UCI BMX World Championships: Reunion of Champions
The list of participants for the Reunion of Champions reads like a veritable Who’s Who of BMX. It will take place during the 2014 UCI BMX World Championships and will reunite Champions from as far back as the 1970s.
“We wanted to create an extra feature for the public during these Worlds and of course give these athletes the platform they deserve,” explains organiser Eric Kersten.
The idea of a major international reunion was born during discussions between the event organisers and Gerrit Does, organiser of the World Championships in the Netherlands in 1983. Mr Does called on his extensive contacts worldwide to bring the idea to fruition.
“This is an absolute first and unique happening,” he said. “We also hope we can attract current riders for a unique photo opportunity,” he added.
The main day of the reunion will be Saturday July 26th, with an organised bike ride through Rotterdam for the former Champions, who will arrive at the city’s Ahoy arena in time to watch the Juniors and Elite time trials.
1979 World Champion “PK Ripper” among participants
It will bring back strong memories for the world’s former World Champions, such as Perry Kramer, one of the first ever USA Pros to race in Europe. Namesake for the infamous “PK Ripper” bike, Kramer was crowned BMX World Champion in Indianapolis, USA, in 1979.
“The BMX community is strong and we really try to stay connected,” says Kramer. “I see a lot (of former BMX competitors) at BMX reunions, but to try to get together racers who have earned a distinctive title such as World Champion has not been attempted before.
“It will be cool to swap some ‘World Championship’ stories with some of the other champions.”
Kramer welcomes the globalisation of BMX which sees riders from a lot of different countries on the international podium.
“When I won the Pro World Championships back in 1979, all 8 riders in the main event were Californian,” he says.
The former Champion has a hard time naming some of his greatest BMX memories, although winning his first big national race in the 1976 Winter Nationals would have to be one of them… as is travelling to the Netherlands to race in 1980.
“But more of my best memories come from the off-the-track fun we had while touring the USA back in the late 70s and early 80s.”
At the end of his competitive career, Perry Kramer remained in the industry, covering a wide section of American territory as sales rep and accounts executive for Giant Bicycles.
“I actually started working in the bicycle industry when I was still racing. It was a logical step. I still really want to ride bikes all the time and I still race… but on mountain bikes and mostly for fun.”
The 2014 UCI BMX World Championships will take place at the Ahoy arena from July 23 to 27. The unofficial meeting place for the former World Champions during that period will be at the nearby BMX Museum.
Photo: Perry Kramer (107), World Champion in 1979, is one of more than 40 former World Champions who will be present at the reunion in Rotterdam.