Dale Holmes

    In 1986 at the Slough, England BMX World Championships I had a chance meeting with Dale Holmes as a 14 year old. We hung out for a week with a bunch of other riders and rode around the outer suburbs of London. In 2000 at Evansville Indiana in good ol’ USA, I bumped into Dale Holmes again, this time he’s a successful AA Pro riding for a living and flying the Nirve colours. He’s a former World Champion and World Cup Champion, we had a few words about the old times, but it inspired me to do this interview. Ok how did you get started in BMX Racing?
    Dale: I saw a BMX magazine back in like 1980, then I got a bike the next Christmas and started racing about 1982. I never stopped since. Do you remember how you went at your first race?
    Dale: Yeah it was a local race in Nottingham, England. I got a 4th on my Raleigh. How many riders were there?
    Dale: Wow, there would have been about 200ish at the whole race. Ok so you were about 10 years old then right?
    Dale: I started doing nationals the next year, around that age.

    2000pitt5 What was your first big win?
    Dale: During 1983, 1984 I won a lot of 2nds and 3rds at nationals. I was the small guy in the age class. In 1985 at age 13 I found myself on the JMC team, and started winning nationals. That year I finished up with national number 1 in the NBMXA in England.

    My first win was at the Slough national 85 in London. When did you race your first world championships?
    Dale: It was 1986 at Slough, England. Actually that’s were I met you when you were on your CW. I was on Powerlite at the time and I got 3rd in cruiser and crashed in the semi in 14 expert. Ahh, now those were the days. You stayed in the camping area at the soccer ovals right?
    Dale: Yep I still remember it, my family and I camped there. I had a great time, we stayed there all week, riding round the town, getting into trouble. I still to this day can’t remember how I ended up tagging along with you guys…I remember riding around castles and through narrow paved streets.

    The camping ground was pretty amazing a huge mixture of Nationalities and Cultures with one thing in common, BMX. Did you take advantage of the Fair that was set up?
    Dale: That’s right, we (the English) were, and still are, a friendly bunch of bmxers, who wanted to mess around and have fun at the races. Back in the day at the big Euro races, the night before the races, the only rides still up messing around were the English, we always had fun.

    You remember the fair, we were there trying to scam on Corine Dorland, the hot girl racer from Holland that won the worlds like 10 times! I don’t remember that, are you telling me that I was I trying to scam on Corine with you?
    Dale: I don’t remember, but no one scammed her I do remember that. I do remember some friendly local girls who just wanted to talk to me because of my accent, and I think they wanted an update on Neighbours.
    Dale: English birds are a friendly bunch? By the way what’s the latest on Home and Away, how’s the Coffee shop? I’ll have to find out for you.
    Dale: Is Mrs Mangle dead yet on Neighbours or did she shack up with Jason Donavan? Mrs Mangle?…you watch too much TV.
    Dale: Ha Ha I thought you might be able to tell me what happened to Jason Donovan.
    Dale: I think he lives in London now, he’s some kind of junky I think, with no hair. Has he shacked up with Boy George?
    Dale: Hay he’s a cool DJ now in England. Ok Mr defensive.
    Dale: …he’s still a bit gay a reckon. Who Jason or George?
    Dale: George, I think Jason’s still getting it on with Kylie, ha ha. Hey, I heard rumours you’d been seen getting it on with Kylie.
    Dale: I did for a while, but she left me for Sean Dwight, and if you are reading this Sean you owe me $100 from that night out in Vegas! Ok back to Slough…what was the name of that Castle we rode near?
    Dale: Windsor Castle…where the Queen chills out sometimes. What happened after the Slough worlds? Did you go to the European championships? I was trying to enter because my mother is from Holland but they wouldn’t let me ride.
    Dale: No the Euros was a few weeks before, I just went to school and raced in England and discovered puberty. What were your strongest subjects at school? What did you want to be when you finished?
    Dale: I was really good at not paying attention, and I was always looking at girls. My local track was near school and always open, so my friends and I would sometimes ride to school but somehow end up at the track! I wanted to race, and turned pro at 16 in England. I did a few jobs here and there, but mainly raced. I am sure there was a big race in Holland after the 86 worlds.
