First, I wich you a mery christmas and a happy new year.... I was on of the first BMX riders in Belgium, I started in 1980 with guys like Peter van den Abeele, Chris Wouters, Chis Jacobs ect...
In 1981, we were members of the F.BMX.B, the president was Armand Blondiau (I am sure you know him.....). In 1983 I was a junior rider and we went to Slagharen, for the Worlds and there, I realised myself "wow, bmx is a great sport!" cause in Belgium, there was a stupid ruling, and in fact, this slowed down BMX..... and if you remember, in 1983 the BCB (Belgische Cyclo Bond) was born... all of the pilots went to the BCB but there was a war (this is the right word) between BCB and LBMXB (yes, they changed the name from Federation to Ligua) and if a pilot from one organization did ride on the other side, he was disqualified from the National Championship.... this was my case in 1985. I was the LBMXB # 1 (I won ALL races during that year) and there was a BCB race near my house. I took the start and I won... The next monday, I receive a letter from the LBMXB, "you are disqualified to take part in the Championship and excluded for 2 mounths to races.....". Cool no??? I was disgusted...
In 1985 there was the first FIAC Worlds, in Belgium. I was #2 and they kicked me off the Ligua because I took part in a race of the other federation, this sucks and in 1986 the first thing I do is take a BCB license. The only problem was the stupid "regional war" you know! In Belgium there are 3 official language, French, Dutch and German, since prehistory, all of them are in war because of that!!!! This is stupid but this year, there is again a problem with the Olympic Committee, only because the language position.... in 1986, I was one of the rare French speaking in BCB, a lot of riders did not like me, I was disgusted about this too.... and finaly, I stopped racing and changed to road bikes, freestyle and now in dirt, I am 35 years old and when I go on a race to take pictures for my website, I am very disappointed to watch a BMX race in Belgium... If the Dutch riders don't come, there will be only about 50 riders.... No need to say more he!
I went in Köln, for the IFMA bike challenge, wawwww freestyle is another thing.....there were rider from all around the world, a lot of spectators, this was great!!!!! I hope that freestyle is the future of BMX because all kids can ride freestyle, in his street, his backyard etc..... BMX racing needs a track, long travels.....Anyway.....BMX is fun, cool, a real life school for youg riders, BMX must not die, must stay alive, but how ? Some legendary people like you, worked hard for BMX, it must not end here. So far for now.
Response Gerrit Does:
Thanks for sending this message and as you can see, I placed it on my website. Looking back one can say Belgium had a very difficult start getting BMX organized. Specialy the fact that Belgium had 3 till about 4 so-called BMX organizations claiming to be the "leader organisation in BMX" in Belgium. Indeed the 2 strongest organisations were the B.C.B. (Albert Dekker) and th L.BMX.B. (Armand Blondiau). So much enercy and efforts lost in competition between them. Maybe 250 licenseholders in total in Belgium at the time. Another big problem was that there was ruling by BLOSO and others that little kids were not allowed to race BMX bikes in competition. When later on BMX became part of the Belgium Cycling Federation, the old cycling oientated officls and chairman Mr. Gallé, did not quite uderstand what BMX was all about. That did sow down BMX developing in Belgium again!
Probably you like BMX very much Joël, since you are still involved, despite the mishaps you mentioned during your racing career. Now-a-days BMX has improved a lot in Europe ánd in Belgium. Tracks are getting better, Belgium has some very good riders at international level and ....... there is NO WAR going on between BMX organisations anymore. I do see a good future for Belgium BMX, specialy since former top BMX'ers from the early days, who stopped riding for some time, are coming back into the sport as trainers, coaches, organizers and officials. THEY know BMX and they lived it, they do have the sport in their hearts and that is a big difference from when BMX started in Belgium in the 80's.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us Joël and all the best for the future, keep in touch!