s ass on the ramps. You could say he had a Love / Hate relationship with the British Freestyle Association in the mid-80s, being disqualified and courting controversy. But the truth was he was way more interested in doing legendary airs at Southsea King of The Skateparks comps and riding his legendary homemade ramps at Mission Grove in Walthamstow. At The Kellogg’s in 1985, he came 2nd to Ron Wilkerson then after a split with Skyway, Neil developed his own Freestyle Frame & Fork called the Holeshot RF1. Sadly, we lost Neil in 2004 but he will always be remembered as a true Pioneer of BMX Freestyle. We are proud to welcome Neil Ruffell into the British BMX Hall Of Fame.
Malcolm and Sue Jarvis are legends of our sport, and for good reason. It all started in 1978 when a friend mentioned this new thing called BMX in the states, within days Malcolm was on a plane to California and met with the Legendary Skip Hess, Scot Breithaupt and Bob Haro. Deals were done and one of the very first BMX tracks were built in Malcolm and Sue’s back garden for their 5 kids to ride on. By 1979 The Jarvis’s spent months posting BMX info to 400 media stations and the phone didn’t stop ringing. By 1980 Ammaco were bringing in 1000’s of Mongoose bikes, Sue Jarvis was managing and promoting the Mongoose Factory team.
Arguably the Mongoose Factory team can be called the greatest British BMX Team in history, with riders like, Andy Ruffell, Tim March, Craig Schofield, John and Steve Greaves, Wayne Llewellyn and dozens of other riders getting their first break on the team. British BMX thanks you Malcolm & Sue Jarvis and we are proud to welcome you to the British BMX Hall Of Fame!
Based out of Middlesbrough in the North East, Lisa Wright was one of the most dominant female riders of the late 80’s and early 90’s. She won every major title in the UK, winning multiple National titles in both UKBMX and NBMXA alongside British Championships the Winner of the Champion of Champions and the FIAC World Champion in 1988.
Lisa spent most of her career riding for the Titan Factory team and was best known for her ‘come from the back’ style to take multiple titles both home and abroad. Lisa had some incredible battles in the Supergirls class with former World Champion, Luli Adeyemo and together they took Supergirls racing to new heights moving into the 90s, paving the way for the next generation of Elite female riders.
Welcome to the British BMX Hall Of Fame – Lisa Wright!
My Story by Gary Morgan
The thing is my BMX story isn’t one story, like life it has many endings and then somehow starts again!
I was a latecomer to BMX by today’s measure, but always had a fascination with bikes, I had a Raleigh Chopper at 11. I was 13 when I got a Raleigh Grifter, far from what it would eventually become, but it got me started. There was little unused land in Blackpool, but my friends and I -the Grifter crew as we were called by the girls (sheepskin mob) at school – went to industrial estates and made jumps from pallets. At 14 the record of 7 Grifter bike lengths (10.5M) in 1979 off an 0.8M take of ramp, still proud of that 43 years on! LOL With BMX racing still 2 years away, it was car parks and streets mainly, and a partially abandoned railway station (South station today) which we made home with some jumps and a simple track for fun.
Around late 81 a group showed up on Puch Murry’s, they were the first BMX bikes I saw and we noticed the length and the weight. Local kids started talking about a BMX track at Ribby Hall, we never had a car but watched a BMX event on the TV with Tim March and Andy Ruffell competing on a poor track, but BMX had started! At the start of 82 the Grifter mob organized a trip to Chorley, it was dark when I left home for the 2-mile ride to the train station, followed by another ride to the track from Chorley station. We were laughed at by those with fancy bikes and when I asked to enter, the official said unless we could jump the doubles we could not race! So, I sent it and I sheared off the pedal arm completely! What a mess! Luckily, John Keen’s Dad offered me a lift home, welcome to 80’s BMX!
A local shop started selling upgrade parts for the Grifter and this helped to fix up and lighten our bikes. By late 82 I was noticed by a few parents who kindly helped me out with lifts and one was Chorley, still only having done a half lap on a track, an official said I couldn’t race in beginners because of some bullshit reason so I raced in Experts! I wish I had a picture of me 1 footing it out of the gate with sponsored riders around me! And then another picture of their faces when I smashed them all day long on a Grifter (priceless). I do remember one guy I raced was on the 80’s TV show that Barry Sheene hosted, he was jumping cars! Did ok too! 83 came and I had an opportunity to race a KX 125 and MX was where my heart was, but money would play its part as usual back then!