    Dale: There may have been some big open European race. I guess if there was you missed it! Weet-a-bix were the sponsor of the 86 worlds do they still exist?
    Dale: Yeah they do, I eat them when I’m in England. At what stage did you decide to go to the US to race?
    Dale: I went to the US on and off during the winter, starting around 92. Normally it would be for about 3 months, I’d go race and ride. I stayed with Todd Lyons, Pistol Pete, Christophe sometimes and sometimes with Neal Wood. I made the full on move after I won the worlds in 1996. Did you win the World Cup before the World Championships?
    Dale: No I won that 1997. I traveled back to Europe a lot that summer. I won that and the European Championships. I think Jamie Staff won it before me. So at what stage did you get a ride with GT?
    Dale: I rode for GT Europe and England since 92. What did you think of the World Cup as a series?
    Dale: It was a good idea what Gerrit Does had. The UCI didn’t support it that much. The Americans didn’t come race it, so it didn’t really take off. There was the lack of big sponsors. I did have fun at the race in World Cup race in Australia. I have got to come back one day. Which World Cup? The one in Geelong in 1997 or at Melbourne in 1998?
    Dale: The one in 1997, I stayed 2-3 weeks in Australia, and had a great time. Last time I spoke to you about going to Australia you were starting to get sick of travelling.
    Dale: Yeah I do, sometimes it’s hard, but I will make it back there one day, I love it there. When you were here where did you go other than to the races?
    Dale: I hung out in Sydney and Melbourne, with Brian Piece, Jessy Carson, John Johnson, Sean Dwight, Darren Hawkins, we had a good laugh. You were here also in late 97 at the Cash Dash too where Sean took you out big time in the main…did you two have a discussion after that?
    Dale: Yeah he took me out, I wasn’t that mad we’re still friends. It was only a few bucks, anyway they DQed him and gave me 3rd, when I crossed the line in 8th? Would you come back to race or do the touristy stuff? What is it about Australia that you love so much? Kylie?
    Dale: I like the touristy stuff, the country is crossed between England and America, and the people are cool. I wish I could have come to Sydney for the Olympics, it looked so rad on TV. What do you think of the skill level of the Australian riders?
    Dale: I think the Australian’s do squats in there sleep! You guys are all big boys, who supplies the Sause over there?

    2000pitt20 The Sause?
    Dale: You guys have a sausy reputation, from back in the day! Squats in their sleep? I think that’s just Sean…have you seen the legs on that guy?
    Dale: Yeah and the rest of them. Like who?
    Dale: Oh you want names? Yeah come on give us names.
    Dale: What year shall I start, 80s or 90s. 80’s with Andrew Figlamini.
    Dale: He was too young to do sause, but he was shaving at 13! How’s Howie (Anthony Waye) theses days? Is he still around? I hear Howie is selling second hand cars on the Gold Coast…he stopped racing back in 1995.
    Dale: That Jonny Katakazi was a smooth rider, he had no power. Jonny K is a vet now…at one stage I think he thought he was a race horse.
    Dale: Paul Adams what happened to him? Man…you do know a lot about Australian BMX.
    Dale: …He had small legs! I’m not sure, I think he stopped racing way back early 90’s.
    Dale: How about Jason Norman. Where the hell are you getting these names from?
    Dale: Tim Ward. Tim Ward had big legs.
    Dale: mmmmm…Leigh Egan…small guy. Leigh was huge… he owns a bike shop in Shepparton now.
    Dale: let me see, who else? Glenn Rawson
    Dale: he was fast, yep, team Crisp? Then there’s Justin Ransom. Glenn Rawson was sponsored by everyone…GT, Diamond Back, Elf, etc…have you got Sean Dwight there with you?
    Dale: with me?
    What about Darren Hill. Did you see him at the Olympics?
    Dale: Yeah not that good this year. Graham Sharman and his sister. Ok stop now. I know you are cheating.
