I found this awhile back and have been wanting to post it. It is a pretty awesom list. I hope it doesnt take up too much space. It brings back some good memories and I think Gork should start working on the top 100 of the 00's for release next season. Maybe in Bmxworld?
Gorks top 90 of the 90’s
Ed Note: gOrk admits that this list is ABA biased
Throughout the entire 90’s, Marvin Nelson has held the prestige of being the “token old man” of our sport. Anybody who is asked the “Age” question , automatically brings up Marvin’s name as an example that you’re never too old to enjoy this sport. In 1990, the oldest cruiser class was 45 & Over. And Marvin was there. Today, it’s 51 & over... and Marvin is still there. Lovin’ it.
88. TANK CARDER
He’s been described as the 21 year old stuck in the body of a little kid. Tank ‘da Crank began his BMX career as an ornery lil’ 5 year old and was an instant superstar from the moment he got off training wheels. His numerous No.1’s have just begun; that is... if he sticks with it. To put it in perspective, Tank started off the same way that Mike King and Danny Nelson did and he’s right on target to followin their footsteps.
87. JOHN RANA
He represented Arizona BMX during the early 90’s, the way Andy Contes does today. Young Rana was an underdog-done-good, and played a vital part of the most controversial DQ in BMX history (see #45). His dad, Ken Rana, also deserves some credit for TM’ing the illustrious Colour Control, U.S.Colour and True-Colour/Titan teams. In 1990, the CC team won the ABA No.1 Bike Shop championship--thanks in part to the Rana clan.
86. MICHAEL BRANDT
For the entire decade, Mike Brandt has been the hottest property to come out of Florida. Sure--at times, other locals took the spotlight away from him (Dave Milham, Eric Abadessa, Kevin Tomko, or Mario Soto), but Brandt has been the one constant. He is the true representation of the fast ‘n thriving Florida BMX scene.
85. THE ALLEN’s
At the beginning of the 90’s, Neal Allen was a young pro from Maryland; where his dad, Kenny, operated ABA’s Columbia BMX track. As a 5-year veteran of the pro ranks, Neal was hired by the ABA in 1991 to drive their brand new 30 foot trailer around the country, and help put on the Summer Tour. Along with that task, he continued to race and was competitive in double-A. Another duty given to Neal was building tracks. And it is here, that the always comical elder Allen brother really made his mark. The first real “rhythm sections” (originally known as just “a 6-pack”) were perfected by the Narly One. Along with his father and younger brother Billy, the Allen family became a 3-man track-building machine that helped change the direction of the sport.
84. KENNY MAY
When you think of Kenny May, you think of him being carried off a track on a stretcher, only to see him show back up on the gate ten minutes later, all bandaged up. Then he’d smoke ‘em. The “May Day” attitude was all-out, never-back-off, go-for-it, and WFO. His impact on racing was just that; as he turned pro in 1990 and went on to back up his No.1 Am & Cruiser titles from 1988 with two consecutive No.1 Pro Cruiser titles (90 & 91). Even though he retired from fulltime racing in ‘93, we still got to see him return every once in a while; always showing signs that he still had what it took to hang with the best in BMX.
83. CLARENCE PERRY
He was one of the Northwest’s heavyweights during the late-70’s. And he was one of the premier pros of the mid-80’s. And throughout the 90’s, “The Earthquake” has once again made an even bigger name than himself (which is pretty hard to do) in his third decade of doing BMX. In his very late 30’s, Clarence continues to be The Man to beat in the 36-40 ranks, and keeps on making fans with his extremely friendly off-track persona.
82. DAVID MILHAM
If you were around in 1990, you might recall that the quiet kid from Florida made a buncha noise by earning the ABA No.1 Amateur title. But that’s not what he’s best known for. Big gears is more his claim to fame. With a 14 in the rear and a 48 in front, Milham can be credited for the odd-gearing trend that would later go on to sweep the tiny-tyke market.
81. KENDALL BURLESON
Yeah, he might not have lasted more than half of the 90’s, but man... when it comes down to a main event you don’t wanna take your eyes off, then you made sure you caught Kendall on the track. Why? because you just knew one of two things were going to happen. He was either going to 1) Fly around the track at super sonic speeds and win by an entire straightaway, or 2) He was going to explode in a fiery crash going at super sonic speeds. Which ever scenario took place (more often than not, it was No.2), Burleson put in some unforgettable races during the 90’s.
80. TARA LLANES
I can recall a time when girl racing was pretty darn boring. After Cheri Elliott retired in the mid-80’s, there weren’t any girls who were rad enough to catch the attention of the spectators. And then came Tara Llanes. She jumped. She went faster than all other girls. And she was just plain cool. Riding for Aussie and then Haro, Llanes spent years winning races and perfecting the skills that would take her on to mountain bike fame and fortune in the later half of the decade. You can credit her for bringing girl racing to another level.
79. ANTHONY REYES
The scrawny little kid sure could go fast. With an attitude to match, Reyes went from mighty munchkin to being one of the fastest older ams. During his years of racing, he kept all of his competition on their toes. Unfortunately, years of BMX superstardom caught up to him and burned him out before we could ever see what his true potential could be as a Pro.
78. STACI PATTON
When this freckle-faced girl first started racing BMX in Oklahoma City, her long-term goal was to someday be able to hang with Megan Long. Years later, she can not only “hang” with Megan, but as of late, has even beat #48. Together, the two fast chicks from the hicks have taken their age class to an even higher speed and skill level.
