../events/1994 Backyard jam

Sources: Fat #29, Ride BMX US#12 october 1994, Props #3, Freedom #5, oldschoolbmxfrance.com, ...
If you want to add any info, please contact buissonrouge@23mag.com.
Event: 1994 Backyard jam.
Date: june 1994.
Place: Hastings, UK.
Organisation: Stu Dawkins

Franck Belliot, oldschoolbmxfrance.com: A l’époque, étudiant en GB à Brighton, je ne pouvais pas rater cet évènement à quelques km seulement de mon lieu de résidence. Filmé avec un bon vieux camescope VHS à grosse K7 et bricolée ensuite avec un magnétoscope… Avec entre autres, John Parker et son body varial, Jamie Bestwick déjà bien haut et bien propre, et le fameux parfait backflip rentré de John Petit. Que du bon !

greg herbeque
Gregory Herbeque

simon tabron
Simon Tabron no-footed flip.

John Parker on the cover of Ride BMX UK august 1994.
Mark Noble, Ride BMX US october 1994: If there's one event to kick off the summer in the UK harder than a smash in the face from Tyson, it would definitely be the annual Backyard Jam in Hastings. Even though it's called "Backyard," if doesn't actually take place in anyone's backyard. Backyard is the name of Stuart Dawkins' bike shop that runs the event. The combo of dirt jumping one day followed by a ramp contest the next, with the promise of visiting superstars from the good ol' US of A, plus some madcap new jump the size of the Grand Canyon all makes the weekend a bigger draw than the opening of a new topless bar on Sunset Strip giving away free drinks all night long (well, almost).
The '94 jam was fraught with problems from the outset. For one, the city council said that a music PA system could not be used on Sunday at the venue for the King of Dirt (Bexhill Track). Fine, so the KOD was moved to Saturday. Next thing, the council insisted on liability insurance of $7.5 million for the ramp jam (for one day), if it was to take place on the council provided ramp. Fine, Backyard, unable to pay for the insurance, then had to find a venue for the Rider Cup mobile half pipe. A suitable venue turned out to be a field in Hastings. Basically, the council were doing their best to stop the event from taking place-but were failing. Good.
Mark Noble, Ride BMX US october 1994: All was well on Saturday at the Bexhill track. Various people who slept in their cars trackside Friday night were woken up at five in the morning by a swarm of riders already up and jumping around the track. Way before breakfast time, the track and its new jumps had already claimed a couple of snapped bikes and busted collarbones. The track had installed two new jumps just for the contest: Crowhurst owner Dennis had made two metal curved transitions, one of which was built into the first straight tabletop, and the other was situated on top of the start hill to create a giant chasm. If you can imagine it, riders were supposed to launch off the metal ramp on top of the starting hill, clear the finish straight, and land in the back-straight's second berm-a gap of 35+ feet and deep enough for a fleet of London double decker buses.

Soon enough (well, one o'clock or so), the jumping contest got under way with C, B, and A groups riding in that order, with each rider having about six jumps each. The council had again banned music systems (even though this was a Saturday), so the sounds were provided by Clive Gosling commentating over a PA. With at least 750 people in the crowd, the atmosphere was a buzz. Riders found that the metal transition was launching them up higher than any dirt jump could. Anyone fancy a gulp of ozone layer?

Standouts ? Joe Sandland forward flipped, but over-rotated slightly and landed on his face. He can pull them at Crowhurst.
Fids, an ex-pro skater for Zorlac, has only been riding for 18 months or so, yet was burly to say the least. He had the biggest supermans, no-handers, and tabletopped toboggans. A few sketchy landings kept him off the winner's podium.
Simon Tabron has been entering a lot of dirt contests at UK races and has won four out of five so far-it shows. Riding with a broken thumb, Simon pulled out the biggest flips anyone had ever seen (no-footed at times), eagle nohanders, 360's, and more.
Mike Canning, however, took the win. His beefy style, along with variations that he held for the longest time, and smooth landings give Mike the deserved victory.
Two loons had a go jumping a sidehack.