    Dale: I’m cheating, what u mean? What is Andy Ruffle doing these days?
    Dale: TV producer fat and smokes fags…which means cigarettes hehehehe
    Dale: I’m pretty good hey? You would have to have an Aussie with you to tell you all those names. Ok what about Glen Feist?
    Dale: I swear I don’t, I know my BMX trivia. Billy Dixon?
    Dale: Auburn. Where did you learn about these guys?
    Dale: I have got some videos and Magazines. You got Aussie Videos and Magazines?
    Dale: Yeah the 1989 worlds Bill got 2nd behind Norman, 3rd was Tim Ward.
    Hey, how many kids Danial Sprague have now? I hear he’s starting his own football team, but hey that’s just a rumour.
    Dale: I heard he’s got kids all over America, then did a runner. That’s exactly what I heard…he’s not racing anymore.
    Did you come to Brisbane Australia for the 89 worlds
    Dale: No, but I got the video. That track was Awesome.
    Dale: Awesomely long, with no jumps, but for the time it looked ok. Maybe my memory is giving way again.
    Dale: You’re getting old, like me! Hey that track is still ahead of it’s time if you compare it to some of today’s tracks…what about the Cash Dash Track?
    Dale: Same as most of your tracks long, wide open, for suiting the sausy riders. Nothing like the 98 worlds huh?
    Dale: Yeah that track was not a world caliber track. Carl Wilson should have known better! Carl says that the track that was designed didn’t fit and the bobcat guys just did what they could to make it fit. We don’t have many indoor races, there would have been about 6 that I know of in the 19 years I have been racing.
    Dale: They should have had it at the Gold Coast. You’ve raced at a few worlds now, was that the worst track you have ever ridden at that level?
    Dale: It was a good weekend though. 1993 in Holland was a joke, 1991 Norway was good, this years Championship in Argentina sucked too. It sucked? but you got 3rd?
    Dale: Yeah I was happy with that, but the organisation and track was not good. I had fun there though. I just remembered Leigh Egan finished BMX because he lost the tips of a couple of fingers in someone’s chain wheel. At the cash dash track in the second corner…I have that on video.
    Dale: sounds painful, who won it? I’m sure it was. I don’t know who won.
    Dale: Cameron Mitchell My word!!!
    Dale: …on Diamond Back You remember Cameron?
    Dale: I’m good hey… at the 1983 worlds in Holland. He doubled 2 years in a row at the age of 8 or something ridiculously young, and won Australian Sports man of the year if I remember correctly.
    Dale: I’ve got the video. Did you see the video of the 86 worlds?
    Dale: Oh yeah I got it. I had it but lent it to someone, who lent it to someone, who lent it to someone who lost it.
    Dale: Never lend out your videos, you will never get them back Thanks mum. Do you remember Jodie Wallan?
    Dale: No, is that a girl? Yeah…she would have been on the 1986 worlds video wearing green blue and white gear (PRM racing uniform).
    Dale: Abe is still around, but he’s forgotten everyone’s names now…nice bloke. Yeah apparently…we never see him over this side of the country.
    Dale: “Blow away them spokes”. “You son of a gun, you beauty one”.
    Dale: He just goes to the worlds. he’s with the UCI commission isnt he?
    Dale: I think so.
    “Do me more do me right, do me any way u like!” hehehehe…that’s a good headline for the interview.
    Dale: Right. I think it’s actually “Do me wrong do me right do me any way you like”
    Dale: “Round the kuka kuharah turn!” Oh man…now you have been paying way too much attention to Abe. (I believe you can get some medication for that)
    Dale: No I have just got lots of worlds videos. Hey you were living with Neal Wood right? Have you moved with him to his new house?
    Dale: Yeah, in Huntington Beach, it’s nice 4 bedrooms and a jacuzzi. Is it just you and Neal?
    Dale: No, Martin and Steven Murray live there too, they’re English BMXers as well. Doesn’t Neal mind you hogging the phone while you are on the internet?
    Dale: I got my own line. How much would you say you use the internet? What was it that got you on the internet in the first place?