So now at 16 I ventured into MX! It started well, I went from the juniors through the seniors to become an expert in 6 events! Even made the newspapers as the fastest rise to expert, this was however when reality set in, the speed was not the problem, I had that covered, it was the need for parts and tires, at 16 earning 25 quid a week with 10 going to my mum and 5 quid for race entries plus transport and petrol on top! Despite top 5 finishes, 6 months and I was done!
Late 83 still no car. My mate Keith McGinley and I rode to Ribby Hall in winter for the Ribby series, one of the men to beat was a Future World Champ and Peugeot-sponsored Shaun Calvert, so we went head-to-head and I won all day (with a 46/16 gearing), the following week however Shaun owned me! He did say he was motivated for revenge! LOL, 84 so much for beginner’s luck at the Nottingham National (Bunney’s track). So the day went well and I easily qualified for the quarters, I remember my friends telling me my quarter was stacked! “So what” I said,“I have been in this position many times and fancy bikes and reputations never mattered!” I lined up with March, Ruffell, Slater, Lee someone I think from Raleigh and so on, just picture a new rider with literally a handful of races up against the 2 best guys in the UK plus others in their first National Quarter. So, I smoked them down the first straight and leading into the first corner, March just took us both out and the rest went by as I sat on the floor! What a wake-up call, these guys push hard.
Following my first national we were back to Ribby Hall, there was a massive 5ft Trophy up for first. Going for the lead in the main against Tony Hyre, I think (Factory Redline) the sole of my shoe came off! Bear traps and socks are not good, so second it was for me.
A great friend, Bob Douglas helped me out with lifts that year. I was on fire in 84, I think I won 90% of the regionals, but one stood out and I didn’t win it either! Sometimes things click and you just get it all right!
On a sunny afternoon under Barton bridge on the Manchester ship canal, I slipped off my pedals at the start in the main. I thought I had a massive points lead, last is just fine. But I saw GT’s Stuart Hickman’s dad waving and shouting “C’mon you can do it” I rode a hell of a lap to just miss out on the win. Now that moment was great but it was significant on more than a few occasions in my life, by chance, I met Julie Woodward (Factory Peugeot) who was smoking the lady’s classes, and her parents kindly offered to take me to some National races and one was the Peterborough National.
In moto 1 Simon Bailey (Factory Hutch) ran me off the track (it happens right) but it didn’t end there, we got through to the semi and Bailey had me to the first turn yet he wanted to bash my number plate as the field took off! So now we are both last, I get past him finishing 4th. Bailey is out and pissed. My mate Andy Perrins hears him plotting to throw stones at me in the first turn and goes to stand behind him just in case.
In the famous final, the gate drops, and I slip off again and this time sat on the crossbar, Andy sorts out Bailey who dropped the stones when he saw me last down the start hill. That click was back, all I can remember was going past Shaun Calvert for third on the back straight when he shouted “go on Gaz you can win”; if you read this Shaun I still get quite emotional remembering your words mate! So it’s the last straight now and I am in second with Factory Redline Tony Hyre in front, by the line it was mine!
The crowd was unreal, never experienced anything like it TBH, BMX Action Bike were taking pictures of my bike and people were asking me all about it! Crazy moment really.
So why a Grifter?
Well, it kind of wasn’t anymore, it slowly got shorter and ended up with Torker forks, Uni seat, Profiles, GT bars etc., but the one thing it always had over other BMX bikes was mild steel large-diameter tubing and it was stiff!
A bloke wanted me to buy his GT frame and said I could build it and try it so I did and it flexed a lot! I suppose I was in some ways ahead of the sport, as everyone wants stiff frames now, I saw this in 82! Honestly, my bike didn’t win any races, that was me but it was a reason I could win and I never felt at a disadvantage on it. Many laughed, as they did at Orbree and his washing machine world-record bike. Or, there’s Burt Monroe and his fastest Indian. Well, Gary Morgan rode his mild steel Raleigh Grifter to 20 Regional wins and 2 National wins, the Lancashire Evening Post Trophy, countless trophy dash wins, and many more!