77. TRAVIS CHIPRES
As Mongoose’s right-hand man in the pro ranks, Travis Chipres officially retired from double-A in 1992 with an average ranking of 16.0. His impact on BMX would now be from behind a desk at Mongoose headquarters. For years, he made sure (#19) was taken care of. But when ABA formed the “Masters” class in 1993, Chip was there, back on a bike. Then came 1996, when Specialized jumped in to the BMX scene; hiring Travis to head-up their efforts. Chipres immediately hired the hottest up-and-comer to the Specialized team--a pro named Mike Hajek. At the same time, Travis would be one of only two guys (the other is # 59) able to beat the current dominators of the Masters ranks--Harry Leary and Eric Rupe. Toward the end of the 90’s, Travis was instrumental in making sure Specialized signed the hottest pro out there--(#4). The sad part is; no matter what he’s done, or what he will do in the future, Chip’s biggest claim to fame will always be as “Bart Connor’s stunt double in the movie RAD.”
76. NICK THOMPSON
It’s pretty rare when a 7 or 8 year old dirt squirt can negotiate a major contract with a factory. But that was tiny-tyke-on-a-bike sensation Nick Thompson’s story. As a virtual unknown, he came in and did what no one thought was possible--he ended Shawn Zorio’s 3-consec streak of Nag titles. At the height of his hype, he was fought over by GT and Haro; nearly causing WWIII in the BMX world. Nick had a ton of talent and is our crystal ball reads right; should be making a return in a few years (ala Robert MacPherson) as one of the top older ams.
75. A.J. ZABOJNIK
ABA’s very own Dean Hickey proudly tells us that he saw AJ’s very first race. And he says there was more to this Novice (who would go on to be undefeated in his first 30+ races) than a last name that was hard-to-pronounce. The kid almost became an overnight superstar in texas, and it didn’t take long for him to become one of the fastest rising stars on the national circuit; forcing all of his comp to catch up.
74. ALEXIS VERGARA
The turbo-powered Nor.Cal. kid has a long, looooong list of accomplishments during the 90’s. Up towards the top is his big Silver Cup for becoming No.1 Amateur in ‘91. Helping take the Dominos and T.H.E.#1 teams to Bike Shop championships is another. And don’t forget about taking GT and Haro~Crupi to Factory titles as well. It seemed as if wherever the Santa Clara local went, Championships followed... well, except for with Robinson. One of our favorite Vergara moments was in Reno, right after he’d been dropped by GT--”Turbo” went on to win 19-27x and as he crossed the finishline, he pointed up to their pits, as if saying “I’ve still got it.”
73. STEVE BUDENDECK
At the beginning of the 90’s, Steve was one of two 2-B’s. He and partner Hal Brindley were the original “t-shirt garage company” to make the bigtime. (Later, to protect the innocent, the name would be changed to Play Clothes.) Although he did race on occasion, shredding up the Intermediate ranks, Steve’s impact on the sport isn’t on how many mains events he made or won. His contribution is changing what kids read, how the kids looked, and what they rode. In 1994, Steve Buddendeck became editor of a brand new BMX magazine called SNAP. It’s first issue debuted in September of that year. This was the 90’s version of BMX ACTION; and quickly became the BMXer’s bible. In 1996, Buddendeck once again moved-on; this time to DK Products, as head of marketing. The 1-800-COLLECT deal, the Neal Wood project, the “Steel is Real” campaign, and DK Dirt Circuit jumping series are just four of his many offspring.
72. MIERSCH BROS.
Fallbrook brothers Larry and Eric Miersch came from a racing family. Whether it was drag boats, dragsters or BMX, they were raised to go fast and win. And with connections in those realms, Larry was constantly trying to bring on outside sponsorship to BMX. From his New York Seltzer days to the Tortilla Chip deal. In the mid-90’s, both Miersch’s were the hot bro-combo, and predicted to be the next Fosters if they kept it up. They didn’t. Eric retired to go dirt-jumping and made a brief appearance in ‘98 as an A-Pro. And after claiming a National No.1 Cruiser cup in ABA, Larry moved on to racing TAD dragsters.
71. JASON WHITTED
Kansas. That’s where it all started, and ended for lil’ Whitted. In 1990, he was a up and coming 11x riding for Ralph’s. He wore Clark Kent glasses and was small for his age. But with determination and a years of hard work, he slowly transformed in to Superman on the track. By the mid-90’s, the pride of Kansas was a regular in any national main. He’d become a factor. In 1997, Whitted made the big move--turning pro. Pretty much throughout his entire racing career, lack of proper sponsorship held Jason back. His pro impact was good, but not as great as it would’ve been if he’d come from California.
70. THE ARNDT’S
Throughout the years, there have been plenty of fast brothers, along with the occasional quick brother-sister combo. But until the Arndt’s, there had never been a family of four whose combined quickness would equal up to a coupla AA-pros. That is the B-named Arndt’s--Brandon, Bryan, Brock and Brooklyn. For the past half-decade, if you’re racing against any of the four... chances are; you “arndt” gonna win.
69. MATT POHLKAMP
The pride and joy of Ohio. Pohlkamp’s rise to the top of the BMX world began in ‘9?, when Schwinn started-up a full fledged team of A-pros and ams. New to the spotlight, Pohlkamp wasn’t new to the BMX scene; he’s been racing since an early age and slowly climbed his way to the top of the standings.
68. JOHN WHIPPERMAN
“Whip” is the epitome of today’s modern-day racer. He’s not 90’s. He’s Y2K. Ever since his introduction to the spotlight in the mid-90’s, Whipperman’s skills and style have ranked toward the top of the rhythm totem pole. But not so much as they have in 1999. With his major motocross influence, the Whippin’ Boy has picked right up where Ryan Vanderveen stepped off.