After the 'regular" jumping contest, all the Evel Knievels lined up for the chasm jump. It wasn't so much a chasm, more like a time-zone. The riders were supposed to launch off a metal ramp on top of the starting hill, clear the finish straight, and land in the back-straight second berm, a gap of 36+ feet and deep enough for a fleet of London double decker buses. French rider Gregory Herbeque was the first to clear it perfectly. Ian Morris pulled a toboggan over it, Flemdog switch handed it, and even speed-king Dave Clymer (one of the USA visitors) tried a backflip over the dawned thing. He didn't pull it, but came kind of close. No one even bothered to judge the chasm session-anyone who cleared it was a winner.
Mark Noble, Ride BMX US october 1994: Backyard Saturday night is always a blast. Just as in previous years, everyone headed to the Crypt nightclub, but this time rider-band The Flying Medallions blew everyone in the packed club away with one of the craziest live performances in the history of punk rock music. Big things are in store for the band, who on off days go street ride around the financial district of London.
Mark Noble, Ride BMX US october 1994: Sunday, with a proper sound system going off (plenty of Ill Communication) and the sun blazing down, this was going to be a fine day. Again, over 750 people showed up to sit on the grass and watch ramp riding all day. Amazingly enough, some people had the nerve to complain about having to pay around $1.50 to watch the best vert riders in Europe plus John Parker riding. Sad, very sad.

The A group was stacked.
Stuart King was riding his new fork/stem combo and pulling pedal to pedal tailwhips, high busdrivers, and 540's.
Dennis Wingham came crazily close to pulling a forward flip air onto the deck.
John Taylor came the closest to pulling a flair.
Johnny Petit, riding for Parisian bike shop Cycles Jean Claude, was the only rider to pull off a backflip complete with rollback during the contest. Combined with tailwhips and other variations, Frenchy Johnny placed well (3rd ?).
Simon Tabron removed his knobbies and pulled large 540 variations, big airs, and tried his hardest to pull a flip (which he has done in the past many a time).
Jamie Bestwick all but rules UK vert. His gliding style, big tricks, back to back flowing lines, and impossible lip tricks scored big with the judging panel. 2nd place. Jamie is the best.
The winner, however, was Paso Robles, California local John Parker. Parker seems shy and mild off a bike, but is unruly on it: 7ft airs straight off a roll-in, the biggest twists, tailwhips, and back to back high variations showed that Parker was on the case in a big way. Even though he hangs up hard and wrecks headsets daily, Parker was the man on this day. 1st place.

After the contest, the stuntmen remained on the ramp to attempt the big tricks for the crowd. Parker tried body varials, double tailwhips, 900's, 540 to tailwhip, and a busdriver 540. Simon Tabron tried flips and came close to pulling a 900. The last man left standing was Dennis Wingham. A renowned crash-test dummy, Dennis attempted 900's, flip twists, and came crazily close to pulling a forward flip air onto the deck. It was the best showcase of stunts ever witnessed.

Armen Djerrahian, www.facebook.com, octobre 2011: Je me souviendrai toujours des mots de John Petit, alors qu'on était sur la plateforme avec Gougoul et Bestwick. Aprés son premier essai, le Geon revient sur la plateforme de notre côté et me fait: "Putain je crois que j'ai compris le truc, c'est de la misère en fait, le prochain c'est le bon...". Bestwick qui n'avait rien compris au français, a sentit qu'il se passait un truc et a gueulé je ne sais plus quoi à John, Gougoul et moi on s'est regardé, genre keski dit... et la seconde d'après, il rentrait son premier backflip! Je pense que c'est certainement le meilleur run qu'il n'ait jamais eu en rampe.

Shogun, www.facebook.com, april 2013: The best BMX week end ever, the vert comp was just amazing !
Mark Noble, Ride BMX US october 1994: After the trophies were handed out, the PA packed away, and the fat lady sang, everyone scampered for home. All except for Paul Brown and the truck driver Paul Parkinson who had to dismantle the entire halfpipe and load in into the semi-truck on their own. Big drinks for those guys.