History 1968-1974

History of BMX (1968 - 1974)

Year 1968.

1968 - How bmx started in the USA.

The film ON ANY SUNDAY trickered off the start of BMX racing. Demo's in that motorcycle film on a BMX bike by Bob Hannah. Bob Hannah became America's most famous moto-cross star in the 250 cc Class in the '70s and was team-member of Pierre Karsmakers (my brother in law) in the USA Yamaha motocross team. Pierre started to import BMX bikes and parts early 1976 and the first official importer wiht special BMX stuff.

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On this site you will find an article on Pierre Karsmakers career in sports called, "the Pierre "Pepe" Karsmakers story".


Year 1969.

1969 - Palms Park in Santa Monica, Ca. - USA

Ron Mackler, the park attendant, helped organize the first ever registered bmx race on request of a batch of local kids riding Schwinn Stingrays, at the Palms Park. Ron Mackler, Grandfather of BMX in the USA, ran the Palm Park BMX races in West Los Angeles from 1969 through 1984. Later Mr. Rich Lee took over.


Year 1970.

1970 - B.U.M.S. track in Long Beach, Ca. - USA

13 year old motorcycle racer called Scott Breithaupt pulled out old dusty trophies and held his first BMX race in a nearby dirt lot. Entry fee was a quarter. 30 kids raced the first day. 150 showed up the week after. One of the most famous kids that came out of the B.U.M.S. track was a long hair kid with real tall, goofy handlebars on his Schwinn Stingray named ... Bob Hannah, yep, him again. 1971

The movie "ON ANY Sunday II" had some opening scenes with a few "jumps" by BMX racers. The producer Mr. Bruce Brown had asked some of his neighborhood kids the pretend their BMX bikes were motorcycles. Touched by these opening scenes were future NBA founder Ernie Alexander, BMX Action's magazine Bob Osborn and manufacturer Chuck Robinson. It is credited that those few minutes in the opening scenes of ON ANY SUNDAY is really what opened the doors for BMX.

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Year 1971.

Year 1972.

1972 - Indian Dunes in Valencia, Ca. - USA

Records show that a BMX track operated for a very short time at the Indian Dunes motorcycle park. It is noted as the third track in BMX history. Late 1972 at Malibu, Ca. - USA, John and Don Dryer started running races in their backyard. After complains of neighbors they had to stop their activities.

Malibu, Ca.- USA

The Dreyer brothers did not give up. A new location was found up in the Malibu Canyon.

Soledad Sands, Ca.- USA

A guy with motorcycle roots, named Ernie Alexander opened the first gnarly downhill track in BMX.


Year 1973.

1973 - NBA (California-USA) was founded.

About six month later he (Ernie Alexander)founded the NBA - National Bicycle Association, BMX's first official sanctioning body.

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Late 1973,

the first straight-tube BMX frame was made. Marvin Church Sr. cut up an old Schwinn Stingray for his son, welded straight tubes to it and raised the bottom bracket, allowing use for longer 6 ½ inch cranks.

This first ever BMX publication,

hits the bike shops in California. In June 1973 in Orange, Ca. - USA, BICYCLE MOTOCROSS saw the light. Editor/publisher was Elaine Holt. In the first issue had an interview with Scot Breithaupt and a test on the about 19 kg Yamaha moto-bike. Officially listed in this magazine four tracks: Palms Park - Escape Country - B.U.M.S. and Dominquez Park Elaine Holt is the originator of the bicycle motocross media.

Seen here an article in BMX PLus of 1980, handling about the start of BMX in the USA in around 1973. More specific Bob Hannah, top moto-cross professional started out as a BMX racer seen here on a Schwinn Stingray bike holding number 44. Read article for details.

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Year 1974.

1974 - BMX racing was introduced through MX magazines as seen here: MOTOCROSS ACTION MAGAZINE with on front cover BMX and an article on BMX inside was very good promotion.

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Early 1974, Mike Devitt of Dirtmaster (later on SE-Racing and now Alliant Bicycles - year 2002) had"The Manual of Bicycle Motocross"booklet issued. A booklet to explain what what motocross is, how to get started, where to ride, how to ride and so on, a technical guidline to start racing BMX in general.

