Freestyle was really taking off in 1984 and we decided to launch a two man Torker Trick Team. Andy Irwin, a skater-cum-BMX'er from Southport and Terry Jenkins from Liverpool. Andy attacked everything full speed and was always great to watch, he aked for new grips every week, I thought ihe was selling them and asked for his old worn out ones back. Terry was definitely more finesse and his smooth rollbacks were as good as Bob Haro's. This photo is from a (6?) page controversial article in Freestyle BMX (BMX Weekly offshoot) where the two of them talk candidly about freestyle, where i is going. The shoot was at my on the drive at parent's house in Abram, Wigan. Both riders were on the new-at-the-time Pro-X frame and did some drawing works and supplied ideas for the Torker Freestylist to Steve Johnson at Torker. This particular photo was incorrectly attributed to Andy Irwin, I have fixed that. Things happened so quickly, contests, Kellog's TV and the legendary Ford BMX Tour.
Chris Smith 2021
Our man on Radio, Chris Smith, with a belter of a photo by @tobecheck
After our trip to California Easter 1981, we invited Chuck Robinson over here for the Redditch International in Summer of that year and he brought with him little-known Gary "Lumberjack" Ellis. Chuck took this photo at a Wednesday at the old Chorley track operated by Peter Lee, on the jump off to the left at the bottom of the start hill. It’s also the first time I saw a tabletop "hack" where you’d drop your trailing leg to allow the bike to lay flat then you’d lift you foot back onto the pedals. It was like being shown how a magic trick worked! I remember Chuck saying "Get rad" and Gary replaying "racing rad or jumping rad?" Later Chuck gave this photo signed to the Lee and Woods families as thanks for hospitality during the trip. Gary went on to best one of the greatest ever Pro racers, Chuck definitely had an eye for talent.
Original: @britishbmxhalloffame@theseatpostman posted this awhile back and we felt it was worth a share. One of the greats and quite possibly the GOAT, the Lumberjack; Gary Ellis on Robinson back in 1981 during a UK trip at the Chorley Superchute. Looks like Gary signed this image but unfortunately it's hard to read the note. Gary would return a few years later to battle at the 85 Kelloggs, which I'm sure we will go into detail on in due time.
Please see our blog for all the photos entries in our #alansbmx40years in photos.
Another shot with amazing colours, this time of Dave Arnold at Southport skatepark in 1981, taken by Stefan Faulkner. Dave travelled with me on our first trip to California in Easter 1981 and we've remained friends and worked together on numerous projects ever since. We also used this photo for an artwork on our stairs.
Week 14: Karl Sanderson 2018
Stunning Suzanne McHugh shot of Karl Sanderson at a National back in '18. We put so much effort into this kit 🤦♂️... a least we have a few good photos to show for it 😂 Karl has been racing since the early 80's at Three Sisters and while he wasn't on the team then, I always promised him if we did a race team again he'd defintely be on it. So it came to be Karl was our sole Hutch team rider a few years ago and follwed us to the Alans BMX/GT Heritage gig '17 to '19. Now a grandad, he's showing no signs of slowing down, or losing any style. Racing is back on at Chorley today - good luck Karl.
Week 13: Will Jackson 2000
I'll let Norhern John tell you about this one:
This pic was once the cover of an Alans catalogue but in my opinion totally captures an era. Early 2000s were all about bmxers doing everything their way and making DIY ramps was a big part of it. We made this on Lord street in southport and amazingly it lasted for months despite being on the busiest high street in the town. This was famous Will Jackson doing an x up pegger for a photoshoot for dig magazine. I didn't own slave flash's so perched myself in a different position and took a long exposure ( half a second) while Ricky Adam took a shot with the proper equipment. I had to wait weeks to finish off the roll and wait to get it processed and the results were great. Great by my previous standards at least and inspired me to save up and invest in slave remotes which changed the way I took photos. Brill times and even better to reflect on.
Week 12: Nathan Lunn 1984
By 1984 we had expanded the Torker team and had picked up riders from outside the North West and by some good fortune ended up with the Lunn brothers Nathan (pictured) and Jason, two incredibly talented riders that always looked amazing on the bike and were fast as hell to boot. This magazine shot shows Nathan demonstrating that style on his Torker Mini at a UKBMX National. Jason went on to win UKBMX Champion of Champions at Olympia that year.
From Dale Holmes, UK BMX Hall of Fame: 1984 was definitely a year when a new breed of riders hit the UKBMX scene. Guys with 4 digits on their plate would get on Factory teams it seemed like their first year of National racing. 10x in '84 was full of new talent like Nathan Lunn fresh on Torker and Jamie Staff new on Factory Raleigh pictured. Nathan already from the school of style and even though it’s 10x it was pretty apparent Jamie Staff was going to be a Powerhouse in racing.