I kept the frame of course, but sadly after renting my house it disappeared! I often think of that bike and how it’s different to my DK, but then it was made for the tracks of the day I suppose. So now its 1985 and I wanted to do it all, I raced the Wigan National and failed miserably, then after an average performance at the new 16+ regionals I went to the doctors only to find out I had glandular fever! I’d never heard of it either! But I was done for the year!
1986 came around and at 19 now, I was healthy with some money and the regional scene was great with semis at each round as the 15+ guys merged with us! They were quick lads indeed and included Colin Chester, Antony Fisher, Colin Blackburn, Kim Carbutt, the Barfords, Phil Henigan, Sean Calvert, Scott Williams, Trev Stamford, Mcginley, Kennedy, etc.
We battled all year until the final round!
It was a 3-way shoot-out for the series between Stamford (the Blackpool Bullet) Mcginley and myself. I took out the final and series with by far the best field I have ever raced with. Standout Nationals were Immingham where it flooded and the fire brigade pumped off the water. I finished second to Dave Barnsby (that lad could pedal through mud!) on literally a 1 line track!
Special mention to Darren Reidy’s Dad, Colin, for taking a few of us in his van, again down to money, we slept in the back on newspapers! He picked us up and dropped us off, many thanks to him for that. And of course, yet another battle with Charlie Reynolds at the Slough Superclass final, It was 10pm and I can’t even remember who took who out from first and second, but yet again I sat on the floor and watched them all go by!
Still no BMX track in Blackpool at this point, still made every National final though!
I took a year out in 87 as my family grew, we started renting which wasn’t cheap on a 20 YO’s salary. I became good friends with my biggest Blackpool rival, Trev Stamford.
For 88 we did a few events and I realised I had lost something, my life had moved on and I didn’t have the speed I once had or the will to get it back.
I remember a practice somewhere with Dylan Clayton, I thought he was supposed to be good so I jumped on the gate with him a few times and just got smoked. (You’re done I thought).
I never lost a race at the old Chorley during my 5 runs including my first-ever race!
So I went to a regional at the new Chorley, ‘who is this Kim Carbutt dude anyway?’ Everyone was talking! Yes, got smoked – not a great ride at all TBH! But wait, Tony Fleming and Trev Stamford convinced the organisers to run a Pro-Am as the Pro’s had been wound up and couldn’t race the regional for a year.
So following the regional there was 1 moto, 1 semi and a final Pro race!
Seriously, I was so depressed that I nearly didn’t enter but when you listen to Flemdog spouting I just thought I have to beat that guy, so I entered! Yep, won the whole thing, why? I have no idea it must be that click thing again! Even so, the rot had set in and I was not racing much anymore, we even left one event after practice because the track was crap ( same for everyone when I last looked, mate!). True, just looking for excuses!
A friend’s son Alan Ward got into BMX so I gave him some pointers. His dad kept me in the loop at work and later on they invited me to go with them to the 88 NBMXA Runnymede National so I decided to race. I was surprised to see I was competitive and ended up winning after coming from behind to pass an Irish lad Kevin McShane and fending off a strong finish-line challenge from Paul Roberts!
So that was National #2 won and 5 years apart! I went onto race at the Chesterfield National and got second to some bloke named Dale Holmes, but wait I got an invite to a 2 day race at Pontins in Morecambe, why not I think it was free! Morecambe track was unique and I had 2 shocking motos. I said to Fraser Kennedy’s dad “at least I have tomorrow!” He said, “no today is qualifying for tomorrow!” OFFS!
But a win in the 3rd moto qualified me for the next day with Dale and me 1st and 2nd in my last-ever BMX race in the UK, or at least that’s what I thought! Still, my last 3 races in the UK were pretty good, with a first and second in 2 Nationals and for a bloke who only had speed as a natural ability, nowhere to practice, and no outside help, I thought I did alright!
Respect for fellow riders
I always respect guys I race with, you don’t have to like them, just respect them all the same (even Simon Bailey). I raced Geth Shooter once at a club champs somewhere and finished second from the most unfair gate 8 I have ever ridden when he had gate 1, I did win a new pair of Vans for it though! Thank you, Preston Pirates! Did I think he was rapid and worth the hype, no! None of them were, I believed and it showed at times I was as good or better than anyone (Ah but that guy rides a Grifter and is from the North!).