67. DAVID KELLEY
With his thick glasses, one couldn’t help but make Clark Kent comparisons. And the starting gate was his phone booth. On the track, Kelley turned in to Superman--taking multiple Nag No.1 plates, as well as Gold Cup, Roc and District. Although he moved on to mountain biking before earning the illustrious No.1 Amateur plate, we predict that he’ll be back for that someday.
66. LARRY CAMBRA
Like so many other GT or Haro riders before and after him, Larry Cambra was at the top of his class. For him, winning came as naturally as walking or talking. And also like so many other factory stars, years of constant travel and weekend after weekend of racing finally wore on him. In 1995, Cambra retired from BMX racing. For a brief period, he switched to mountain biking, as well as excelling in other sports. With multiple NAG championships, and constant contention for a National Amateur Cup, we’d like to think that out sport has not heard the last from Too Tall Larry. But even if it has, he left his big footprints on the sport he grew up in.
65. JOAN NIGRO
If you’re a mom racing BMX, chances are you’ve been beaten by her. If you’re a So.Cal. racer, you have her to thank for providing an incredible track in Simi Valley. The fact is, there is only one Factory-sponsored older woman in the sport and that is Diamondback’s Joan Nigro. And she has that ride for a reason--she helped take the Mom’s cruiser class to a much higher level of speed; turning that class from “weekend warrior mom” to “seriously-training BMX moms.” For those who still aren’t convinced of her status for making the Top-90 list, just get ahold of her World Cup victory at SanAntonio this year. Her “best race” of the World Cup should convince anyone.
64. SHAWN ZORIO
Before Tank Carder came along to be the “token Mighty Munchkin” of BMX, there was this quick kid--Shawn Zorio. He held factory Redline status, and had a winning streak a mile long. Zorio was one of those prodigy children, who practically learned how to ride without training wheels before he could walk. It’d be safe to assume he was an expert from the first day he took a lap at Orange Y’s track. From 6 years old to 8, Shawn had a firm grip on his Nag No.1 plate. Then, along came (#77). After moving to Nor.Cal., Zorio disappeared from the BMX scene and the last we heard; was riding off in to the sunset aboard a YZ-80, with dreams of becoming a supercross star.
63. CRAIG “DOC” PEARSON
He is, without argument, the fastest old man on a BMX bike. He just can’t be beat, plain and simple. A dentist by weekday and a BMX fanatic on weekend, “Doc” is responsible for taking the oldest cruiser ranks to speeds nobody ever thought we’d see. He took it from a class that “nobody but those who raced it really cared about,” to one that everyone watches today. Clipped-in, Doc proved to the entire BMX world that the elder statesmen of BMX that, at times, can put on a show just as exciting as pro.
62. T.J. LAVIN
When it came to racing, he was like the rest of us mediocre racers. Good but not great, you could say. But put a gigantic set of doubles in front of him with a 25 foot gap that resembles the grand canyon, and Las Vegas’ T.J.Lavin will make your jaw drop in the dirt. As a last-minute entry in the 19?? King of Dirt (due to the constant hounding and promise from his sponsor that “This kid won’t let you down”), Lavin became an instant superstar. An overnight sensation. All those cliches that ‘Vegas is famous for creating. After he won ABA’s KOD title, he didn’t mellow out any; and went on to nab a big-bucks sponsorship with Specialized and win his share of gold medals in the X-Games.
61. MARIO SOTO
Right this minute, right this year, Mario Soto is The Man. In the hunt for No.1 Amateur, he’s the guy with a huge target on his back. His supreme skills at highspeeds are unlike any other amateur in the sport; forcing the rest of them to either join him at a whole new level or get left behind. And for the moment, it looks like everyone has settled for being left behind. With plans to turn pro for 2000, Super Mario is destined for greatness in the pro ranks. I predict in 2009, Mario will be in the top-10 of the most influential racers of the millennium’s first decade.
60. BRANDON MEADOWS
It could be said that Brandon’s biggest contribution to the sport is being the icon of the “anti-factory” militia. He started off the 90’s as a bike shop rider; for S&S Racing out of Texas. After gaining national attention in ‘91, he joined the Powerlite team in 1992. All was fine and dandy until he had an “off” year and was dropped like an anvil. Meadows then came back faster and faster each year, and kept turning down factory offers to stay loyal to Herda’s Hotshots. A smart move, in a time when some bike shop budgets were larger than the factory teams out there. In 1997, Meadows became only the second Bike Shop rider to ever earn ABA’s No.1 Amateur title. In 1999, he finally gave in to factory offers and is now riding for Schwinn.
59. ZACK ROEBUCK
...and this here’s the first Bike Shop rider to ever earn ABA’s No.1 Amateur title. Riding for S&S, Zack Roebuck got the illustrious silver Cup in 1991, in the most controversial chase for No.1 Amateur. Coming in to the Grands ranked No.16, Zack’s win in 16x rocketed him straight to No.1. For some, it was no surprise--he’d won everything else that year; including District, ROC, Gold Cup and Texas State Champion. But to others, the way the win happened will always be questioned. (#88) was leading the Grands main and (#45) came basting in to the last turn, full-throttle. Do or die. Rana went over the berm and Luna bounced off him and held on to the lead, while the unknown Roebuck threaded the needle to nab second place. And then came the call; Luna was DQ’ed! Which gave Zack Attack the first place, the points and the No.1 Cup. History was made.
