Interviews: Dale Holmes interview
2006/11/7 0:30:00 (6006 reads)
Hometown: From Loscoe Derbyshire, now Murrieta California.
Been there, done that, is that why you quit BMX racing a few weeks ago?
Dale: It's time for a change, I love BMX racing but decided the life style it takes to be in the top 10 in the World at my age is a lot of work and dedication. The older you get the more you have got to do to prepare yourself correctly, and I feel after reaching all my goals it's a hell of a lot of work just to be where I have already been for the last 15 years. It would be nice to sit and drink a beer or have a few glasses of wine without worrying about being up at 7am to do some sprints, or not getting my eight hours sleep in without stressing. Not that I'm done with that, I still love training and the life style, but alongside that, the way the direction, the tracks and sport is going, at my age I really don't feel comfortable putting it on the line week in week out anymore. I can still race 4x MTB, which is not quite as crazy, have an off season, something BMX racing does not allow, enjoy life a bit more and hopefully still be a top 5 4x guy in the World with some more bike time. At the same time I want to get more involved with my sponsor, Free Agent/ KHS, and the industry so it's a total new change and challenge and I'm already excited about it with the opportunity I've been given.
Growing up as a BMX racing kid, you can say that you accomplished a dream of becoming a pro rider and move to America. Do you see it that way?
Dale: It was not my dream to come to America and being a Pro. Growing up, I read BMX Action and BMX Plus and just assumed them guys in the States were on another level and we could not compete with them, so I really didn't have the desire to go, not to mention in the 80s the UK and Europe had a good scene so there was no need. Growing up all I wanted to do was ride my bike 24-7 and race at the weekend. After leaving school at 16 and working a few jobs I realised I was making more money racing at the weekends than doing a 40 hour week so I told my dad that I just wanted to race. He said I needed to learn a trade and I went in and out of a few jobs engineering, carpenter, working at my dad's bar and restaurant; but deep down I just wanted to race for a living. After a 2 week trip to the States in 91 I realised I could compete with the Americans with not much training either, that's when a little light appeared in my head about giving America a go. I went back and forth over the next few years for the winters and established myself in AA and it kind of went from there. So answering your question I guess I did do everything I wanted to do in BMX. It's been a fairytale, riding and living in the States, alongside travelling the World doing something I love. BMX has always been my passion and first love and to make a living and reaching all my racing goals out of it was just the icing on the cake.
What have been the hard parts of your career?
Dale: Staying healthy is something that has always been on my mind because being sick or having any kind of injury can always set you back. Not too of it much was hard, I enjoyed all aspects of being a Pro racer but I guess in my early 20s being gone at the weekends racing and knowing my friends back home were out on a Friday and Saturday night having fun when I was in a hotel in Wichita Kansas getting ready for bed at 10 pm was a little hard. I missed a lot of growing up and going out, experiences that my friends had. I guess I got my fair share of partying in but at the same time I wanted to party a little more but I had races to go to. Now at 35 I have no problem sitting in a hotel Friday night reading a book! We had our fair share of fun on the road so it wasn't all that bad. When I did go out, growing up in Derbyshire England, I did use to bump into Jamie Bestwick a lot at the local Rave club in Mansfield. He lived in the next town so I used to see him around on his PK Ripper.ha ha When I saw him it was mainly a drunken BMX conversation!
You've changed sponsors a bit, raced for Powerlite, Cyclecraft, Elf, GT, MCS, Webco, Nirve and Free Agent. Is equipment really important or could you hop on pretty much any top of the line bike and make it work?
Dale: I would like to think so. BMX racing is not as technical as F1 or Supercross with different suspension set ups for a different tracks or races. A good solid quality bike and believing in the product you use has always worked for me. Luckily FA make good bikes that were already proven way before I joined the team back in 02 so I really didn't have to stress on that. When I joined FA I hopped on my Limo and podiumed 3 days later!
What geometry did you have on your BMX bike?
Dale: I've always had and raced on stock standard frames that anyone can purchase from a Bike Shop. Current bike Free Agent Limo. Never stressed on Proto stuff. Just rode and if it felt good I was cool with it.
Did you race cruiser pure for the (bonus) money or did you see some sort of prestige in that class as well?
Dale: On GT I dragged my 2 bike boxes and a huge kit bag around airports all over the World over 40 weekend of the year for along time. Of course I loved Cruiser! I won some titles, and yes the money was good. Everyone else had chance to race it but couldn't be bothered to drag another bike around. Or have a GT/ Nirve bonus programme! For sure it was easier money than 20 inch but a wins a win right? ha ha. Every Pro racer back in the late 90s had something good going on. Didn't Jinco pay Wildman 3 Grand a month or something to wear ugly red baggy jeans! ha ha Some of the money some companies spent on Pro riders back then was a joke, some guys made a lot of money when the industry was booming and still no personality or made it out the motos, period! I feel I was riding good at the right time and won some titles in Cruiser and 20 inch to justify it a little more than some!
