Rob Warner, Lewis King, Mark Davis on Mountain Bike Britain: History Lesson

Here’s a little personal history lesson. Back in the day — some of the early days of downhill mountain biking in Britain — Rob Warner, Lewis King and Mark Davis were riding for Giant on the UK and global scene and inspiring a generation of riders. Maybe I’m talking from a personal point of view, but they were the riders everyone I knew wanted to be like. Cool bikes, kit and attitudes.

I’ll get to the personal bit in a minute. First, about the film above. Mountain Bike Britain, for those who don’t know, was a show that aired on weekend television in the UK for at least a couple of years (my memory fails me) and, although it was pretty cheesy at times (most of the time), it did an amazing job documenting the UK downhill scene and giving the NPS (National Points Series) a spot on pretty much primetime television. OK, it aired on Sunday mornings, but for kids getting into bikes, that was the best time it could have been on. I remember my mates and I would gather around a TV at someone’s house, get a little inspiration from the show — especially Rob Warner’s antics — then go and build tracks and ride our shitty bikes until everyone’s tyres were flat and chains well and truly tangled.

Mountain Bike Britain got us into racing — we found out about the most local races to us and then sent off a few quid in an envelope and several weeks later we were camping out at a Southern Area Mountain Bike Series (SAMS, as it was known), a bunch of idiotic 12/13-year-olds left to their own devices with the pretence of being safe among adults. Potential harm could only come from our own doing: at every race that year we went nuts, in particular two of my mates who at one point got thrown out of the venue for, I think, trying to wash their bikes in a portaloo sink.

The point of this is that after my mates got thrown out, Lewis King, who was like a god to us at that point presumably because he’d been spotted in MBUK magazine, noticed and pissed himself laughing when we explained what had happened. I think he helped persuade the organiser to let them race (maybe they just ignored the organiser, also possible). Anyway, King was a legend and always said hi to us at races after that — an important gesture for some superfan kids.

Total tangent there. Regardless of my waffle, you can watch the video (or try — it’s pretty low quality and the sound’s totally out) and be taken back to the days of Giant ATX 1s (these, not these!), ghetto blasters and Warner in his racing prime.

The video also includes some NPS racing from Innerleithen with the likes of Tracy Moseley and Steve Peat also making appearances. Classic stuff.

Talking of Moseley and Peat, here they both are racing in 2019 at the final ever Trans Provence event.

And what about checking out for two hours and watching the brilliant Steve Peat story, Won’t Back Down?

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