Ruffell, Slater, March, Shooter, Scofield, etc.: so many really good riders that I was scared to even get on the gate with them but I never let that bother me. Today, looking back, the only advantage they had over me was experience, a club facility and a practice track, but my speed could sometimes overcome that. Was it worth it and what would I do differently and was I happy? Without talking about hindsight I would still say yes! I can honestly see so much potential was missed, the raw ingredients were there, I know because I found them 25 years later!
Just some help and guidance would have tripled the wins, not to the Elite level but definitely world age level.
Did I feel overlooked by the industry?
Absolutely! I mean “c’mon, I won the Peterborough National from dead last to first and had a picture of my bottom bracket taken! If March or Ruffell had come from last to first it would be in every BMX training manual today! People would still talk about it! LOL
Did I think I or anyone else was treated fairly in the North by the industry? Not on your life!
No one came to watch us or talk to us from anywhere, some Blackpool riders really punched above their weight, with National wins and titles, British championships, etc, and yet nothing. I think Daz Reidy had a clothing sponsor at one point! At the same time we were a bit backwards in asking for help but we knew nothing about sponsorship. I thought sponsorship depended on where you lived TBH. When the Blackpool BMX track was built in 87/88, that was great, but it was too late for me and sadly despite the great effort of the Cook family and others it was gone in 2 years.
Was I happy?
Yes, my win/race average I think was quite good, I am content with the fact I did the best I could with the money and equipment I had, no different from all my friends during that time living in Blackpool.
I have been asked who I looked up to and to be honest, it wasn’t a rider. I probably should have told him and after writing this I hope he sees it, but Jim Cook from the Blackpool bmx club has to be mentioned, he was everything to that club and I appreciate that more today than ever having been a President of my club for so long with the struggles of running it etc. So, yes Jim Cook for me!
BMX ended in 89, but following a visit to my Relatives in Australia in 97 we moved down under mid-99. We had landed in the middle of 10 tracks and clubs within an hour and by late 2000 Jordan my son and I were going to 3 tracks a day just for fun. We decided to race in 2001 and had a great time riding the radically different track layouts of the modern era, although I did struggle a bit with a GT XXL and determined it just didn’t work for me! I put it down to 13 years off a BMX.
Despite this, I won the State Championships on my first try in my class 35-39 20” That’s the beginner’s luck thing! Even so, by my standards I was pretty crap skill wise TBH, I was practicing at Frankston and met a guy with a chromoly DK. He offered me a ride on it and I was sold, turns out the BB height was only 11.5” compared to 12” of the GT.
I got myself a new alloy DK MP3 frame and started to improve big time. Now the OZ BMX scene didn’t have a National series, just one-off National championships like the Brits and the Capital city ran an open event where everyone went to see where they were at! (Mini Grands perhaps), back in 02, it took 8 hrs to get there and I won that, my first National Champs. The Champs got me a second behind a World 5 rider. This pattern of State success and National 2nd’s went on a few times!
A new beginning
The Warriors facility
There was always something missing and like the early days in Blackpool, we had no track anywhere near our home to practice on. 2005 saw the start of Wyndham Warriors BMX club and by 06 we had one of the best tracks in Victoria, but with no toilets, water, power, shade, or any structures at all, the staggering comparisons with Jim Cook’s attempt to get Blackpool club up and running was in my thoughts!
So the battle, the war even for funding and improvements began and is still ongoing today! In 2005 the club was formed and track work began. The track is basically clay and unrideable after rain.
In 2007 the club bought a container and some tools to maintain the track and we had small events. 08 the track is connected to water and we get a Suzuki jeep kindly donated by Paul Lees to wet and roll the track. 09 and 10 (2) more containers, 1 for storage and one for a kitchen, our events begin to reach 300 riders. The move to transponders meant we could not run on generators, thankfully council connected the main power in 011. 015 the council installed a pavilion with toilets (hooray) by 017 we had tarmac corners and the State Championships with flame throwers on the start hill (looked cool) The event was a great success. From that success, a local MP got the club a grant for a new finish line building which led to a staging structure and other structures as well. Plus we met the Werribee River association who have helped with landscaping and will continue to.
It all changed when covid hit, the track was locked for nearly 2 years on and off and members left due to the harshest lockdown in the world.
Melbourne! (Ask Novak)
Anyway, we are looking for the State Championships as soon as we can, as I believe that big events are the best way to promote the sport. Is the facility finished? No! We need facility lighting so that’s next.