58. JASON RICHARDSON
Always one to speak his mind and tell you what he really thinks, Jason’s biggest contribution to the sport has been as “the union boss” for the double-A pros. His infamous “pro meeting” at Coal Canyon's Fallnationals did have a few lasting effects on the way BMX is ran today, and how the AA pros are treated by the ABA. Big checks and podiums to announce the top-3 finishers might not be done today if not for Richardson’s call to order. Up to that point, Jason has began the 90’s as a top amateur, riding for Auburn. He turned pro in 1992, and after the death of Auburn, he joined up with a brand new company entering the BMX market; Giant Bicycles and their Mosh line. Consistency could sum up Jason’s pro career. But consider the fact that all this time he has been a fulltime college student at San Diego State, going after a bachelor of science degree. Jason graduates this year and has proved to all 50,000 ABA members that you can balance both worlds of BMX and education.
57. TURNELL “TUNI” HENRY
There are a few reasons the legendary Tuni deserves a spot in the Top-90. For one, his longevity. Tuni not only prevailed in the 90’s, but also the 80’s and even the 70’s. As an Odyssey employee, you can also hold Tuni responsible for their commitment to BMX racing. Through much of this decade, Turnell was the runner-up man in Masters. Whether it was Leary or Rupe up front, Tuni always kept them honest. It’s a shame he never got a Master No.1 title; maybe induction in to the BMX Hall of Fame will suffice instead.
56. ERIC CARTER
What you may or may not know is that this year, Eric Carter had one of his best years in mountain bike racing ever. Also what you may not know is that E.C. was a longtime BMX fanatic and top Pro contender at the beginning of this decade. Racing pro for companies such as Brackens and Hyper, Carter was at the forefront of smoothness in rhythms... even before there were rhythms that we know of today. His influence carried over to such riding styles as Brian Foster and Mario Soto.
55. ANDRE ELLISON
Right now, Andre is 14 years old. And its obvious that the kid is destined for X-Games greatness. His talent for BMX racing has now expanded in to dirt jumping and street. He’s the wave of the future; the “do-it-all” type of rider that sponsors are going to look for in a few years. In other words; Andre is the Future.
54. SHANAHAN BROS.
Yes... brothers. At the beginning of the 90’s, both Brian and Dan Shanahan were two of the hottest up and coming brother-combos in the sport. Riding for Factory Elf, they had their untouchable years. But suddenly, they both temporarily retired to play roller hockey and do other “regular” activities. But for elder-brother Dan, it was a short retirement. It seemed as if he came back stronger than when he left, and he was definitely a lot bigger. GT promptly picked him up and he’s been on top of his game ever since. As for Brian; after a jumping injury in which he lost his spleen, he still attends many west coast ABA nationals, working as the Track Crew.
53. ALAN FOSTER
The business-minded half of the Foster Bros. can be credited for bringing Schwinn back in to the BMX picture, getting Airwalk involved in the sport, and showing that a pro can survive on the “mega cosponsor” card. And most importantly, he showed us that while doing all that, you can still get the racing done.
52. JUSTIN GREEN
After making a name for himself in the 80’s, Modesto’s Green Machine remained on top of his field all the way to the pro ranks. Holder of numerous Nag No.1’s and a 1990 National No.1 Cruiser plate, Justin seemed destined to become the next biggest threat in double-A pro. Racing since age 7, he’d put in his years as an amateur and devoted his life to BMX. But it all abruptly ended with a serious career-ending knee injury, that would redirect his goals from No.1 Pro to a college education and degree in marine biology.
51. BRENT LEE
Although he is not the biggest standout at ABA nationals, Washington’s Brent Lee is listed here for three reasons; his longevity, his style and his points. As of this writing, “Pee Wee” has accumulated 375,??? ABA points in his lifetime. It all dates back to 19??, when he first raced BMX as a ?? year old. Lasting throughout the entire 90’s (turning pro in 1998),
50. CECIL JOHNS
Out of all these people listed from the 90’s, very few can claim that they had their own language. And even fewer can claim to have been at the head of a half-state uprising. But Cecil can. He (along with a few other guys) is credited for creating Nor.Cal. pride. They way Nor.Cal. talked, the way Nor.Cal. rode, the way Nor.Cal. supported and cheered for eachother all stems from this guy.
49. KEVIN ROYAL
You could say that 1994 was the Royal Year. That was when Kevin took the No.1 Amateur title. And after lasting throughout the entire 90’s, racking up a impressive 5-consecutive NAG No.1’s on his 20 inch, Royal could very well earn another Amateur ranking before the end of the millennium. He is just as fast today, just as consistent and just as serious about BMX racing as when he first appeared at his local track and bought an ABA membership.
48. DAVE CULLINAN
You can’t keep the Culligan Man down. As a top-ranked Amateur, riding for Robinson, Cully was outspoken, super stylish, and ahead of his time. In fact, he was so far ahead of his time, that we all laughed when he wore spandex and traded in his BMX bike for a mountainbike. But he sure proved us wrong; winning a World Championship. Giving props to BMX all the way, Cullinan was the first (besides Tomac) to make the crossover. (#37) and (#10) would soon follow in his wake. Still occasionally returning to BMX, Cullinan’s story of mountain bike success
47. MEGAN LONG
Right now, Megan is the shining example of the the “future.” Not just the future of girls BMX racing, but the Future of All Cycling. She does it all; roadbikes, mountain bikes, track bikes, cyclocross. You name a bike and she’s not only raced it, but most likely won on it. Not just for all girls out there in ABA Land, but for the guys too, Megan is paving your way to Olympic superstardom, proving that BMX is the grassroots of tomorrows cycling.