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Note Gerrit Does: Mike Devitt did sent me a copy of this unique document June 10th. 2002, to use on my website. Much appreciated Mike, thanks!

1974 - the NBA (National Bicycle Association) held there first BMX "national".

Actually, it was several races, called the Yamaha Gold Cup series. Qualifiers were held all over LA and San Diego The finals took place at the LA Coliseum.

Yamaha, who was introducing their 20 inch suspension "Moto bike", put up $ 100,000 for promotion for the event. The track was laid out around a football field with haybales and featured fiberglass berms, wooden jumps and water holes. Sports illustrated covered it and famed moto-cross announcer Larry Huffman (Supermouth Huffman) manned the mic. Coincidentally, Scot Breithaupt who helped them put the series together was DQ'ed from the event because on the race poster was stated "Age 6 through 16". Scot was too ...... old ! The final was filmed and I still own 6a copy of this YAMAHA GOLD CUP final held in the LA Coliseum.

1974 - the NBL - National Bicycle League, Pompano, Fl. - USA was founded.

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The NBL - National Bicycle League, was founded in 1974 by Mr. George E. Esser. In fact George was at first the head of the NML - National Motorcycle League. He promoted motorcycle races. During a bike show in Miami Beach, George got in contact with dealers that were interested getting BMX off the ground in their area. It was then that George founded the N.B.L. - National Bicycle League as a second organization. Now he was running 2 organizations. Bicycle dealers did put on races and George was in charge of office logistics, promotions and getting a magazine off the ground (Bicycles Today).

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On January 26th the first NBL race was held, in Miami Hollywood Speedway Park. About 50 racers competed and George's son Greg Esser won 14 & over class. Some time later, Greg Esser became the first official PRO number ONE rider of the NBL. Not long after the NBL started, they branched out of Florida as well. One of their first contacts was with Bob Tedesco in Pittsburg and then they started bringing stracks together. As you can see, almost all those involved in BMX in the early days, did have their roots in motorcycling.

Late 1974

Following Yamaha's footsteps, Kawasaki introduces an aluminum shocker. Part-time Hollywood stunt-man and part-time motorcycle gas-tank maker Gary Littlejohn and his partner Murphy, adds the first production rigid BMX frame to his line of products that already included sidehacks and mono-shocks.

I am proud to say, that I - Gerrit Does- was inducted in the ABA Hall of Fame of BMX in 1998 together with Gary Littlejohn, Anthony Sewell (r.i.p.)and BMX star Gary Ellis jr.

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Meanwhile, across town in Chatsworth, a BMX father named Linn Kastan creates the first pair of tubular BMX forks in the workshop of his company - REDLINE, a speedway motorcycle frame builder. About the same time, another BMX dad (and part-time drag racer) named Skip Hess is working on the first mag wheels for BMX bikes. Little did he know, at the time, that the MotoMag would sell millions.

The craze had begun. From here on out, BMX went berserk. It spread like wildfire into what the sport is today (a remark from around 2000).

1974, my first visit to the USA concerned motorcycle moto-cross.

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On request of a local promoter, mr. Ed Bondurant, I did spent some time in Kansas City teaching young motocross riders the European way of physical training for moto-cross. These moto-cross training camps had about 40 till 50 riders and besides physical training, also the technique was trained with the help of 2 Dutch top riders, Frans Karsmakers (younger brother of Pierre Karsmakers) and Henny Beekmans. Promoter of this project was, who later on became a BMX promoter as well. We stayed as quests at Jaxon Bradley's house and Jaxon is up till today a very close friend of mine.

As mentioned in the introduction of the History of BMX, during my stay back then and there I did see a BMX bike at a Yamaha motorcycle dealer in Kansas City: a Yamaha mono-shock bicycle (picture above).

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Additional info I received from a USA BMX pioneer, mr. Scot Breithaupt (sent to me in 2001).

Here's my view of some of the USA History of BMX my friend .......... TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH. Signed: Scot, The OM.

1968: The film ON ANY SUNDAY trickered off the start of BMX racing. Demo's in that motorcycle film on a BMX bike by Bob Hannah.