So clubs and facilities are needed for the sport, but like all things they come at a cost, the burden of trying to develop and grow this had a negative effect on my riding and racing for quite a few years. However,I did learn to separate the two in the end.
The British Championship
I took a break from Australian BMX in 08 and after a bit of messing about I was allowed to enter the Brits at Peterborough. Many thanks to my good friend, Keith McGinley who kindly took me down there and helped me with everything that weekend! Funny, really remember I mentioned the officials at Chorley in 82, well I arrived at the Brits only to have the officials tell me I couldn’t race! WTF?! I have traveled with my bike from Australia because you said I could enter.
After an hour or so they finally allowed me to ride “phew”, the racing went ok through the motos and quarters etc, I never felt that comfortable TBH but made the final, those guys were way quicker than me off that flat gate, but that is no match for being able to ride around the bottom of turns cranking hard after years of carparks only to ride on!
From 5th down the first straight I rode the bottom of the turn and came out with just enough speed to send it over the massive double to take the lead from the main man everyone said (did I mention I don’t care about reputations!) anyway once I hit the front it was all over and I won my first British Championships!
Funny, I still found that hard to write in my old age LOL, my first British Title at 43! I was treated to a rock star presentation at the podium, those kids loved my Australian shirt and I was truly humbled by everyone’s comments and best wishes, so many people remembered me from the ’80s and that was incredible then and still is even now. How relevant was it that I won on the site of my first National win 24 years earlier? (I had 3 goes at the Brits in the 80s),1 try I went out in the semis, 2nd try my handlebars snapped, and 3rd I was playing golf and missed my race!
The old me! Still haven’t won a National Championship in Australia. I entered the 2009 worlds in the 40+ Cruiser, just like the GT 20”, I had a cruiser that just didn’t work for me but I didn’t know that yet, and yes I saw Shaun Calvert and Tony Fleming had been World Champions and Trev Stamford had come close on a few occasions! So what was it I wanted? Was I a rider for fun who did OK? Was I a club President who rode, or was it that I was simply scared of exploring what I had failed to become 25 years earlier? I thought about excuses, was it money? Not anymore! Did I have no time to train? No! Well, what? Perhaps all of the above in some degree or another!
I didn’t take the 09 Worlds that seriously and yet got 5th on the 20” semi in the 30+ at 44 and crashed out in the Cruiser, then I met Shaun! Shaun was a velodrome rider coming back to BMX after being a National Champ at 14, now in his 30’s he wanted to train Jordan who was starting to motor, Shaun offered to help me with Gym work, he said my speed was good but I needed power as in my age class there was always lots of ex AA Pro riders who can gate really well.
After a year or so I ended up with 1RM’s of 101KG bench, 165 KG squat, and 195 KG deadlift, I could go from 0 to 33 KPH in 3 crank revolutions from a standing start on the flat! (Try it and see where you are at.)
Following the 2010 Nationals with a second on 20” despite leading and a 5th on the Cruiser behind great riders including Tim Ward who really put it to me for a few years! (He even said he thought I was rapid and just needed the gate!)
I finally found the best frame I have ever owned… a 2010 Redline Cruiser! I started jumping Pro sections on it pretty quickly, not trying different stuff had backfired on me a few times, anyway the bike is right now.
In 2011 I was different! Why?
Great bike, a track and club to practice at and something new – a trainer, Shaun had sorted my power, my speed was always good and I was confident for the first time since the 80’s I had a real belief in myself, I could get on the gate with anyone in Victoria even the best AA riders at the time and know I could holeshot and did.
Cairns was the venue for the Nationals and my first 10M split put me in the top 10 for the whole 2500 rider event! Now that’s what I was talking about, I doubled for my first 2 Australian #1’s.
I entered Jordan and myself in the Worlds at Copenhagen, having watched Ward and Stamford go 2nd and 3rd in SA the year before. I didn’t drop a race and was the first pick for the final ahead of Eric Rupe, coming from the Winter to 30*+ was a shock and I was cramping bad, I couldn’t have done anything different except been there a week earlier but after cramp locking my leg down the first straight and a 6ft German giving me a tap I was 5th!
2012 Nationals was a battle between me and Stamford at Mount Gambier for first despite the horrendous wind we jumped everything on the first 2 straights and battled through the 3rd straight.