    Dale: Well I’ve only been on about a year, but when I’m home around 2 hours a day. It’s fun, I keep in touch with a lot of my old friends in England. I got started because Neal had it, he was always on it, so I got hucked from him. What websites do you check out?
    Dale: bmxultra, BMXMania, check it out, When I bumped into you at the Summer Nationals in Evansville did you recognise me because of the website?
    Dale: Yeah, because I know Jerry from BMXmania, and you were with him, then I remember reading that you were staying with him (from his site). I guess nothing much slips past you Mr BMX Trivia?
    Dale: No, nothing. What sort of music do you listen to?
    Dale: I like dance stuff, rock, old 80s, i like Limp Bizkit and Rolf Harris Hehehe…Rolf Harris…did you ever watch his TV series?
    Dale: Yeah, it sucked! What do you think of Neil Young?
    Dale: Not much. Do you and Neal fight over whos music is going to play on the stereo?
    Dale: No, we both got our own stereos, we like different stuff. Did you hear Rolf’s version of Stairway to Heaven?
    Dale: Yeah, I say again it sucks and so does Rolf, and so does Harold Bishop and Sons And Daughters…do you remember that soap opera? Yeah I’m trying to ignore it.
    What about Prisioner…I’m surprised you havent mentioned that yet.
    Dale: Yeah I didn’t watch that. At Evansville you and Robbie Miranda had a bit of a running in it must have been hard on Neal, with his team mate and room mate having a ‘disagreement’.
    Dale: No, he thought it was funny, so did I. I just wanted to wind Robbie up. Have you guys sorted things out then?
    Dale: Yeah, it’s all heat of the moment stuff. Bob and I talk now, I ride the skate park with him and Tara. You not only wound him up his race clothes were all torn up.
    Dale: No they weren’t They were, you can see it on the Evansville pictures I took of him on my site.
    Dale: We didn’t fight, maybe that was from when I sent him over the turn, down the cliff. Yeah that’s what I meant.
    Dale: He did pimp me back in the next main though. I saw, I have it on video, but you couldn’t see over the 4th corner just one of you wouldn’t come out of it.
    Check the pants in these photos.


    Dale: Yeah it’s all good now.
    So why are the Aussies so fast? Gee with your knowledge I thought you could tell me.
    Dale: You tell me. I can’t explain it…racing isn’t that big here…we wouldn’t have as many fast riders as the US but the one’s we do have fly.
    Dale: Fly where to the chemist? Just joking. I have spoken to people in the US, like John Kovachi, and he thinks it has to do with the coaching thing we have going here, but that wasn’t around when Cameron Mitchell was winning.
    Dale: Right you guys are good in a lot of sports, sausin’…oh…I mean swimming! Just joking!
    Oh yeah sorry about my spelling. I hope you can spell cheak it for me. That’s ok I’ll run it through a checker later. How’s things with Nirve? Are they looking after you?
    Dale: Yeah things over at Nirve are going great, it’s going to get big I think, I’m stoked. So you’re getting comfortable there? Do you have much to do with the design of the race bikes?
    Dale: Yeah I get lots of input with products, wait until you see our new Voxom cranks, they rule. I want to get involved with the company as much as possible, so when I’m done racing I can work with the company. You also ride Mountain Bikes right?
    Dale: Yeah I’m riding a bit, I hope to race some duel slalom world cups next year for Nirve. Do you skate, snowboard, wakeboard or anything like that?
    Dale: No I enjoy watching all that stuff, but no time to do it. Nirve caters for all those sports. Back to the riding…who do you train with? What would a normal weeks training include?
    Dale: I train a lot on my own, my trainer Lewis Wong rides sometimes with me, and sometimes I ride with Dave Cullian. When I go to the track and trails most AA pros are there to ride with, gym and sprint stuff I keep to myself. What do you think is the fastest natural way to increase track speed?
    Dale: Leading a healthy lifestyle, gates, and gym, or train with the Aussies!
    Anything else? I’m having fun. This is a good interview. Yeah I’m thinking this will be longer than the Harry Leary interview I did.