46. MIKE REDMAN
Sure... his racing career in the 90’s was as short as his fuse, back then. Mike Redman was a rebel without any cause, who most likely holds the ABA record for most DQ’s and suspensions. But in the mid to late 90’s, Mike more than made up for his always controversial performance in the cruiser class. In ‘91 and ‘92, he was Pete Loncarevich’s personal trainer, taking him to his third and fourth No.1 Pro titles. In fact, practically every fast rider coming out of Southern California in the 90’s partially credits his performance to Redman. By ‘94, his company--Redman Cycles, was supporting an awesome team. Around this same time, Mike took over the reigns of Coal Canyon BMX track and turned it in to one of the fastest, high-caliber tracks in the ABA. His knowledge of BMX also came in handy the sports’ top BMX announcer; being able to call races without using moto sheets.
45. A.J. SJOSTROM
Call him “Mr.Points.” Sure, (#52) might have the most in a lifetime. But he never earned as many as A.J. did in one single year. In fact, NOBODY has (under the current ABA points system). A.J. did what most of us think is impossible; earning over 3?,000 in one season of nonstop racing. As I recall, A.J. (son of Carl Sjostrom; rack operator of Perris BMX in So.Cal.), racked up an impressive ?? wins in that year, with ?? finishes at ?? races. Put that in perspective of 330 days in a race season, and you’d better believe he raced his butt off in 19??.
44. MARLA BRADY
It seems pretty rare for a girl racer to last ten years in this sport. But Marla has. Way back in ‘91, she held the No.1 Girl plate in the ABA, and ever since then she’s been hooked. Being the sole representative of the state of Michigan, she has taught many riders how to race each year at Marquette’s Camp ABA (another rarity for girl racers). And with the introduction of Girls Pro in 1997, Marla’s years of persistence should now pay off.
43. CHRIS MOELLER
At the beginning of this decade, Chris Moeller was a young, punk dirt jumper who owned a small garage company. Using his status as magazine test rider and sarcastic writer (his DogBites article appeared in every issue of GO magazine), he’d already taken trail riding to an all new level of radness. His “anti-factory” image was just what the jumping world needed, and S&M Bikes really took off in the early-90’s. In racing, as well as in the industry, Moeller has continued to make headlines throughout this entire decade. He is credited for inventing “soul riding” (riding for fun, instead of money), and for creating the “hard-core” attitude and style that is found at trails all over America. With just as many enemies as he has fans, “Mad Dog” is one puppy that ain’t about to run away with its tail between its legs.
42. HOUSEMAN BROS.
Rich and Gary were incredible in the 80’s and they started off the 90’s just as quick. After appearing on the July 1991 cover of Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine (Gary was on Robinson, Rich was on Redline), the Houseman Bros. had taken their fair share of NAG No.1 titles. But years of traveling the national circuit finally caught up with them and a mid-90’s retirement was inevitable. But their urge to go fast on bicycles didn’t fade--and within a few years, both Rich and Gary were tearin’ it up on the NORBA mountain bike circuit. Today, they are two of the youngest rising Pros in dual slalom and downhill.
41. MIKE LUNA
His story will forever be told as an example of how rough the Grands can be. You think John Purse had it rough after winning 25 races in a season and then losing it after not making it out of his semi? Well how about Luna’s tale of woe? The year was 1991, site of the ABA Grands. Knowing what he needed to do to earn Amateur No.1, GT’s Mike Luna made a drastic move on John Rana in the final turn to get the win. But wait! Before he could even finish celebrating, a DQ was called. Luna was moved to last for action in the turn. Stripped of the Silver Cup he thought he’d just won. It’s a story that almost made GT pull out of all ABA racing and sponsorship... well, for about a half hour. But for all that he did for years before that, and the years after, during his years on Hutch and GT, Mike Luna made a definite dent on the BMX circuit and it was a sad day when he decided to quit racing before reaching his prime as a 19x.
40. GEORGE ANDREWS
“The Mangler” not only gets the award for Coolest Nickname of the 90’s, but he also deserves some sort of medal for Longevity. Throughout the entire decade, Rockford’s Andrews has been at the forefront of his age class. From his controversial move-overs on Brandon Meadows to his four-consecutive Nag No.1 plates, he’s been an exciting figure to watch.
39. MATT REILLY
It most likely won’t be until 2005 when some ABA member out there earns as many No.1 plates as Matt Reilly did during his career. With over 45 No.1’s on his resume, “Scat Matt” left his mark. And even though we’re not completely convinced that he can move on in to football without coming back to BMX, the ABA wishes him the best of luck. Matt represented the state of Missouri well throughout the entire 90’s, and did good for Cool Boys and Powerelite.
38. HEATHER BRUNS
Forever, she’ll be known as ABA’s first No.1 Pro Girl. But it wasn’t any overnight sensation story. Heather raced throughout the entire 90’s to get where she is today; on a Redman bike with a No.1 plate ziptied to the bars. as early as age 10, she was winning Nag No.1 plates, and taking on the best in BMX. Today, not much has changed; she’s just a lot older, has a drivers’ license and is winning money instead of trophies.
37. BRIAN LOPES
“Blue Ramp Brian” has come a long ways since winning the Guiness World Book of Records long-distance jumping contest. That small, skinny buck ‘n a quarter frame has now been transformed to one of the healthiest specimens in bicycling. Lopes, who still returns to BMX racing in mountain biking’s off-season, has become the crossover King. He brought over SPD pedals with great success and 2-speeds with no success. And he’s proved to all that no matter what bike you want to go fast on, it all starts with a BMX.
36. CHRIS BALDWIN
This Washington rider put the “bullet” in bullethead. To many, Baldwin is the guy responsible for making the past years’ “no-visor” fad fashionable. To others, he is one of the brightest stars on the BMX scene, who is destined for pro greatness if he keeps it up. As a late-bloomer to 90’s BMX, Baldwin only has a few successful years under his belt. But from the looks of things, there’s plenty more to come in the next quarter century.
