BMX was already in full-swing in the UK by 1984 with Magazines, TV coverage and healthy National Series events – UKBMX & NBMXA happening all over the country. It also seemed like a new, fresh breed of racing talent was appearing at the Nationals and gaining recognition in the magazines. Specifically, one being, Nathan Lunn, who was first spotted in BMX Action Bike Magazine riding a Torker rocking a Van’s jersey and slip-on shoes. By the time the 84 UKBMX Nationals got underway, Nathan had been upgraded to the Torker Factory Team and was looking to put a serious threat on the number 1 plate in a very tough age group with names like Danny Stabielli, Frazer Campell, Paul Ray and Jamie Staff. Nathan’s sister, Natalie also raced as did his older brother, Jason, who also rode for Torker before having a successful Freestyle career riding for the notable, Raleigh Team during the Ruffell era. Nathan was known for his smooth riding style very similar to Dylan Clayton and we all know how good Dylan was. Nathan didn’t stick around very long it seemed by the end of the 86 season while riding for SE Nathan lost interest and hung it up. Still today, if you pick up any UK Magazines from the mid 80s or scroll around on the internet you will find so many awesome shots of Nathan who always had that fresh, stylish Factory look.
Always good to see BMX’ers continue to do good after their BMX days. Simon Hayes, was around the start of BMX in the early 80s in the UK riding for Kuwahara and Hutch racing Kelloggs TV series in 84/85 and even becoming the European Champion in 1985 in Barcelona, Spain. Simon went on to follow his Dad’s footsteps working in TV as a Sound Engineer working on many well-known TV shows and Films over the years including, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Les Miserables, which even won an Oscar for as part of the Team. Simon has still not forgotten his roots, as he’s a regular at various London tracks just riding for fun.
One of the most iconic events during the 80s in the UK has to be the 1983 Halfords’ Indoor Open BMX Championships held at the NEC in Birmingham. With entries from the majority of the top riders in both UKBMX and NBMXA it was one of the few events that was not for National points yet all the big names lined up on the gate. Bob Haro was flown in from the US, there was TV, the main-stream media was present, which was another huge step forward for the sport in the UK at the time. Channel 4 had a weekly TV bike program at the time called, “On Your Bikes”, which was presented by Road and Tour de France commentator, Phil Liggitt. The show documented BMX numerous times during its air time putting out full-episodes on the Halfords NEC with insight and interviews with Bob Haro and Andy Ruffell. In the racing, Andy Ruffell was beaten in the 16 year old final by Redline’s Tony Slater with Tim March, sporting Skyway Graphite mags, demolished the 17 plus final over Sean Calvert and Malc Stapleton. Other winners throughout the age groups were, Ben Bishop, John Harding, Richard Hunt, Jason Crosby, John Greaves, Darren Page, Wayne Llewellyn, Kevin Hayes, Jason Maloney and Harvey Munkton. In the Freestyle event, Andy Ruffell took the win over Craig Campbell and Mike Pardon who were announced joint 2nd with Andy Preston in 4th.