Tuesday, February 12, 2008

1980 - 1981

Some people might remember racing BMX at Hill Park off 23rd and Maywood. It was pretty much Cyclo-Cross with BMX bikes because the course was just laid out on the grass. No jumps, just turns and grass. No starting gate either. He would pound a stake in the ground, attach a piece of surgical tubing to it, then pull the other end across the start line, then we would all line up our front tires to it. He would tell us "Riders Ready!", then he let go of the tubing (Back then it was called the "Rubber band start")

Soon the riders who were good got interested in the National scene and National events. Although the name IBMA (International Bicycle Motocross Association) sound really big, it was no more than one guy running BMX races every weekend locally. Attendance at that time was probably around 300+ racers. To get national points we needed the IBMA to become part of the ABA (American Bicycle Association). At the time there was also the NBL (National Bicycle League, Mostly East Coast). We chose the ABA because of what I call "The Nebraska connection". The Omaha area had 4 to 5 racers that traveled the US.
Joe Baumert
Greg Grubbs (Became the first X-Games BMX Commentator)
Chris Heyden
Tim Littlethorpe (Who started Reach bicycle Co. and is still involved with BMX behind the scenes)
Rex Reason (Who became a Cat-1 road racer)

Obviously since the Nebraska boys were ABA we went after ABA, and basically our people met there people and hatched out a plan to get the IBMA to change to the ABA. The IBMA (Ed) didn’t like that Idea. . . . Stop me if you’ve heard this one before . . . . we were Banned from IBMA events/or the only thing going on local. So our parents formed the PBMA in association with the ABA. The IBMA withered away and the PBMA went on.

This is a list of the Kids who’s parents founded and spread the sport of BMX through the greater Kansas City area about 27 years ago. I’d post the parents name, but I can only remember more Kids names than parents. Not that nationaly proganized BMX wouldn’t have found its in Kansas city, It's these people who donated time and effort to do it. It maybe documented some place, but I can’t find it.

Tim Applegate
Jason Beaman
Norman Jones
Jeff Simmons
Mike & Sheri Barry
Tim, Jeff, and Missy Sparks
George Stewart
Steve Shope
Scott & Mark Bilbrey
Trevor Litton
Neal Banks
Doug Prather
Mark Delaney (Later ran Shamrock BMX in Wyandotte, KS)
Drew Jameson (Later ran the VFW BMX in Roeland Park, KS)

George Austin (The first Kansas City area ABA member).

I probably forgot a few, and if I think of them. Or somebody reminds me I’ll edit this

The PBMA’s first track was located off 93rd street between Blue ridge and Bannister Mall. . . . (Of special note this is where Dennis McCoy got his start in BMX. Before he made his success with freestyle in the ESPN X-Games, he used to race BMX.) . . . You can still see in the field just west of the bridge the old car tires that used to line the track. That track was closed because the neighbors didn’t like it. So the City forced us out and we moved to Harris Park in Lees Summit. Where I big building stand now used to be a corral that we converted in to a BMX track. Lee’s Summit close the corral and built a building on it. So the PBMA built a BMX track where the KCIR motocross track is/was. That was in 1986-87 about the time I made my departure from BMX.

Other tracks in Kansas City were
Shamrock BMX in Wyandotte, KS; Ran by the Delaney’s
VFW BMX in Roeland Park, KS; Ran by Drew Jameson
Track II in Liberty, MO; I forgot who ran it. It was close because the section of I-435 running from Liberty to the airport wasn’t built yet, and the track was in the way.
Blue Spring BMX; built in conjunction with the PBMA and (Jim Talley, Owner of Village Peddler Schwinn).

Back to 1981. After a couple years (79-81) I was traveling around the national scene I got my first real BMX bike.

This is a picture of my first real race bike. Not too many kids had a BMX bike with
Campy Super record cranks,
Bulls-eye bottom bracket,
Bob Reddy (magnesium pedals with titanium axles),
Tange MX-5 Aluminum Headset,
Torker 6 bolt stem,
Robinson narrow profile bars,
Dia-Comp MX-1000 brakes,
Phil-Wood hubs, (Back when they were made from 3 pieces)
DT double butted spokes w/Alu nipples
Araya-N rims,
Tioga MX-4 tires
Oakley grips (Moose Antler)
I Used only Phil wood grease and Energonics gold chain lube. (Are you kidding me, I can’t believe I remembered Energonics Gold Chain Lube).
I used to ride to school on it from time to time, but for the most part I rode my old Mongoose for obvious reasons. It just happened to be coincidence I rode it the one time the school was giving the bicycles safety inspections and my JMC didn’t pass because I didn’t have reflectors. Well goes to show you can’t please everybody.


Anonymous said...

Shope...is that you? If you remember we walked a large ABA banner around Downs Arena chanting ABA, ABA, ABA to get Ed Bonderant to make the move.

Good times!

Anonymous said...

PBMA's first track at Benjamin Stables.... That happened because Tim Sparks mom Pearl was a friend of Mr. Benjamin. She was the one who got the ball rolling on that.

Mr. DeGroot and Mr. Applegate did a lot of work with the track and always asked for rider input on track design and changes.

Anonymous said...