35. BILLY GRIGGS
At the beginning of the 90’s, Mr.Bill was out to prove that, against all odds, he had what it takes to become No.1 Pro. And he came darn close. But toward the later half of this century, Griggs has proved to all that there is life after BMX, in BMX. As GT’s current R&D rider, engineer and designer, Billy is leading again; only this time it’s in unique frame designs and products.
34. TERRY TENETTE
At a time when all BMX pros rode pretty much the same, Mr.T had a style all his own. At the time, his super long 44 inch wheelbase frame was unheard of; but in a few years it would become what is now a XXL. And due to the lengthy frame, Terry’s wheelie-all-the-way-around-the-track style was another racing technique pretty much ahead of its time. In ‘93, Tenette added a astrict to his resume by winning ABA’s most-wanted silver Cup; for No.1 Pro Cruiser.
33. DWIGHT TARDY
When Dynomite Dwight first burst on the scene, you could compare him to a microwave. He was small. And he was HOT. And he’s partially responsible for making Powerlite the choice of many little tykes. Dwight’s winning streaks and consecutive NAG Championships was a major boost for whatever team he rode for.
32. WADE BOOTES
His was an amazing Cinderella story (Australian-version, that is). Coming to America with only $3,000 to his name. Traveling around the country in a rusty brown oil-leaking van he’d bought for $600. Sleeping at rest stops, going from race to race. And then whupping on Americans he’d read about and looked up to in magazines back home in Australia. Bootsy
31. JASON REAM
At first, riding for the infamous S&S team outta Texas, lil’ Jason Ream was fast but he seemed to blend in with most of his competition. What eventually made him stand out from the rest of his class was literally that. He sprouted up early and stood ABOVE all the guys he was racing (especially Donny Robinson). But don’t let Ream’s easygoing, quiet-off-the-track demeanor fool ya. Once the gate drops, he transforms in to a fierce competitor who is capable of leaving everyone in the dust. Future prediction? Amateur No.1, within the next two years.
30. CHAD HERNAEZ
In 19??, young Chad scored an impressive 2?,000 district points; the most points earned at the time. To do that, it meant he had to race every day of the week, and more than once on weekdays. So perhaps you can credit all of that point-chasing to what he has become today; as one of GT’s top older ams.
29. KIYOMI WALLER
On a cruiser, he seemed invincible. Yo-Yo worked his way to the very top pedestal of Pro 24 racing; not only once but three times. On or off the track, he represented everything BMX is all about.
28. IN HEE LEE
His BMX career didn’t end quite how we figured. Instead of going on to be one of the sports’ finest pros, In Hee Lee shocked everyone by giving it all up for a college education. And even more amazingly, he’s been able to stay away. But throughout the first seven years of the 90’s, the Fleein’ Korean won his share of races and No.1 plates; including back-to-back National Cruiser championships in ‘91 and ‘92.
27. GREG ROMERO
At the beginning of the 90’s, Greg was a hard working Amateur with dreams to be where he is at today. Not only has “Primo” made those dreams reality, but he has done it with the support of half a state; Northern California, cheering him on. As part of the whole Nor Cal Pride campaign, Romero has become one of the most flamboyant pros on the circuit; always giving the BMX media something to talk about; whether it be his infamous bike-tossing incident with Neal Wood, his winning the first Pioneer Monster-X, or him leading AA pro points for most of the ‘99 season... Greg is living proof that dreams do come true.
26. NICK HERDA
Yeah, he wasn’t super quick when it came to “old man” cruiser racing, but it’s what Nick brought to BMX that earns him a spot as one of the Top 90 Greatest BMXers of the 90’s. Around the early 90’s, Nick brought an excitement level to spectating that to this day is unmatched. His super-hyped screaming, pacing and running around while he cheered for his kids was incredible. Before long, Nick began sponsoring riders and “The Hotshots” were born. And then they grew. And grew. And before we knew it, the man who could never say “Sorry kid, I can’t sponsor you” had an Army-sized team that drove around in a red, white ‘n blue city transit bus. With four No.1 team trophies in five years, along with support for such superstars as Brandon Meadows and T.J. Lavin, there’s no denying that Nick Herda has made a hefty contribution to 90’s BMX.
25. DONNY ROBINSON
When you think of Donny Robinson, you probably think “amazing for his size.” When I think of Donny Robinson, I think back to ‘93, when he was 10 years old and jumping doubles that A-pros and older Ams were afraid of. I think of how the pros lining up in the gate for Pro Open would tell the starter to wait so they could stand there and enjoy watching this lil’ CFC-sponsored squirt jump the craziest obstacles on the course. And that was just the beginning. For over 7 years now, Donny has been amazing crowds and fellow racers by having more determination than the other seven guys on the gate have totaled up. With super smooth style and speed, he’s proven to all that BMX is not a sport of size or strength; it’s a sport of heart.
24. RANDY STUMPFHAUSER
Sure, you might not get too many words out of Fresno’s Stumpfhauser. But when you go as fast as he does; you let the riding speak for yourself. That has pretty much been the story of Stumpy during the 90’s. From a total unknown in the early 90’s, who Powerlite took a chance on, to him becoming National No.1 Cruiser back in ‘95, to him turning pro and winning the Golden Crank for Rookie of the year, to the Huffy Superstar he is today. Randy’s accomplished a lot in this decade... and he’s only just begun. Just wait until he can put in a full, injury-free season.