    Dale: Oh shit that’s long. Hope this is more fun. Did you read it?
    Dale: Yeah, it was good, but long. Harry Leary is a legend. Yeah that was a huge interview, I wasn’t sure if I should have cut a lot out. But heck people have read it, and I enjoyed doing it.
    Dale: Yeah, it was cool. Who is your favourite rider of all time and why?
    Dale: Let’s see, that’s hard, in the old days, it was a lot of English guys you wouldn’t know. I read a lot about Greg Hill, Harry Leary, then I liked Eric Carter, Mike King, then Christophe Leveque, he inspired me. I think Christophe inspired the whole BMX world.
    Dale: For sure. Christophe took BMX to a new level.
    Now, I guess, Thomas Allier would be the best now but the future Mario Soto. Why is Mario so fast when he’s so damn small?
    Dale: He carries no weight, pedals in good circles, he has mad skills, he’s young, and he wants it. What did you think of the Vans Triple Crown series?
    Dale: It’s rad, maybe too rad for me, but I want to ride some trails more this winter and give it a good go next year, it’s scary, but good for the sport. You raced it this year didn’t you?
    Dale: I did the first one, I didn’t race round 2 and 3, the tracks scared me. I know where you are coming from…I used to think I was the only person in the world who would admit a track scared me.
    Dale: I’m not afraid to say what’s on my mind good or bad, that’s me. I’m OK with big jumps, but downhill was a whole different game. I hope I can get into it. I guess that the Dual Slalom riding will help?
    Dale: The only thing that will help is a confident strong mind to attack it.
    Dale: Where are you in Australia? I’m in Melbourne, in a Northern suburb called Coburg about 7 kms from the center of the city
    Dale: Cool When you get on the internet and chat do people believe who you are?
    Dale: I talk to all my BMX friends there, we go under other BMX names for code, like old school people or officials we hate. It’s so funny.

    2000evan16 What would you be doing if you weren’t a BMX pro?
    Dale: Wow, I’m not sure, maybe working in the pub industry with my dad, married, kids, a drunk, I’m not sure, I’m glad I found BMX. What part of England are you originally from?
    Dale: Derbyshire, right in the middle of England, near Nottingham, Robin Hood and all that stuff, in the country, it’s cool I like it. There’s sheep, horses, local pubs, and good places to ride. How many people live in Derbyshire?
    Dale: No idea, I lived in a small village called Loscoe, it’s not as busy as London. Do you think you’ll go back there to live, when you are finished with racing, after having spent so much time in the US?
    Dale: I think about it all the time, at first I was going to go home when I’m done, but the more I stay the more I like Cali, I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the US, I don’t think. But I’m 50/50 at the moment about where I want to be when I’m done. Southern Cali is expensive to live at the moment. Your about 29 now right? How many years do you think you have left in you for BMX?
    Dale: I think no more than 3, 32 will be time to hang it up, I still feel good. Motivation is hard sometimes for me, training is the easy part. It’s hard to get on the gate mentally 35 weekends 20 times a weekend. Sometimes I put it into automatic and see what happens, and still ride consistently. When I really want it top 3 in the mains is not that hard to do. Do you think if they reduce the number of races it would be less of a drain on your body and mind.
    Dale: Sure, that’s right, but you get behind in points. This year I missed some races, the rest did me good. I went through a lot of changes this year, new team, bikes, problem with old sponsors, one of my best friends Rob Indri died, I went through a lot. I’m resting now, and going come out with a hard push next year. How do you deal with all that? Are you always under pressure to perform?
    Dale: No Nirve support me fully on what I want to do. Of course they want results, and so do I. I had an OK year, but I know I can do better. I’m not pressured or stressed out, home life is good, I’m excited about next year. You have won the World Championships…and the world cup (twice wasn’t it?) What are your goals now?
    Dale: I would like to win a 20inch title, who wouldn’t, next year I want to ride consistently, win some big races. Low numbers and respect come with that, I would like to win the worlds again, that would be cool. Are you the only Englishman to have won the World Championships?
