Texas Classic BMX Days
What happens when a guy with deep Texas BMX roots and an avid collector from California have a bright idea for a vintage BMX race and show in the Lone Star State? Well, if you are B.R. Anderson and Rob Lane you throw caution to the wind and plan the inaugural Texas Classic BMX Days! Then you pull in several rabid BMX maniacs like Rusty Roberts, Rusty Dial, and Tim Shaffer. You set up a weekly Zoom call, rip the brakes off, and go full speed ahead. The Cycle Ranch in Floresville, TX was quickly identified as a great venue, having a natural hilly profile and all the infrastructure to host an event like this. After that it’s just a matter of setting up a whole race crew, building a track, fabricating a gate, lining up sponsors, organizing a charity BBQ dinner, booking a band, identifying show bike classes, ordering awards, staging the venue, developing a logo, ordering shirts, stickers and signage, designing flyers, hiring two announcers, organizing a swap meet, getting the word out, and convincing volunteers to come work in 105 degree heat for 14 hours a day. No problemo!!
We all know BMXers are not normal, so things ramped up quickly and all challenges were overcome! Come race weekend there were a hundred bad-to-the bone show bikes dating from 1975-present and racers from California, Kansas, Nebraska, Louisiana, and as far aways as Connecticut and Rhode Island. The who’s who of Texas BMX royalty were there with Mark Gonzo Summers, Rusty Roberts, Dee Chips, Todd Slavik, Kevin Hull, Rusty Dial, Jeff Osmus, Tim Shaffer, Mike Holland, Tony Lopez, and Cody Smart to name a few. Some were racing, some were showing bikes, and some were doing it all! Even Stompin’ Stu Thomsen was on hand to take photos, sign autographs and catch all the racing action.
The track was so fun; downhill with three straights, loose dirt, a killer euro turn, and a fun style-friendly step-down jump at the finish line. Whew boy, that walk back up to the gate was something else, though! Classes were broken down by decade and bike type with a coaster brake class, pit bikes, suspension, cruisers and a 50 and Over Open, too. They even did lane assignment the old fashion way; with a water jug and ping pong balls. I can’t believe so many old-timers raced multiple classes with Connecticut’s Mike Savage earning the Iron Man award, racing and winning four classes. You’d think age (of the bikes and the riders) would play a role in how intense the racing was. Nah, dudes were pinning it every lap; diving inside, block passes, finish line lunges, and even shoulder bumps (right, Rusty?)! Tim Lillethorup and Tim “Big Air” Shaffer were tied for points going into the cruiser main and things got dusty in the first turn. Austin’s Kent Snead was fifth gear pinned all weekend! I wish I got a photo of his yard sale bail in the soft stuff after the finish line. Thanks go out to the Lone Star BMX track crew for running the race; moto sheets, staging, and scoring; even running a single points USABMX race in conjunction with the vintage races. It was so cool to see the young riders on flat pedals and navigating the loose turns and downhill slope! Stand out performances were also put in by Crit Plate’s Curtis Bland, Anthony Flying O’mie Chambers, Dave VonTesmar, and Mark Darcy.
When I say the show bikes were amazing that’s just because I don’t have a very big vocabulary. I’ve been in the sport for over 40 years and I saw bikes I didn’t know existed! Before the event I had not heard of Tyler Collins, the Chromoly Kid, out of California, but I certainly know who he is now! Tyler brought the heat and won the Suspension category (Redline), 20” pre-76 (Champion), Sidehack (RRS), Survivor (Redline Pro-Line), and Pit Bike (Redline Squareback). The Texas boys were not holding back either with Phillip Delfield’s Torker arsenal and Shaffer’s 90s bikes and 79 Powerlite three-bar; while Tony Lopez’ 1981 RRS 24” took 80-86 cruiser and Grand Champion (perfect score from every judge I’m told). Tim’s 1978 Don Johle Robinson was a time capsule and so tricked out! I had never seen the Robinson with that gusset before. If the show gets any bigger next year it’ll be as tight as sardines under the pavilion; and that’ll be a good thing.
Saturday night was capped off with an awesome BBQ dinner benefitting the Leukemia Society’s Race for Life program, a live band, fireworks, and hours of BMX banter and memories. The history and stories in this crowd are so rich; shared experiences and hearing about awesome adventures from the legends that lived them!! Cool to see Race Ready and National Pro on hand as sponsors and donating raffle prizes. If this year’s event is any indication I’m eagerly looking forward to next year!
Words & Photos – Carl Lein