Rhythm, Trev went a different combo to me and bonked a jump giving me my 3rd National plate! So here we go again, it’s Birmingham and I know how fast I am, I go to Manchester for the first time and Daz Reidy tells me how fast Sharpy is! “The fastest age-class rider in the country,” he said, so Sharpy is the Target. After a few gates we can’t be split with whoever was on the inside taking the holeshot. Afterward, Trev mentioned he couldn’t keep up with us and that felt good from the Blackpool Bullet.
Winning every race at Birmingham until I am next to the Canadian and Rupe in 3 for the Semi, I was so confident I decided not to show my hand until the final and let them go down the first straight and tuck in for a safe 3rd letting loose in the final!
What a plan! What a knob! I got to the corner too fast and by the time I let them go I was nailed, it’s ok you’re only in 5th and going for the pass, 4th place lost his bike into the second turn and I was out! What the F**K just happened?!
The post-mortem and regrouping
I soon realised that being the best is no guarantee of anything and at this rate, one go every 12 months I may never be World Champion!
So for 2013, I tried something different, now 47, I entered only A men (14+Pro) events and 30+ events, and I did well in A men making all finals with finishes around 5th against riders who went on to be Olympians for Australia. At the Nationals I was moto’d in the 30+ but I had good speed in the younger age group, which was a positive!
New Zealand Worlds
It brought doubts from me, not because of my speed or power, I knew I was one of the fastest guys, it was more of things out of my control like a cramp or being taken out. I think I was scared and worried I would live my life and all those who said “he rides a Grifter and lives in the North” would be right, I had a gift even for just a few years around my late 40’s and I had to let the World see it!
I watched Jordan on the 20” who was #1 material all day long crash on the first jump in the moto’s , I rushed to see him in the pits and he couldn’t walk!
Do I become the protective parent or the manager? I chose the latter, “Jordan don’t stop moving or it will only get worse”. I pushed him to do some sprints with tears in his eyes but he made the quarters and semis and finally the final! He rode so bravely as he had broken his foot in the end, but he never gave up, I still think it is one of the bravest things I have ever seen!
A World stage to finally perform on!
So now my time had come, I had already decided deep down this was my last one, after 31 years of on and off again BMX this will be my last attempt at the big one. Going for a warm-up roll around in Auckland I was moaning about something, with Jordan out for the Cruiser perhaps he decided he had to pay me back and he did!
“Dad for F**k’s sake stop moaning and just do it, Just do it that was what I needed, his words went so deep and I mentally turned a corner, finally nothing mattered, I can’t be stopped, it wasn’t overconfidence this time! I really didn’t care, it would give it all no matter what! My campaign started badly with a gate failure, me and Marco, another British rider was sliding down the hill stuck to our bikes, but despite seeing stars I didn’t care!
The Moto’s were a blur same as the quarter, but the semi brought me back down to earth with a mighty crash! The race before stopped and we had to wait, for some reason I unclipped rather than balanced, no sooner the gate call started! “Hang on” I said! No deal, the gate was gone without me, “not Birmingham again”. No way not this time, I got back to third on such a short track!
At first, it was a relief but then the reality of a 5th or 6th gate pick on this short first straight sank in! After 31 years! I am 6th pick in my last ever World final and 47 years old, but no moaning, no complaining this will be the best start and first straight of your life! The pits are empty now we are the last final, so just keep loose, just one more lap. I wait behind the gate just a minute away from defeat or ecstasy. It comes down to one thing, the race to the first turn on the shortest straight I have ever raced on and I am in lane 6, the other fast dudes were well on my inside, I take one more glance down the 5M to the first jump and know by the 10M mark my fate will be decided!
Riders ready, destiny is waiting.
The gate drops and my wheel is on it, a perfect start! No cramp this time, no plan for this one!
The crowd goes wild watching a race of 45+ giants looking for eternal glory!
At 3M it’s the only natural talent I was born with. “My speed” kicks in, see their wheels fade and yet I push harder, the first corner low and fast, spin down the 2nd and jump into the second turn, keep it tight old man!
An awkward jump onto a table top and a then rhythm to the final bend ! I hear “go dad go dad” as I lay the Redline over past my family in the stands! But dare not look, just the last straight now, the jumps are deep for an old guy but the Redline was straight confirming she was the right choice!