    Dale: In elite or pro, Jamie Staff has won cruiser, Dylan Clayton and a lot of other English have won expert titles over the years. But not the 20 inch pro?
    Dale: No just me. Talking about Dylan Clayton…why hasn’t he made the move to the US?
    Dale: No he still lives and races BMX and mountain bikes in England, he likes it over there and has no plans to make the move. He likes the party scene in England too much to leave I think. He’s still fast. We saw that at the worlds in 98 that’s why I asked…are there others like him in the UK that just don’t want to make the move?
    Dale: There’s a bunch of young guys coming up right now from England that are fast, Martin Murray, Kelvin Batey, Laurance Mapp, all will be up there, I think, in the next few years. Martin is out here staying with us now for 6 months. These three want it. Do you help them out with training and racing tips? Or do you let them learn for themselves?
    Dale: Yeah I help them a lot, Jamie and Neal do too. Martin’s motivated to work hard this winter, so we can all push each other. They have a national team in England who helps out the young up and comers in the UK. It’s a good program. There is a certain bonding between you Neal and Jamie isn’t there, did that happen before you all moved to the States?
    Dale: I’ve raced Neal since I was 12, we use to hate loosing to each other, each of us devastated if the other won. It’s the same with Jamie. I have raced him for over 10 years. We’ve all had our fall outs with each other, but at the same time pushed each other to go faster. I hated them both on the track and do whatever I need to do to beat them, without cheating, that was in the old Days. Now we are 3 English guys with respect for each other, living our dream in America, we’re all good mates. I’m happy for both of them when things go well for them, but I would still cut them off, ha ha. You said you like to travel and do touristy stuff, what have you seen of the World because of BMX?
    Dale: Yes, I guess I’m lucky really, BMX has taken me to many cool places, I’ve met loads of interesting people, seen the world, learned a lot, all thanks BMX. I’ve met some nice girlys too. hehehe…what was the single best place/thing you have seen or done because of BMX?
    Dale: OK, I guess it’s living in America. I like visiting the pay out window at the races too!

    2000evan18 Have you been to Gracelands?
    Dale: I’m afraid not. Have you been to the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
    Dale: No none of that stuff… I’ve been to Todd Lyons’ house. Hey, that’s cool…what about Hawaii?
    Dale: Yeah I’ve been there, to Maui, it was so relaxing. What did you do there? Just hang out?
    Dale: Yeah, just went there to take a break. did you try any surfing or anything like that?
    Dale: No just swam in the ocean, and layed in the sun with my old bird at the time. You don’t mind a bit of sun…was that because of your sun deprivation in the UK?
    Dale: That’s right, when I get in the sun I make the most of it, you don’t see too much sun in England. How far is Neal’s house from the beach?
    Dale: About a mile, it’s in a perfect location, I’m on the same street as where Nirve is as well. 10 minutes ride to sheep hills, 15 minutes drive to the track, and 15 minutes to the airport. From what I hear you guys would have to have a big garage, what cars do you drive?
    Dale: I got a Toyota truck and a BMW M3. M3, that’s a convertible right?
    Dale: No it’s a regular one, it’s black. Is the BMW to get that James Bond appeal?
    Dale: No just a little treat I got myself. You don’t have any motorbikes?
    Dale: No, I like watching them but I don’t have one, I think they’re too dangerous. When did you get your first Tattoo.
    Dale: Oh, wow, around 1994 I think, no more now though, I’m over it. When did you get the UCI band?
    Dale: After I won the worlds in 1996. Just so I remember it when I’m a weak old man, sitting in my chair, smoking my pipe, thinking about the good old days. Who are your sponsors and who would you like to thank?
    Dale: Thanks to Nirve, Scott, Gary, Bill, Doug and everyone else there. UGP, Oakley, Airwalk, Voxom, Powerbar, ODI, Troy Lee Designs, Sun Ringle, Profile and also thanks to my mum and dad. Shout out to Flemdog, the Muzzas, Neal, Bobby Hyde, P, Cully, Lewis, Danial, Keechy and anyone that knows me and that’s helped me out.

    Interviewed: 27 October 2000