It’s been 40 years this summer since you became the first British rider to win a World Championships. You also got 3rd in Open class that weekend. You were so young at the time. Did you realised what you had done?
Wow, has it been that long?! Honestly, I was so young I just didn’t take in what I’d achieved back then, couldn’t really understand the massive response to what I’d done as I was just a kid who loved riding his BMX and was a shy so felt a little awkward at times with all the attention. I was lucky enough to travel the country every weekend with my brother and dad and all over Europe. It’s weird, I look at my son now and he’s just turned 6 and I can’t imagine him doing what I did at his age. Pretty crazy when I think about it.
You received all kinds of media attention at the time including the major newspapers if I recall. How was all the attention back home?
It was crazy, as I said before, I was rather shy back then and was so young it just didn’t really sink in. I still watch the interview I did on breakfast tv and my mum has still got the sun newspaper and all the magazine cutouts bless her but I watch that tv interview now and still can’t quite believe what I achieved back then.
Back home in the UK you also became UKBMX National Champion that same year. Who were some of the guys you battled with?
There were some great riders around me back then that I used to race most weekends including, Scott Vogel, Sam Jarvis, Russ Swift, etc. I think we were the top 4 and we really and had great battles – apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone; there was Sam on Mongoose, Russ on Kuwahara, and me on Diamond Back. Brilliant times.
You were also on the very prestigious Diamond Back Factory Team. Do you remember your teammates and what it was like on the team?
Diamond Back was always my favorite factory team back then. My hero was Harry Leary and even before I got signed by them, I rode a Diamond Back and had all the outfits so to actually sign for them was just amazing. As I’ve shared, I was so young I can’t really remember the others on the team except for Jason Maloney, who took me under his wing and looked after me. Also, Tim March I remember as well, although Tim wasn’t on Diamond Back he too Iooked out for me. I think he and my dad used to chat on race days and I remember using his number plates when he first started producing them.
You also raced on a trick custom bike. Do you still have it?
Can’t remember the custom bike but I still have my Turbo Lite that Diamond Back gave me for winning the Worlds, it was the first one in Europe I believe so I’m always keeping that. I’d love to get it fully restored as it’s currently red and white! After I left Diamond Back I rode a year un-sponsored and I wore the red and white Hutch outfit which in my book was the coolest look around at the time. I had the bike sprayed red one side and white the other, and it looked really cool with the Hutch gear.
It looked like by 1985 you were winding things down in racing. Any reason why you retired?
I think it was taking its toll on my schooling and my mum thought at the time that that was more important. Diamond Back at the time was interested in me relocating to the States but she was having none of it. I often think about what my life would have been like if I moved to the States but I was so young they just didn’t think it was sensible at the time.
Do you still keep up with racing over the years? Or still, ride for fun?
I keep up with everything BMX on social media, it will always have a special place in my heart. I was always looking at how well you were doing Dale, absolutely smashing it here and then moving to the States and beating everyone over there! And now, the best English BMX racer ever, is giving me an interview! Very surreal.
Sadly, I don’t ride anymore but if either of my sons wanted to ever take up racing I’d love to support them.
Are there any other highlights from your BMX days?
The main highlight obviously was winning the Worlds but looking back I really hoped I gave hope or motivated the young kids who wanted to get into racing back then and hopefully pushed English BMX into the spotlight a bit.
What are you doing these days? On social media it looks like you are busy with family life.
Yeah, settled down to family life now Dale, nothing exciting like when I was young but I’ve got my amazing wife, Faye and my two amazing boys, Grayson and Hudson who are my world so I’m extremely lucky.