23. CHRIS SCHOONOVER
“Schoony” has been at the forefront of the “skinny white guy” revolution. During the 90’s, Chris, along with guys like (#37) and (#11), proved to the World that you don’t have to be a huge, muscular, bodybuilding, steroid-pumping meathead in order to go fast on a BMX bike. It’s guys like Schoony who gave hope to all of us frail BMXers who dig BMX. If Schoony can make AA mains and bang bars with AA’s who have 50 pounds on him, and do it on skills alone, then there’s hope for all of us. Thus, hundreds of racers who might’ve quit a long time ago, are still at it today.
22. JAMIE LILLY
Hard work, without ever giving up does pay off. And Jamie Lilly is solid proof of that statement. GT’s great hope for becoming No.1 Pro Girl is a shining example for all girl racers. Her first Nag No.1 title came in 1991, and ever since then, she has kept at it and never quit. Now, as the highest money-making girl in the sport, all those girls who quit and gave up a long time ago are probably kicking themselves, while Jamie has on her big ol’ smile that she’s quickly becoming famous for.
21. MATT HADAN
They don’t call him “The Master” for nothing. And they now call him “Diesel” for reasons we still don’t know. Fact is; Hadan’s put in a lifetime of BMX racing to become one of the sports’ longest lasting names. His reputation of racing clean, fair and always competitive is something for future generations to model themselves after.
20. BUBBA HARRIS
I’m no fortune telling gypsy, but I could tell back in ‘94, when this kid was as young as 8, that he was going to leave some big footprints in the sport of BMX. With some kids, it’s so obvious. You can plainly see the love for BMX racing, the desire to be No.1 and the determination to do whatever it takes to get there. Another reason for putting the Bubb’ster in the Top-20 of this list is the fact that for the past three years, he has helped train and coach more kids all over the United States than any other double-A pro out there.
To some, he’s the forefather of dirt jumping. Even before the beginnings of the 90’s, Tim “Fuzzy” Hall was leading the way for modern day thrashers. As the first guy to pull no-footed can cans (among MANY other things), Fuzzy has been there all along the way, watching dirt jumping go from Rich Bartlett’s backyard to ESPN. Jumping has grown, pro purses have grown, variations have grown and Fuzzy; who now has his own signature bike sold in Walmart, his own monthly column in SNAP magazine and his own mansion with a crazy backyard track, has been there all along holding the reigns.
18. GREG HILL
Many people might think that BMX Hall of Famer Greg Hill should be in the Top 10. And you might be right. Hill has not only lasted throughout half of the 70’s, all of the 80’s and all of the 90’s with unheard of dedication, but he’s done a lot for the sport of BMX. He brought BMX clinics to the sport, he loyally promoted Redline for five years, and he ends up this decade hawking a state-of-the-art fork design. Racing wise, he’s been all over the place; from Masters to A-pro, to AA, and then back again. Where ever he goes, or whatever he does, Hill leaves his mark.
17. ASHLEY RECKLAU
She’s picking right up where Cindy Davis left off. Of all the girl racers in the sport, Ashley’s BMX destiny is to earn more No.1 Girl titles than anyone else; and that includes one or two No.1 plates in Girl Pro.
16. THOMAS ALLIER
He came from France. And he didn’t come to lose. European Megastar Allier, with a UCI World Championship under his belt, came to America to stay and to leave his mark on the sport of BMX. Just as his fellow countrymen and former teammate had done (#4), Allier brought mad skills and talent that would force all other double-A’s to either step-up or get left behind. There’s no doubting that there’s a future No.1 plate in store for his future; it’s just a question of “when?”
15. PETE LONCAREVICH
In 1992, the BMXer named him the Greatest BMXer of All Time. And at the time, he was. “Pistol Pete” had just earned his fourth No.1 Pro title, and was nearing the end of a decade of ruling the pro ranks. Not long after he was given that title, Pete moved on to mountain bike racing and to this day, is doing almost as good in that realm as he did in our favorite sport. With No.1 Pro plates that span from 1984 to ‘92, and the second-most wins in BMX history, along with a Hall of Fame induction, the Pistol has left his mark in BMX.
14. HARRY LEARY
f you wanted to find the legendary Harry Leary during the 90’s, all you had to do was look out front of ABA's Masters or single-A pro class. In ‘93 and ‘94, Turbo Harry jetted to consecutive Masters titles. But winning on cruisers weren’t quite his bag, so he started up his own company, hopped back on a 20 inch, and reclassified to single-A. And even in his third decade of racing BMX, Harry hasn’t slowed down one bit. As holder of the “oldest double-A” award, Harry is now 41 years old and is still capable of whuppin’ up on kids literally half his age. In other words; he is the meter that all of us will use for measuring age.
13. BARRY NILSON
For three years in a row, “Beltbuckle” Barry has been King of the Cruiser class. He is the ruler of all middle-aged BMXers. Much like Leary, Barry can be used as the measuring stick of speed versus aging. In a seemingly short span, the 30-something cruiser ranks went from mediocre boredom to high thrills excitement. And Barry has been right there, leading the charge, and showing no signs of hitting the brakes.
12. CINDY DAVIS
No other girl has lasted longer or won as much in their career as “Loopy.” With five No.1 plates (two on 20”, three on her cruiser), Nor.Cal’s Davis seemed the most likely candidate to become ABA’s first No.1 Pro girl. But it wasn’t in Cindy’s cards, and a spree of injuries forced an early retirement before she could give a No.1 Pro Girl title an honest shot.
11. BRIAN FOSTER
The “Blue Falcon” is the walking, talking prototype for tomorrow’s BMXer. He’s the “do all” type of rider, who one week can be standing on the AA pro podium followed by winning a Gold Medal at the X-games the following weekend. He’s what every smart sponsor will be looking for in the future; fast, smooth and stylish.