Scot's addition:
**There were lots of us in Van Nuys that day, jumping bikes for a guy named Bruce Brown and Don Shoemaker I did not know Bob (meaning Bob Hannah)at that time.
But we did have several battles at B.U.M.S. (where I knocked him down to win the '73 State Championships.. heheheh) at SOLEDAD and later in motorcycles where he killed me !!"Bob Hannah became America's most famous moto-cross star in the 250 cc Class in the '70's and was team-member ofPierre Karsmakers (my brother in law) in the USA Yamaha motocross team.

1969: Palms Park in Santa Monica, Ca. - USA Ron Mackler the park attendant helped organize the first ever registered bmx race on request of a batch of local kids riding Schwinn Stingrays, at the Palms Park. One year later mr. Rich Lee took over for Mackler.

Scot's addition:
** I have no proof of this date. I do have an article from Bicycle Motocross news in 1974 that shows the awards being given out forPALMS 2nd season. I raced some of their first races in 1974. Soooo I think they actually started in 1973. We already had several tracks going by then.

1970: B.U.M.S. track in Long Beach, Ca. - USA 13 year old motorcycle racer called SCOT BREITHAUPT pulled out old dusty trophies and held his first BMX race in a nearby dirt lot. Entry fee was a quarter. 30 kids raced the first day. 150 showed up next week. One of the most famous kids that came out of the B.U.M.S. track was a long hair kid with real tall, goofy handlebars on his Schwinn Stingray named ... Bob Hannah, yep, him again. Check out this picture op Bob Hannah ......

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Scot's addition:
**I have pics of Bob & I from B.U.M.S.; somewhere will forward when I find them.

1971: The movie "ON ANY Sunday II" had some opening scenes with a few "jumps" by BMX racers.

Scot's addition:
**Attached is a picture from On Any Sunday II where I did the POV shots with a 35 MM film camera duct taped to my bike !!! it was 1978.. not 71 for nr.II. I did a jump over 75 feet that day, it was at the CORONA Downhill track,

The producer mr. Bruce Brown had asked some of his neighborhood kids the pretend their BMX bikes were motorcycles. Touched by these opening scenes were future NBA founder Ernie Alexander, BMX Action's magazine Bob Osborn and manufacturer Chuck Robinson. It is credited that those few minutes in the opening scenes of ON ANY SUNDAY is really what opened the doors for BMX.

1972: Indian Dunes in Valencia, Ca. - USA. Records show that a BMX track operated for a very short time at the Indian Dunes motorcycle park. It is noted as the third track in BMX history. The Dunes track was not started until 1975.

Scot's addition:
**Other tracks already going included Escape Country, Malibu, Saddleback, Soledad Sands, Fountain Valley, La Palma, Dominguez , Merrit College (Nor Cal) Yarnell, and BUMS I & II.

Late 1972 at Malibu, Ca. - USA, John and Don Dryer started running races in their backyard. After complains of neighbors they had to stop their activities.
1973: Malibu, Ca.- USA, The Dreyer brothers did not give up. A new location was found up in the Malibu Canyon.

Scot's addition:
**This was a nudist camp. We had GREAT fun racing there, hahahah.

1973: Soledad Sands, Ca.- USA guy with motorcycle roots, named Ernie Alexander opened the first gnarly downhill track in BMX.

Scot's addition:
**An awesome track. Fast with a giant wooden jump near the finish. Was the site of the Second Annual Yamaha Bicycle Gold Cup I promoted, where we held 10 competitions like an ISDT. (1975)

1973: NBA (California-USA) was founded. About six month later he (Ernie Alexander) founded the NBA - National Bicycle Association, BMX's first official sanctioning body.

Scot's addition:
**Actually B.U.M.S. was the first sanctioning body in 1971. We had membership cards, t-shirts , rules and a points system. Members from Northern Cal to San Diego.

1973: Late 1973, the first straight-tube BMX frame was made. Marvin Church Sr. cut up an old Schwinn Stingray for his son, welded straight tubes to it and raised the bottom bracket, allowing use for longer 6 ½ inch cranks.

