(Copyright 2001. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

June 14, 2001

Watch out for 'crazy English biker'

By Mike Nguyen

You don't get much bigger than having your own signature BMX bike.

And Jamie Bestwick, the 28-year-old BMX champion straight out of England, recently got his own signature bike frame, courtesy of his sponsor, GT Bikes.

"It's pretty neat to walk into a store and seeing a bike with your name on it there. It takes some time to get used to it," he said.

So has all this fame and attention gotten to his head?

Not really.

"In the town I live in, people who know me just see me as the crazy English biker guy down the street," Bestwick said.

Bestwick was first inspired to get into biking when he received his own BMX bike.

"My dad bought me a bike when I was ten, and I've been riding since," he said.

And that he has.

He nabbed the first place prize at the X Trials in Grand Prairie, Texas in BMX vert.

Bestwick took second place in vert at the ESPN-hosted B3 event (short for boards, blades and bikes) this year -- he won it last year -- and placed second overall in the Bicycle Stunt Series.

Bestwick won gold last year at the X Games, in the best way you can imagine. He pulled off the first ever turndown flair on a BMX in the last second of his last run, giving him a gold and BMX superstars Dave Mirra and Matt Hoffman silver and bronze.

As if that's not enough, Bestwick even has an aeronautics degree.

"I guess I'm the only biker here approved by the FAA to fly," he joked.

He said he worked for six years to get the degree.

Bestwick has been competing professionally for a decade and has biked since 1982.

With all these years in the sport, he's been noted as one of the best and most well-known bikers to come out of Europe.

Now, however, Bestwick resides with his wife in a small town in Pennsylvania, close to the famous Woodward Skate Park.

The nearby park "is really neat. I get to ride in the best skate park ever built," Bestwick said.

He said he moved across the ocean to live near one of the best skate parks in the world because "there's more on the side of TV and sponsorships in the States."

However, Bestwick said, "England is my home country. I get to ride with my friends and see my family."

Although he's visited Bristol, England, he said he has yet to be in Connecticut.

But he'll have the chance to do so Father's Day weekend when he comes to try to nab another first place finish on the bike vert at the Bristol X Trials.

He urged fans who come out for the event at Lake Compounce to "just try to have fun" and "be responsible and shout as loud as you can when the BMX vert finals are on."

"I hope to get the year-end title [by winning at the Trials]," Bestwick said.

That shouldn't be a problem if he continues what has been a great season.

His goal, he said, is "to be a leader in the sport."

Click here to reach The Tattoo's comprehensive X Trials site


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