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Thursday, June 10, 2010

two from back in the day

my bro Andy over at Bike Furniture Design recently emailed a couple of images scanned from his vast archive of cycling history. please take a few moments to visit Andy's photography website to check out more of the exciting work from this important and underrated artist.

here's a couple from the golden era of bmx racing:

North State Raceway- Marquette, Michigan

this was a 15x moto at what was probably a double points race or a qualifier for something, judging by the turnout. from left on the gate are: Frank Bink, John Duflo, Jim "Yellowman" Mercure, Ron Young.
i'm in the back row, waiting for my 16x moto. you can see me behind mr. "hang loose" GT rider, head down.
notice that the "olden style" wooden, manual gate required additional muscle to hold back the horsepower- there's another big guy on the right hand side doing the call and dropping the gate. that is how we rolled back in 1980, baby.
it wasn't long after Andy took this photo that the track got a new steel, electronic gate and timing light set-up installed. the canned call was the same every time now, at every track.

but i'm not really sure that it ever got any better.

Traverse City, Michigan BMX

Mrs. Anderson took a whole mob of us down to Traverse in the Winnebago for a big race... this was probably in 1979 based on my racing number and the fact that i have opted for a more casual fashionway instead of JT Racing slacks and fresh kicks.
i remember the track being really crappy at that time- a bunch of piles of dirt on the ground with a starting gate at one end and a finish line on the other. and not much grooming or flow in between, like we see on the nice, modern bmx tracks.

this is an action shot from the "jumping contest" which was sometimes a formal or informal affair that might be tied to the racing in some fashion or other. remember folks- this was when the earth was still cooling as far as bmx is concerned.
the object was to pedal at a furious rate of speed and fling oneself off the big pile of dirt and see who could fly the farthest and stick the landing. pretty simple, really.

this sort of activity fell from favor shortly after "doubles" were invented and we didn't have to land on flat ground like so many sacks of potatoes... okay, so maybe some things have gotten better.

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