Week 11: James "Bear" Heyes 2016
40 Years of BMX in Photos: @bear4130 putting the @subrosa street rail to good use with a pegs to karate kick from #thestreetseries back in 2016.
Where to start with Mike Pardon? I’ve spent over an hour trying to narrow photos of Mike down to one and it’s just not possible. Rad photos of him racing BMX in 1981, rad photos of him doing Freestyle and winning BMX beat c1984, rad photos of him as a Pro skateboarder in the late 80’s, rad photos of him surfing, rad photos of him racing Supermoto, rad photos his BMX racing when he came back to the UK in 2007 winning a National championship and managing our Team to 3 consecutive Team titles with British Cycling, more rad photos of him doing all that stuff again at an age when you should be playing bowls. Mike, we salute you! Here is Pt1 of Mike's interview with Dale Holmes on the BMX Weekly podcast. (opens in new window)
Week 9: Charlotte Green 2008
Flashback to a race shot of Charlotte Green taken at Peterborough British Championships in 2008. This photo was actually used as an advert in Fastlane magazine at the time. 2008 was the second season we joined forced with Madison to become the the official Alans BMX/Shimano DXR race team, delivering three straight British Cycling Number One Team titles 2006-2007-2008 with the help of some amazing riders, support and sponsors, including my old friend Mike Pardon coming back from Austrialia to help us. I've always loved this photo, Charoltte's talent was always apparent and to see he sending it over these doubles, her hair flying out the back of her helmet and the Thor kit looking so good. Charlotte has continued to race and is still in the mix in Elite Women, inspiring a younger generation of riders. I'm sorry I don't know the photographer (possibly Richard Robotham), please let me know if you do.
We managed to get to Week 8 without runninhg some insane Sam stunt. This one is a classic from the Colony UK, it's one of those shots that doesn't really do the madness of it justice, it was huge, trust me. The shot appeared in Ride UK magazine and was shot by Joe Bailey.
So we pulled up at lifer bmx and caught up with northern legend @northernjohn . He took us to this school along with a few locals for a rail sesh on the stair set you can just about see in the shot the vibe was pretty chill untill bear pointed out the roof drop n called it out to which we then clocked a scaffold tower going up to the roof near the main entrance so up i went to eye it up whilst @joebailey and @coooerbrownlee where setting up there cameras i sent it landed it sweet and went between the buildings into a muddy field walked back to everyone and found out joe was still setting up so back up i went waited for the call that he was ready tried to to get some of the mud off my shoes and grips sent it again with the intention of tricking off it realized i had next to no grip on my feed still so just repeated the first yeet and ate shiiiit 😂
Week 7: Terry Lloyd 1982
This week we go all the way back to 1982, for this photo of Terry Lloyd taken by Stefan Faulkner, which does need some explaining. A similar photo (in B&W) was also printed in BMX Weekly at the time. Take it away Terry:
Hi Alan, hope all is good in your world. I have been following the 40 years stuff and bringing back so many happy memories. The photo from Chorley still makes me smile and the look on the faces of people on the track side sums up the mood. From memory I had already qualified from the first two moto’s so had nothing to loose from coming in 8th so the decision to do it was simple. The issue from memory was the race referee (Mike Chilvers' dad) had banned jumping the whoops on safety grounds but in reality Mike could not jump them and as a group of riders we felt this was unfair and a poor decision. The gate dropped and instead of racing I rolled down the starting straight and remained seated until just before the whoops. I dismounted and carried the bike if honest more for comedy effect than real protest. Looking at the picture I can’t believe how big my helmet was (ohh err misses!) I think I could turn it round on my head without taking it off! When I crossed the line I summoned over to see the referee who promptly disqualified me from the race. It’s fair to say I did not take this very well and decided to question his parentage with some special words and hand signals. Not my finest moment but I did feel aggrieved with what I felt was an unfair decision. I remember you fighting my corner and at one stage it looked like the Torker and Robinson teams would take no further part in the national. Common sense prevailed and although I did not ride again that day the team went on to plenty of success. Sadly for me it was not the end of the issue and I was banned for a month from all regional and national races. I don’t remember the race referee ever officiating again. As a side story you might remember the next regional at Chorley when despite my ban I raced in disguise on a borrowed Robinson in someone else’s riding gear wearing a full face helmet and goggles. It was a fun time and Alan’s BMX was a major part of my early life and many of the people I met in those days are still friend now. BMX shaped my life in many ways and I blame you for my love of cars all these years later...you have cost me a fortune!!