Scot's addition:
**Mike Devitt with a company called Bike Ette made some of the first parts like fenders, handlebars and gas tanks. Also D & L Trickray (A division of Unifilter co.) made some parts and sticker sets too.

1973: This first ever BMX publication hits the bike shops in California. In June 1973 in Orange, Ca. - USA, BICYCLE MOTOCROSS NEWS saw the light. Editor/publisher was Elaine Holt.

'Scot's addition: **In the first issue an interview with Scot Breithaupt and a test on the about 19 kg Yamaha moto-bike. Officially listed in this magazine four tracks: Palms Park - Escape Country - B.U.M.S. and Dominquez Park Elaine Holt is the originator of the bicycle motocross media.

1974: The NBA held there first BMX "National". Actually, it was several races, called the Yamaha Gold Cup series. Qualifiers were held all over LA and San Diego. The finals took place at the LA Coliseum.

scannen00681974_7468248_n.jpg_yamaha_gold_cup1974 yamaha goldcup 13465 n

Scot's addition:

**Totally incorrect. Not to take away anything from Ernie. He did a lot of good for the sport. BUT... he had absolutely NOTHING to do with the Gold Cup series. I conceptualized the entire series for the Motobike intro. I designed the course, over saw it's construction with Fantasy Inc. (A division of Disneyland) where we built all the ramps and fiberglass berms. I also worked with the PR dept. at Yamaha and got us on various TV shows including the "Tonight Show" where Bill Cosby was the host (Johny Carson was out sick). I jumped over Cosby on TV. I laid out the courses and as you say, raced in the first event on my Proto Motobike. It had a Titainium swing arm and YZ 80 front forks! Mike Devitt, then of Dirt master, had me disqualified on a age technicality. His riders then got 2nd and third.....(they were over age also, as were 12 of the 15 in the main event!!!! hahaha.
Ernie did however come to the LA event, but did not work for me. Later in 1976, I loaned the ramps and berms to Ernie for a race (NBA National) in Las Vegas. The "turkey" left them there and the track owner kept them because Ernie owed him money !!! I lost the entire track system !!! Could have shot him!! Haha. And two years later I loaned him my 1/2 pipe demo ramp (same one Van's and BMXA Used) and ...... he lost that one too or sold it! He still owes me.

Remark GD: Indeed Scot, I do have the original film of the Yamaha Gold Cup at the LA Coliseum and in the comment on the film it all is stated as you say. The film however is totaly waisted (too many shows) I do have it placed on video now.

1974: Yamaha, who was introducing their 20 inch suspension "Moto bike", put up $ 100,000 for promotion for the event. The track was laid out around a football field with haybales and featured fiberglass berms, wooden jumps and water holes. Sports illustrated covered it and famed moto-cross announcer Larry Huffman(Supermouth Huffman) manned the mic. Coincidentally, Scot Breithaupt who helped them put the series together was DQ'ed from the event because on the race poster was stated "Age 6 through 16". Scot was too old !
The final was filmed and I still own a copy of this YAMAHA GOLD CUP final held in the LA Coliseum.

Remark GD: Years later I did meet Larry "Supermounth" Huffman at moto-cross events, my borther in law Pierre Karsmakers, introduced me to him. By then I knew him already from that Yamaha Gold Cup film.

Late 1974: Following Yamaha's footsteps, Kawasaki introduces an aluminum shocker. Part-time Hollywood stunt-man and part-time motorcycle gas-tank maker Gary Littlejohn and his partner Murphy, adds the first production rigid BMX frame to his line of products that already included sidehacks and mono-shocks.I am proud to say, that I - Gerrit Does- was inducted in the ABA Hall of Fame of BMX in 1998 together with Gary Littlejohn and BMX star Gary Ellis. Meanwhile, across town in Chatsworth, a BMX father named Linn Kastan creates the first pair of tubular BMX forks in the workshop of his company - Redline, a speedway motorcycle frame builder.About the same time, another BMX dad (and part-time drag racer) named Skip Hessis working on the first mag wheels for BMX bikes. Little did he know, at the time, that the MotoMag would sell millions. The craze had begun. From here on out, BMX went berserk. It spread like wildfire into what the sport is today.

End of Scot Breithaupt's additions. Thanks Scot !

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