Re Print: 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Backyard Jams
"By '97 the events had just got out of control!"
14 May 2015
Words by Backyard Jam Creator Stu Dawkins / Originally printed in DIG 90 'The Legends Issue' September 2012
1. One of the 'overseas professional riders' experienced a night of passion at the jam, resulting in the birth of twins 9 months later.
2. The name and the vibe of the event was heavily influenced by the infamous Mons Ramp Jam held in the '80s and organized by Mon Barbour.
3. We actually intended to put on a Backyard Jam in 1990 but the BMX events calendar was so full up with other events by the UKBFA (United Kingdom Bicycle Freestyle Association) that we had to postpone it to the following year.
4. During the early jams we'd often have to literally pull Tom Lynch (BMXer and qualified medic) from the crowd as we'd forgotten to arrange for any official ambulance medics. Thank you once again Tom! (Editor's note: Tom went on to create the world's first cycle mounted paramedic service.)
5. When asked by immigration why he was in the UK back in '94 Dave Clymer replied, "I've come here to flip to the chasm". He kept to his word and did little else apart from this.
6. One year there were so many riders from America and other countries attending that we'd hear that Customs officials at the airport (in London) were saying to riders, "Oh yeah, you're here for that BMX event…"
7. After returning from the Crypt (post jam party venue) on Saturday night in 1996, Mark Richards (legendary Backyard Jam filmer/editor) got jumped on by a couple of thugs who proceeded to take his video camera containing the footage of that day's dirt jumping event. After extensive pleading Mark managed to get both the tapes and camera back!
8. Due to rising costs we lost about £40k on the Sheffield event in 2006; time to call it a day!
9. Shortly before we were due to hold the 1992 Jam, the Hastings council deemed that the 36 foot wide 11 foot high halfpipe was unsafe and was torn down. This resulted in us having to hire a much smaller ramp from Peter Noble (father of Ride UK founder Mark Noble)
10. Pro prize money for the first jam was £100. For the last jam it was over £23,000 ($40,000).
Backyard Jam Fact-checker
Where and when were they held?
Stu: The first comp was Summer of 1991 in Hastings. The events were there from'91 to '97 and then in various locations from '04-'06. The last was held Sheffield, UK.
Why did you start doing them in the first place?
It just seemed like BMX in the UK had such a close knit scene of friends and riders so why not invite everyone down to Hastings to ride the halfpipe and midi ramp.
How come they stopped first time round?
By '97 the events had just got out of control! The daytime was fine... it was the night time that we weren't equipped for.
How many people were actually showing up?
The first event probably had a few hundred people, the last one had approximately 4,000 over the three days and the Brighton event in 2005 had approximately 5,000.
What's the best quote you remember
Random Mum - "My son is 16 and he and his friends want to come to the Jam. It's their first time away from home and I want to check that they'll be OK".
Me - "We've got security!"
"Help us share and spread this dope and contagious thing called BMX."
"I have a bachelor's degree and manage a multi-million dollar company but the moment I'm off work I become a scumbag"