It’s difficult for a Wigan lad to call Alan Woods a pioneer of BMX, for me Alan IS BMX, it’s almost inconceivable to imagine where BMX would be in the North of England if it wasn’t for this man. Someone somewhere should compile a list of National Champions that have come from this little town. It’s crazy. All because of the energy, passion, and foresight of Alan Woods. Alan’s an undoubted Legend of the sport. Dylan Clayton would not have gone racing if it wasn’t for Alan Woods, imagine that, where would BMX be? Even when considering current riders like Kyle Evans, and Paddy Sharrockk, would they have started racing BMX if it wasn’t for the roots laid down by Alan? Even Kye Whyte, “The Prince of Peckham” himself had the honour of riding for Alan’s as his first team.
An honorable mention must also go to Alan’s parents, Arthur and Madge who were very active in supporting Alan when they realised his passion. As a 12-year-old kid myself, I was more excited about the interest Arthur would show in my racing than any trophy I might have won. When Alan eventually approached me and asked me to join the Robinson support team back in 1983, I was over the moon and within days thanked Alan for that ‘Factory’ look. I mean, jeeez, kids would ask for my autograph!!! I could barely write my own name. I also seriously doubt the Freestyle scene in the UK would be what it is without Alan. The apparent time and effort Alan has put in from the beginning is astounding, who can forget the Torker Trick Team with Terry Jenkins and others? AlansBMX still supports a freestyle team today.
I don’t want to digress too much but Alan but he is also a big music fan and has endless stories of live gigs and even had a hand in a then unsigned punk band play a gig in Wigan. This band was later named Green Day. I believe there is footage somewhere on YouTube.
I myself came back into the sport of BMX racing in 2015, I pretty much immediately started getting support from Alan and in return as always, I promoted the shop as best I could. I’m not sure how or when it happened but I sort of ran the Alan’s race team and have got to know the whole family, wife Julie and grown up kids, Toby and Ralph. Toby pretty much runs the mail order side of the shop, and we always have a good laugh, especially when we hit the Karaoke at Christmas. The Alan’s BMX Heritage race team always tries to tip the hat to the past with our choices of race kits, all down to Alan and still to this day the attention to detail to give us the ‘Factory’ look.
Alan won’t mind me telling you he is also quite the eco warrior and these days spends quite a lot of time doing his bit in trying to protect the planet and raise the profile of the effect of climate change in whatever he does he always has his finger on the pulse with anything to do with BMX.
His knowledge of all things Old Skool is incredible and when Freestyle appeared on the Olympic scene recently our female gold medalist Charlotte Worthington was also riding for….?? Yep, Alan’s BMX…. Over forty years we have had this little shop in our town and the passion is still there. He rang me in tears after the last Olympic finals with Kye and Beth getting silver and gold respectively and he talks passionately about trying to emulate the ‘Frogtown Classic’ race recently staged in the USA, already coming up with ideas and possible venues. So, in essence, you can suggest Alan Woods; not only as a Pioneerhe’s also a Son – Racer – Businessman – Punk Rocker – Husband – Father – Maverick – Eco Warrior – Social Conscience – Alan Woods – BMX
Words – John Bentley (AlansBMX Race team manager)