10. MIKE KING
Not many riders can look at all the kids in BMX who are clipped in and say to themselves; “They probably wouldn’t be clipped in if it weren’t for me.” (And with Mikey’s confidence and flamboyancy, he might even joke about it outloud.) In ‘94, he and Lopes introduced the biggest controversy to rock our sport in this century; clipless pedals. King’s BMX career claims a total of three No.1 titles; but none of them were earned in the 90’s. For the majority of these past ten years, he’s concentrated on mountain bikes, with BMX racing coming secondary to winning NORBA and UCI World Championships. But still, for a “part time” BMXer, he still goes faster than most fulltime AA pros.
9. STEVE VELTMAN
The year 1993 was owned by one man, and one man only. With a record-making 13 wins in one season, and still standing record of 8-in-a-row, “Primetime” took not just the pro class, but the whole sport, to a whole new level on the skill chart. While riding for Boss, aboard his own signature frame, Steve speed-rolled obstacles like no other BMXer could. In fact, it took almost an entire year for the rest of the BMX world to catch up with him. If not for a plague of back pain and injuries, Steve probably could’ve earned 2 or 3 more Championships by now. Not one to ever give up, he still shows signs of greatness to this day.
8. ERIC RUPE
From ‘95 to ‘98, the father-of-3 known best as “Big Daddy,” pretty much owned ABA’s now defunct Master class. This added four more National No.1 cups to his collection of two (1987 & ‘88 pro cruiser). Not bad for a guy who started off the decade retired and working in a grocery store. Rupe’s story could be the “Comeback Story of the Century.” He returned as a part-time A-pro, rejoined Mongoose (for the third time in his career), and began training hard like he did in the 80’s.
7. ANDY CONTES
When “The Greek” finally got the No.1 Amateur plate last year (in his last year as an Amateur), it put an exclamation mark on an Amateur career that had seen its ups and downs, highs and lows. Andy’s story had been one of “Always coming close;” and better yet; “Never giving up.” He grew up on BMX, bouncing between teams such as Cool Boys, Free Agent, Haro~Crupi and finally landing with GT. He’d helped many of those teams win National titles, but still not one for himself.. In Andy’s final race as an amateur, his ultimate goal was finally achieved--he became ABA’s 1998 No.1 Am, and then turned pro as planned. It’d be safe to assume that Contes’ pro career will last throughout the 00’s, and that there’s a No.1 Pro title somewhere in there. Hopefully, it won’t take 10 years of trying.
6. DANNY NELSON
Just think--in 1990, Danny Nelson had just gotten his drivers license and started work on his second decade of BMX. Since the age of 6, he’d ridden for what’s known as “The Firm” (either GT, Robinson or Powerlite), and much to everyone’s surprise, he has kept on racing for almost 20 years now without ever dropping out of the spotlight. In Nelson’s first year of Pro, he earned the Golden Crank Award for “Rookie of the Year.” And he’s spent the first few years of pro gaining the experience that will someday soon earn him a No.1 Pro title in the ABA. These last few years, Thunder Dan has started coming in to his own; winning at least a coupla AA mains each year, and finally - this September, his nearly years of dedication paid off with with a NBL No.1 Pro plate!
5. ROBERT MacPHERSON
When “BigMac” showed up at the Fallnationals in ‘94, the last time we’d seen him was as a fast 14x riding for CW, winning the ‘85 Grands. It’d been nearly 10 years since his mysterious disappearance. But he returned with a vengeance and went on to win the ABA No.1 Amateur plate in his first full year back. Checking off that box on his list of goals, MacFearsome announced he’d turn pro, and eleven months later, he was in the hunt for the No.1 Pro championship.
4. CHRISTOPHE LEVEQUE
What can we say about Christophe Leveque that hasn’t already been said? On the track, he’s the ultimate foreign threat, in the pits he’s swooned over by every teenage girl racer and her mom, and in the sponsorship world he is the highest paid BMXer of the 90’s. So why is he ranked No.4 in this Top-90? In many peoples books, he’ll always be No.1.
3. CHARLES TOWNSEND
Out of the entire double-A pro class, only one name has lasted the entire decade without quitting. They call him The Amtrac. His mom calls him Charles. Townsend has remained consistent throughout all the 90’s, racking up over 250 main events with 32 wins. Whether 1999 is his last year, or he keeps chugging away at age 32, Chuck has laid a foundation for many racers chasing the dream of “making it” in BMX. Scribble him down as a future Hall of Famer.
2. JOHN PURSE
It was January 1990 when a very young redheaded Texan filled out his pro application. At the time, little did anyone except John Purse realize what he could accomplish. After moving through A-pro as quick as you can, John had a hard time adjusting to AA aggressiveness at first. For most of the first half of the decade, he became the guy the crowd loved to hate. Yet amazingly, he was able to turn things around toward the later half of the 90’s and quickly became the racer everyone loved to looked up to. This has been proven fact the past few years with multiple “popularity” awards; such as the NORA Cup and Golden Crank. And in 1997, he made it all come together with his first ABA Pro title. Without a doubt, The Jackal’s 1998 season, with a record-making 25 wins, will be what all Pros will shoot for in the 00’s. It’s a record that I predict, will stand untouched for the next decade.
And now... your No.1 most influential rider of the 90’s is... ...(drumroll, please)...
1. GARY ELLIS
He almost lasted the entire 90’s, but what he did during those 9 years will most likely stand for decades to come. When Gary Ellis retired at the end of the ‘98 season, he left behind a legacy of four National No.1 Pro titles; three of which were earned in the 90’s. His pro career lasted 15 years, and ended with a 3.0 average Pro ranking, winning 77 of his 299 AA mains. There should be no doubt that The Lumberjack is deserving of the title “Greatest BMXer of the 90’s.”