Have you ever done some side hack races?
Toby Henderson: Yes, I did it once. It was a horrible experience so I never did it again.
What kind of bikes did Team Bottema provide when you raced for them?
Toby Henderson: Ah, you must have read about my first sponsorship, Jeff Bottema's uncle Butch. He and his buddy Charlie bought me a Gary Littlejohn/Murphy with moto mags and Redline forks. I was in heaven.
What was the reason for the BMX break in 1977/1978?
Toby Henderson: I raced high school Motocross religiously. Taught me a lot of speed and handling skills for sure.
DG is a brand that most top riders from back in the day were on at one point in their career. Were the bikes any good?
Toby Henderson: Yeah, the bike was very good. I remember it being relatively short, but most of all, I remember bending lots of forks.
You and Jeff Bottema then made up the Raleigh team. How did that come about?
Toby Henderson: Well, we were riding for DG together with not a lot of (financial) support, and we got a call from Raleigh. At first, we're like, "Hey, we ride for DG, the coolest team around. Why would we take on a new project?" Come to find out, Chuck Robinson from Robinson racing had gotten a call from Raleigh looking for two buddies or friends to be teammates for the launch of Raleigh BMX. When Raleigh contacted us, they contacted us with some financial support to go racing. Jeff and I thought for ourselves that although DG was significant, we needed some money to get to the next race. So we bit. Probably the best decision I ever made in my 20 years professional (BMX/MTB) career.
You made it to The Netherlands also for a tradeshow. How many people did you bunny hop?
Toby Henderson: Great story as I was going head to head with Bernie Schreiber, the current world champion trials rider. We got up to bunny hopping 15 people when the organizer shut us down. I still believe today they didn't want me to beat Bernie. I do have to say Bernie was doing it on a motorcycle, and it was amazing.
The Raleigh posters were popular and also were on our sleeping room wall for many years. it seemed like Raleigh was really pushing the brand with you two?
Toby Henderson: Yes, this is why I feel so fortunate for the decision I made for riding for them. They were spending a lot of money on the sport, using Jeff and me as the catalyst. This allowed the publication of magazines that were receiving those dollars to promote and expose Jeff and me. Our job was to perform. I really believe that my success as a racer was attributed to Raleigh's financial support sending me from event to event to event. That experience is what made us who we were.
The time on Hutch must have felt good riding quality 'Made In USA' bikes. Did you get custom-sized frames if you wanted them?
Toby Henderson: Yes, the Hutch experience was probably the best of my BMX career. Not only was the equipment awesome, but Mr. Hutch himself was also great to work for. However, I made a financial decision to move to SE. Not that SE was bad as a financial partner, was great, the equipment and support Hutch gave me was better for my career.
What happened with your old bikes? Did you get to sell them, keep them, or return them to the boss?
Toby Henderson: Haha, I get asked that all the time. No, we live the sport, and the equipment was just a part of our lives. Most wound up with buddies or passed down to other riders as at the time, there was so much of it that I never understood what it could be worth today and wish I hung onto all that stuff.
By this time you had a lot of BMX experience and had raced on many brands' bikes. Did that come into play when you were asked for product feedback?
Toby Henderson: In the early years of BMX, I was asked for product feedback. I'm not so sure I could articulate some of those questions correctly. It wasn't until my mountain bike career that I understood product development, feedback, working with teams and engineers. I want to say that all I can offer the industry today came from maturity in my mountain bike career.
Do you still use your experience with product development at BOX or do you have PD managers that are keeping up with the latest developments?
Toby Henderson: The products at Box and the several brands I owned in the past are driven by my experience. Although it takes a team of people to get these products to market, our goal and direction are to make sure it comes from the "feeling" I get as a bike rider. Of course, engineers think differently than riders which makes all this work. You should be in a product meeting with me and the engineering team. Quite hilarious.
Has BMX shaped you into the person you are today?
Toby Henderson: 100% yes.
Where can people check out the products that you're making these days?
Toby Henderson: boxcomponents.com
Thanks to: My family, my sponsors, and most importantly, my partners who allow me to develop this product in the way I think it should be.
Previous Episodes on FATBMX:
Episode 1: Christophe Detandt (BEL)
Episode 2: James White (GBR)
Episode 3: JT Freestyle (USA)
Episode 4: Ben Murphy (IRL)
Episode 5: Rainer Schadowski (GER)
Episode 6: GAry Sansom (USA)
Episode 7: Michael Gamstetter (USA)
Episode 8: Grant Stone (GBR)
Episode 9: Steve Blackey (USA)
Episode 10: Shannon Gillette (USA)
Episode 11: Woody Itson (USA)
Episode 12: Oliver Kienzle (GER)
Episode 13: Kelly Swanson (USA)
Episode 14: Pat A Lar (GBR)
Episode 15: Billy Mills (GBR)
Episode 16: Steve Brothers (USA)
Episode 17: Aykut Hilmi (GBR)
Episode 18: Alex Leech (GBR)
Episode 19: Mike Janssen (NED)
Episode 20: Brian Gutierrez (USA)
Episode 21: Chad Powers (USA)
Episode 22: Alessandro Barbero (ITA)
Episode 23: Chris Daly (GBR)
Episode 24: Ian MacArthur (GBR)
Episode 25: Steve Strong (GBR)
Episode 26: Stephen Joseph (GBR)
Episode 27: Paul de Jong (NED)
Episode 28: Jon Western (GBR)
Episode 29: William "LaRock" LaRoque (USA)
Episode 30: Johan Janssens (BEL)
Episode 31: Darren Chan (USA)
Episode 32: Frank Lukas (GER)
Episode 33: Jason Teraoka (USA)
Episode 34: Shad Johnson (USA)
Episode 35: PJ McKenna (USA)
Episode 36: Henry Sarria (USA)
Episode 37: Jonathan Sherwood (SAF)
Episode 38: Trevor Henry (GBR)
Episode 39: Daniel Purcell (GBR)
Episode 40: Mark McCorkle (USA)
Episode 41: Tom Sustarich (USA)
Episode 42: Adam Cox (USA)
Episode 43: Perry Wills (USA)
Episode 44: John Buultjens (SCO)
Episode 45: Jay Eley (GBR)
Episode 46: Alvin Mullins (USA)
Episode 47: Scott Barrette (USA)
Episode 48: Ashley Little (GBR)
Episode 49: Bill Batchelor (USA)
Episode 50: Steve Firestein (USA)
Episode 51: Jon Hoffman (USA)
Episode 52: Peter Ashby (AUS)
Episode 53: Patrick Freitas (USA)
Episode 54: Mel Stoutsenberger (USA)
Episode 55: Martin Primentel (AUS)
Episode 56: Chino (USA)
Episode 57: Ely D. Thomas (USA)
Episode 58: Mickael Clerté (FRA)
Episode 59: Toby Henderson (USA)
Episode 60: Eddy King (USA)
Episode 61: Byron Friday (USA)
Episode 62: Lionel Eden (USA)
Episode 63: Donnie Platt (USA)
Episode 64: Brad Nash (USA)
Episode 65: Mohamad Al Amin (MAL)