Alans BMX 40 Years in Photos | Tony Holland, Isle of Man, 1983
UPDATED 3/1/22- SEE BELOW
Right when I started doing this I knew which photo would be the last one and you can probably guess. Although there are many great photos of Tony Holland to choose from (some below) this iconic shot taken by Nigel Higginson for BMX Bi-Weekly magazine at the UKBMX National at Onchan Head, Isle of Man in 1982. Is my favourite BMX photo of all time.
A bit of backstory; I was originally invited to go to help design the track back in late 1981 with Mike Pardon. We stayed with a dealer of ours who had a shop in the centre of Douglas (Pedal Power), they lived above the shop but we stayed in their scary old townhouse frurther along the front with no lights. After a couple of days we had the track layout marked out and we took the ferry back to Heysham - the next time I saw the track it was completed at this National. The whole weekend was a ton of fun, I remember Craig Borrows hopping over the counter at the amusements causing me to collapse on the floor with laughter, it is hands-down the most I have ever laughed in my life. Later, we went to see the film Tron and there was a race the day after in Ramsey but I went horse riding instead.
Photo: Nigel Higginson/BMX Bi-Weekly
Amazingly, I found this video of that same day of riders (including Andy Ruffel) "styling" over that same jump in a break after the motos. Video courtesy of Louise Kellet (nee Westwell):
Here's a clip of myself and John Lee in the Motos:
Here's an ad for BMX Bi-Weekly from the same year. For some reason we had to go to North Wales to have this studio shot taken, it was the first time I'd seen a Hasselblad (large format) camera. This last year we replicated this ad with John Bentley.
I suppose the photo resonates so much so because it marked a point when UK riders could be as "Factory" as the Americans. Everything in the photos is dialled, down the to finest detail: the A'ME facemark, the Max legaitors, the matching Vans - of course Tony's timeless style. I rest my case:
Ipswich National I think, same year, '83.
Jag World Championships, Las Vegas, 1983.
December 1982 ad from BMX Action bike. L-R: Tony Holland, Gary Fenwick, Craig Borrows, Damian Jackson, Alice Temple, Darren Nelson, Alan Woods.
Alan Woods. 2nd January, 2022.
UPDATE FROM TONY 3/1/22
@tony.holland773 thoughts on that photo. Thanks Tony.
Those of you that know me, I feel somewhat embarrassed with stuff like this. I’m was just a kid from a small town in the Northwest.
I had amazing mentors: Alan Woods, Terry Lloyd, Mike Miranda, Chuck Robinson, Mr Woods and of course my Dad.
Riders that challenged me to be better, but also have fun: Geth Shooter, Dylan Clayton, Tony Fleming, The Law Man, Damon P, Crofty, Matt Doren, Jason Brown and many more. My age group was, I’m sure many will disagree, the hardest, Craig Schofield, Jason Maloney, Chris Young & Darrin Stock, true gents and adversaries.
Alan asked me to quote on the IOM pic. Special race that one. Literally just back from the States.
I had my bike stolen in Las Vegas. True to form Chuck and Alan said they’d sort it when we arrived back in LA. Chuck told me to go into the Robinson warehouse and just pick a frame, fork, bars etc. I found a Scott Clark frame and fork.
Chuck, Alan and I then drove around LA to various bike shops, manufactures. The outcome is the bike in the photo. In summary, no factory stuff here
1 & 3/8" Wheels with Comp III tyres, I think a few were sold in the UK on my return.
Campagnolo BMX Crankset
Bridgestone self centre rear calliper (Prototype)
Shimano lever, modified (Team Gullet)
Suntour pedals ( on return to the UK, Nigel Page dads custom cages, the best.)
Other: Bell RT Helmet. Just trick as f*ck.
Having MAX as a sponsor meant custom M1 race pants with no padding. Now I remember why it hurt so much when I crashed.
There are many other magazine pics out there, my favourite is Dijon Euros with Craig and Jason in the first turn, right on the ragged edge (SEE BELOW). For a while it was always the three of us, every weekend. Loved every minute x