Interview – Brian Jones

What year did you start BMX?

I started BMX in 1981.

How did you discover BMX?

My brother Neil Jones first discovered the new craze, and my father decided to sell his RM 125 to buy our first BMX bike from Tony Christen’s shop in Manchester.

First bike?

My first bike was a Mongoose Supergoose.

First race?

Our first race was at the Southport regional. Neil and I raced there on Good Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We both won all our races and got the bug to keep racing.

You became National Champion the first year of Official National Racing in the UK in 1981. What do you remember about that year?

Signing for Mongoose was awesome, and I really enjoyed racing all over the country and meeting loads of exciting BMX racers who wanted to be the best. Then the Nationals started. It was amazing to line up against Craig Schofield, Jason Ramsden, Jonathan Higginson, and Matt White; you just knew that this was it! If you weren’t at your best, you would be second or third because at 13, we were all really fast and could have raced up age groups and still got trophies.

How was it being on Factory Mongoose, the team everyone wanted to be on?

Wow! Just Wow. What can you say but thank you for having faith in my speed and ability.

Favorite track?

My favorite tracks were Whithaugh Park and Chorley, both super fast.

Favorite race/event?

All the Redditch Internationals.

What riders did you look up to?

I looked up to Greg Esser and Eric Rupe, both smaller riders than the rest of the gate but unbelievable speed and amazing to watch.

You retired from racing quite early. Was there any specific reason for it?

The season started off well, and I bagged 2 or 3 regional wins, getting back up to full speed again. However, at the first or second National race, I crashed in the final and injured my back from other riders hitting me. I was stretchered off to the hospital, and it was discovered that I had also ruptured my Cruciate ligament, losing stability in my left knee. BMX, as you know, is all about the burst out of the gate and the berms, which wasn’t going to happen again. I did race a few times over the next couple of years at some local regionals and managed to get a third in a national, but I had lost the competitive edge, and BMX had moved onto the next level. I wasn’t able to train like I used to.

Some of the guys you battled with, one of them being Craig Schofield, went on to become World Champion in 1985. Did you continue to follow BMX after your racing career ended?

Yes, I loved reading the reports from nationals and was really chuffed when I read about Craig winning the World title in Canada. It made me proud to have lined up against him and banged elbows with him at Nationals in the UK. Also, I was happy to see Darren Stock win many National titles in the years after.

There’s a rumor that you saved a lot of your old magazines, your bike, and a few other things. Is there anything in particular that you still have?

I still have the Redline Proline I raced after Mongoose, and yes, I have all the BMX news and weeklies up until 1983.

You had some great shots in the early newspapers and magazines. Are there any specific issues we should look up?

BMX Weekly August 21st, 1981, featured Whithaugh Park, possibly the fastest BMX track in the country at the time. I was flying, and I would have raced in all the age groups above me just to keep racing on that track. Also, BMX Weekly Number 8 featured Albury track. Craig Schofield was rapid on that track, and I got gate 8. I think it’s the fastest I have ever ridden.

Do you still follow BMX much these days?

In the later years, I followed Kyle Evans because I grew up with his father, David Fairclough, aka Furky. It was great to see Kyle win the European Title and seeing Furky in the crowd looking so proud with his multi-colored beard. Also, Beth Shriever is amazing, and all the new blood of BMX stars.

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