Week 6: Robin Owen 2003
Robin Owen Plymouth, 2003 - Such a great era for riding, the @backyardjambmx’s were back and riding was progressing like crazy.
From Robin: This was on a HDP trip down south. Photo was taken by Northern John at a spot in Plymouth, there wasn’t much there but these mini sized banks and a big flatland area. I just started doing gaps on them while the rest where sunning it up or trying hang 5’s and John jumped on the camera. Riding a Dirt Bros Patriot. Hard dad trips where the best! I think this was hdp/dirt bros trip we did? Take me back please!! Thanks for the support back then Alan, I was stoked to be a part of it - Happy 40th Alan’s bmx!
From the Winter of 1980/1981, photo taken by David and LouiseWestwell's dad, this shot shows all the heavy hitters of the early Wigan BMX scene. Left to right: Mike Pardon #12 (Mongoose), David Westwell #11 (Wilson), Fenwick Carr #7 (Redline), Mark Warrington #3 (Mongoose), Craig Borrows #9 (CYC), Dave Arnold #15 (Mongoose), Alan Woods #214 (Redline), Stuart Carr #8 (Mongoose), Sean Lawless in the background (son of T&MX and BMX News editor, the late visionary Bill Lawless who we lost recently). Dave Scarisbrick had built a BMX track (that held a big race in 1981), we used to take the train from Wigan Wallgate and ride the track, then jump the fence to get into the skatepark, which is where this photo was taken. This was pretty much our second phase, as we'd just got decent bikes, nearly everyone is on a complete Mongoose wire wheel or Motomag as they were the gold standard back then, myself and Fenwick had just got Redlines (an MX-II and a Proline), built from frames and Craig is on a CYC, a Californian brand we did in the early days. Dave Westwell is on a UK built Steve Wilson, which is by far the rarest of all the bikes in this photo now. This photos is taken a month or two before we got our first Robinson frames.
Week 4: Karl Sanderson & John Bentley 2020
Here we are at week 4 already and a side by side shot by Suzanne McHugh at the Manchester indoor BMX Nationals Rounds 1 & 2 back in March 2020. The riders are racing in 50+ Cruiser and have been racing going at it for close on 40 years now. Karl headed up our Hutch programme a few years ago before joining forces with John on our GT Heritage Alans BMX Team in 2017. John had a perfect weekend winning 20" and Cruiser both days, unfortunately due to the pandemic that turned out to be the only National of 2020 before it was scrapped. Stoked how our new Mugen-inspired race kit came out, they certainly made it look good!
Week 3: Lee Hebb 2018
This week I'm stoked to share with you this crazy flair whip from the YoYos Pool Party back in 2018 at Dave Arnold's pool with a shot of Lee Hebb taken by Sam Eckersley that somehow doesn't look real. The whole event was a bit mad with so many complications but we pulled it off and looking back now, espcially at this time when we are in lockdown, it's even more special. It was Dave's idea from the outset, to host a California-style pool party with Conway Castle on the decks, vegan food by Sue Healey of The Coven and craft beers by Northern Beer Temple. Next we needed support from the BMX industry and luckily we had Seventies, 4Down, Moore Large and BSD on board and in attendance. DIG Mazagine offered to cover it and we were all set!
From Lee: I was sat there on the side of the pool with Chris Mahoney and he asked me if I was gonna flair the big bit of the bowl.... and I said ‘flair it?’... ‘I’m gonna flair whip it’ and he looked at me like I was talking out my arse... so I dropped in anf gave it some beans. Chris was one of my idols when I first started so it was all the more special at the time.
Week 2: Bradley Minns 2007
This week we jump forward a few decades to 2007 and a shot of one of our Alans BMX/Shimano DXR race team, Bradley Minns, taking a hard one in his cruiser 11-12 Semi. I don't really like watching crashes but this just proved how badass Brad was, he got up and won his B-final would you believe. You could definitely trust those Giro helmets! Bradley was a great racer and his dad Bob is a legend, he took time to come and see us a few years ago, one of the best families we've dealt with obver the 40 years. Brad has a kid himself now so who knows he might get back into the BMX scene at some point, would be cool to see. Sorry I don't know who the original photographer was, if anyone knows please DM us.
Check everyone's faces in the background. Here's the video, caution advised!
Week 1: Andy Minshull 1984
Here Andy Minshull "Spider-Man" is twisting it up on his new Torker Freestylist back in 1984 for a Freestylin’ mag feature on the UKBMX scene @southseaskatepark . Photo: Bob Osbourne. Who else can you spot in this photo?