Finally the finish line, I was numb, no words! I was World Champion! Turning around I went back down the last straight to see my family, I roar and shout 31 years! As they hang over the railings. So many emotions in such a story!
Following the New Zealand Worlds, I took a little break but in 2014 the Nationals came to Victoria, with the Cruiser now living on my trophy wall, I would have one last serious ride at the Shepparton Nationals.
The 45-49 men was a big class with quarters and many ex AA’s including a World #3, I had a good run through but as usual, I waited until the final before I decided to make it as hard as possible for myself.
I was the first pick but decided I was good enough to holeshot from any gate on this massive first straight, Beep Beep Beep Beep, and then click! I unclipped rolling down the hill in last!
Mmm “I have been here before 30 years ago” I got back on it and by the second turn I was 4th, Shepparton is long and I needed every meter!I hammered down the 3rd straight rhythm pulling up on the outside of leader Comport in the last turn, this was a replay, I knew his move was to push me wide but I was expecting that so the outside inside was my escape.
Running on empty legs on fire, I won my 4th National #1 by 100th of a second in what was probably the greatest comeback of my life in such a field, was unreal!
My son Jordan has multiple National # 1’s, including a recent Masters #1, and 3 World 2’s, and my daughter Amanda, has 2 National #1’s and World 6, both are still competing.
As for me, I still look to keep enjoying it and I am still involved with improving the sport and facility in Wyndham. I have decided to do a bit of racing this year, but there is no more stuff in the basement anymore! LOL
I hope to see the Wyndham Warriors facility become the National Standard!
Inspiration, regrets, and control…
Andy Hill and the Blackpool team have definitely been an inspiration; when Wyndham was struggling so was Blackpool, 12,000 miles away, as we were linked by social media and I got to know Andy.
Blackpool did some great work. Wyndham had just had our States and I was sure Andy did it on purpose but he topped me with the Brits!
FFS! Ok, then I jumped onto British Cycling and asked if I could do the Blackpool Brits in early 2018 and they said yes! Sweet, I told Andy, and I borrowed Jordan’s Redline cruiser and hit the Gym! Yes, really! So the idea was to promote me as the ex-pat World 1 coming back to Blackpool to race the Brits in his hometown. We hoped to rope in Flemdog and Shaun both W1’s to add to the flavor, (now, you know why I was training! ).
By March I was supposed to start entering some UK events to qualify when the BC reception went frosty, they still didn’t say no just that I had to ask the 45+ riders to see if they objected!
“What, from Australia?” So I contacted Billy Stupple. He set it up as a forum and it was great that every 45+ rider had no objection to me riding! Great, it’s back on then! Well not quite. So now it became the property of Dylan Clayton as a rep I believe! Dylan kept me in the loop but in the end, said the vote went 1 against and a fairytale ended! I believe BC missed a hell of an opportunity that day and let down the Blackpool club big time!
The Australian scene has been held back by a lack of vision. I think they embraced the tech though, there is old skool racing, but the non-riding old skool seems to be bigger. The normal BMX racing is starting to pick up following the lockdowns now and I hope the Pro side of it comes back like it was some years back. I still follow some of the British stuff through SM etc, Daz Reidy’s has some great videos of British racing or links to Youtube, plus he’s OK. I do keep my eye on Andy Hill and his constant push to outdo my club, although he does have some good ideas occasionally I can steal! “Hey, all’s fair in war and BMX right!”
To be fair I know he got the Brit’s flamethrowers from me! Don’t deny it, Andy!
I have made so many friends and got to know so many people, BMX has crossed all ages and I hope it can go on long after Dale and I have gone! I did 4 competitive years in the UK and perhaps 6 in Australia! What a fantastic journey, riding to the train station in the dark! Well, you couldn’t have made it up, could you?
And with that, my story is done!
Thank you to everyone I have mentioned as you were part of my story and also to Dale for giving me the opportunity to put so much down in print, he really is a custodian of BMX history.
I hope in some way my story will add to that history, perhaps it can inspire those who are doing it and having a tough go, and won’t be put off by big names or fancy gear, it worked for me.
My main achievements in racing
2 UK Regional #1’s
2 British National Wins (Grifter) – Peterborough and Runnymeade
2 x LEP Open Champion
23 State plates
4 National #1’s
2013 World Champion