To give people an idea of how you´re living, how many houses do you have and what car do you drive?
Dale: I've got 3 houses 1 in Huntington Beach and 2 in Murrieta California. I got in there just before the boom in HB so I got lucky with some good property investments, well at least for the moment. I've got a Mercedes car and a Toyota Truck and my girl got fake boobs and a good butt so life's good! Still, Christophe Leveque is doing better, he's got houses all over the US and World and a successful distribution company. Lives in a million dollar pad in Redondo Beach and him and his girl drive matching Porsches! ha ha. Love that guy!
What is your job at the moment?
Dale: I'm going to race a full season of Mountainbike 4x in 07 alongside that I'm team manager for the Free Agent World Team. Free Agent / KHS have always supported me and listened to my ideas. I cannot thank them enough they're a loyal company to their riders and I try to give 110% back and not just take, take, take, something I learned not to do with people that support you in BMX.
With all your BMX experience and connections, do you think you could have a BMX related job for the rest of your life?
Dale: That's what I'm working on. I'm working hard for FA/KHS and I'm hoping with what I have done and know and willing to learn, I'll be with them for along time and involved in the industry with them. I will never walk away from BMX it's my life and passion!
Name 3 people who you respect?
1. My boss at FA
3. Christophe Leveque
You recently did a children's book, how did that happen?
Dale: I was contacted out of the blue from a writer Bonnie Hinman through my site. She was looking to do a book on a bunch of different sports, googled bmx racing and my name came up a bunch and she kind of approached me that way with no real back ground on BMX. It's basic stuff for children and I guess it's doing well. Got to love the name of the book Extreme Cycling with Dale Holmes and me doing a big dead sailor on the cover! And no it wasn't my idea but I thought it was funny and went with it!
Have you saved most of your BMX race coverage?
Dale: I've got nearly every BMX magazine from the UK and US Free Style as well from 81 onwards. Let me tell you I've got a lot of magazines and I'm not selling any off them! Never! I've got more race tapes on VHS than you can imagine, boxes of them things from over the years. Once in a while I'll throw an old race on my site, show the new kids how we used to do it back in the 80s with high seats and leg out in the corners!
On a BMX trivia competition, who would win; Paul Roberts, Dale Holmes, Pete Delewski?
Dale: I think I could hold them guys on the racing subjects Paul on Freestyle but he is still good on old school English and European race trivia. Once at a European race in England in the mid 90s the gate broke before racing started so all the Pro riders got to roll round the track to keep loose. Paul was announcing and called out every single rider's name as they rode by him with no moto sheets, over 100 riders from all parts of Europe. And you know how messed up some of them Euro names are! Including yours Bart! Classic P Roberts, so funny I got it on tape. Pete's good on American trivia but with my Euro Knowledge to go with what I know from the US I think I got it on the race front!
How much work is it to keep the DaleHolmes.com web site current?
Dale: It's pretty easy. Robbie Miranda put the site together and I basically just add the updates. A few hours work a week max. My friend Lewis has put every update and site change I've done on CDs since I started the site back in 2002!
You like to say your opinion. Do you still do that or have you become more diplomatic over the years?
Dale: Definitely, ha ha I guess. I was always known for opening my mouth and saying what I think, I have never been one to hold back. I would talk first then think after what I had just said, good or bad. BMX is full of fake people or fake buddies as Greg Romero will say, and I guess I just said it how it was. Cost me a few times! ha ha But I think over the years and through experience I have learned to think a little more before always opening my mouth and saying what Dale Holmes thinks. Like I said, I'm passionate about my sport and what I do and sometimes have a strong opinion on BMX related subjects, but I think I've got it under control and matured! You got to remember Bart when me and you normally talk it's at the Hard Rock once a year in Vegas at the Bike Show and it's always 2 am and a lot of drink has been consumed by the time we have a chat! I like to talk a little trash but it's never in a hateful way I'm just having fun and can take it and laugh as much as I can give out ha ha.
Is Dale Holmes going to the 2008 BMX Olympics in Beijing?
Dale: Not there as a racer but I'll be there watching as a fan and hopefully supporting as many Free Agent riders we got in there as the team manager. I'm excited about the Olympic vibe I just really hope the UCI get it right and put on a good show to promote BMX racing the best they can.
Where will Dale Holmes be when the 2012 Olympic BMX race takes place in London?
Dale: Unless they are doing a 40 and over Cruiser has-bin class there I'll be there again as a fan and hopefully still involved someway.
Last words: Just a big shout to everyone that has supported me over the years and KHS Free Agent for believing and supporting in me to continue living the dream!
Pics: BdJ/Dale Holmes