Alan and I first raced each other in 1980 I think, but that’s not important really. What is important is what Alan brought to BMX. He was importing BMX bikes direct from the USA as a teenager, had his own Team. He soon went on to create his own BMX brand, Mirage, opened a retail shop that sold BMX/Skateboards and Records and he bought a coach to take a band of unruly little buggers around the country to race BMX bikes. Alan had raced schoolboy Motocross on the technically testing tracks of Lancashire and the surrounding areas. He was as a teenager like me, into American MX culture Skateboarding and Punk Rock. In short, Alan’s BMX was and still is the hub of the Northern BMX scene and for many who have been around long enough to have been able to see how Alan has supported BMX in its various forms – the shop for over 35 years has been the “go to” destination for all things BMX, that’s a long time and a lot of experience. From the beginning of BMX in this country Alan and his Mum and Dad were involved in the running of BMX as an organized sport in the UK with Arthur as Chairman of UKBMX, giving their time up every weekend to traipse around the country to God knows where and help to put events on for the hordes of kids who wanted to race at all the new tracks popping up in the UK. Alan’s Dad, Arthur, was an ex post-war speedway rider who changed his name to Louis Lawson (nice ring to it) and rode for many seasons successfully at Bell Vue Speedway. With Arthur’s love of motorcycles it was easy to see how young Alan would soon be immersed in the world of dirt and two wheels. On a personal level is where I think Alan and I have over the years become truly great, old friends. Away from the track we kept in touch, our joint love of very similar interests providing the content for our relationship to mature. Add to that I was working for 4130 publishing and later doing the Albion – we had plenty of opportunities to put the world to rights and had many long chats about all things close to us. If there is one person who deserves far more recognition than they receive for their commitment and dedication to a cause it’s Alan. His crew, brought up on two of the goliath tracks, Chorley and Three Sisters and his willingness to throw everything behind all of the pastimes he loves has shown me what a dedicated, focused and all out good guy he is. Add to that a self deprecating demeanour (Greg Hill was known for his “you lose” mantra on the back of his race pants, Alan’s response was to put “I lose” on his, and then he won the Kelloggs TV round at Newcastle with that on his ass) and you have someone who in my mind has always added well needed color to a sport that without it would have been far less interesting and also very different had he not guided it and put in thousands of hours to help kids all over the Country to ride and race BMX bikes. He should be the first of all of us to receive the title of “National Treasure” his involvement in the BMX movement and community in this country was that important. It’s an honor to have him as a friend and I can’t wait to hear this podcast.
(Alan Woods interview below.)