ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON www.oldskoolukbmx.co.uk - January 2008

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON www.oldskoolukbmx.co.uk - January 2008

Age: 44 yrs young!!!   June 14, 1963

Live: Chatsworth, CA 

Family: 3 sons... Rocky-23, John-21, Kevin-19, Girlfriend Maria-29,
her daughter Frankie-10, going on 16 

Years Racing:  Just finished season # 33


Past Sponsors:
Canyon Cyclery (Bike Shop 1976)
R&R (Factory 1977)
Schwinn (Factory 1977 to 1980)
SE (Factory 1981)
Mongoose (Factory 1982)
Profile (Factory 1983)
Mongoose (Factory 1984-1990)
Parkpre (Factory 1995-1997)
Mongoose (Factory 1998-2006)
GT (Factory 2007 to ????)  

1976 NBA Western States Champion 13x
1978 JAG World Championship #2 Pro (Indianapolis, USA)
1983 NBL #1 AA Pro
1984 NBL #1 AA Pro
1984 USBA #1 AA Pro
1987 ABA #1 Pro Cruiser
1987 NBL #1 Pro Cruiser
1987 IBMXF World Champion Pro Cruiser (Florida, USA)
1988 ABA #1 Pro Cruiser
1988 NBL #1 Pro Cruiser
1989 IBMXF World Champion Pro Cruiser (Australia)

1995 ABA #1 Vet Pro
1995 NBL #1 Vet Pro
1996 ABA #1 Vet Pro
1997 ABA #1 Vet Pro
1997 ABA World Cup Champion Vet Pro
1998 ABA #1 Vet Pro
1998 ABA World Cup Champion Vet Pro
1998 ABA World Cup Champion Pro Cruiser
1999 ABA R.O.C. Champion A-Pro

2000 NBL #1 A-Pro
2000 ABA #1 Vet Pro
2001 ABA World Champion Vet Pro (Ohio, USA)
2001 ABA #1 Vet Pro
2002 ABA #2 Vet Pro
2002 NBL #1 A-Pro Cruiser
2003 ABA #2 Vet Pro
2004 ABA #3 Vet Pro
2004 NBL #1 Elite Masters
2005 ABA #4 Vet Pro
2005 UCI BMX World #1 in 40-44 Cruiser (France)
2006 UCI BMX World #1 in 40-44 Cruiser (Brazil)
2006 ABA #3 Vet Pro
2007 UCI BMX World #1 in 40-44 Cruiser (Canada)
2007 NBL #3 Elite Masters
2007 ABA #6 Vet Pro
Currant position at GT:    BMX Race Team Manager & Vet Pro class competitor

How did your season go?    It was by far the worst race season financially & performance wise, that I've had in 30 years as a pro.  Stayed healthy, but was just off the back a bit.  In the midst of getting on a new program, so I'm confident that 2008 will be better.  No matter how I do, I am and always have been, just happy to be out there racing my bike and getting paid to be involved in BMX.

How's things going with GT?    We have a great program at GT.  My main connection at the office is Sarah Ostermeier and she's great to work with.  Our bike builder/design guy is Robert Kahler and he's cool as well.  It's a big company and things get hectic from time to time, but we have great personnel to deal with it all.  These are the same people I've worked with for the last six or seven years, as Pacific Cycle owns GT, Mongoose and Schwinn.  So, we're all just one big family.  I wouldn't want to be any place else.

Do you still enjoy racing now as much as the 80s?    I actually enjoy it more now.  I've pretty much had two careers in BMX, my AA Pro career and my Vet Pro career.  The Vet career has been a lot less stressful and has actually paid (prize money - contingency money -salary) even more than my AA Pro career.  As I've gotten older, I've learned to enjoy things more, really appreciate the people I meet, the places I go and the position I'm in. There isn't a person on the planet (literally) that has been involved in BMX as long as I have that has been paid to race competitively for over 30 years.  WHAT?!?!  I'm one blessed guy.

Best years for BMX 80s, 90s, now?    No question, it had to be the 80's.  The sport was still on the rise and it seemed like nothing but blue sky ahead.  So many companies were pouring money into the sport.  Almost every top guy had a really well paying sponsor and the superstars of the sport were truly treated like rock stars when they went to the races.  It seems more low key since then.  The riders are better today than they were back then, but now days guys struggle to make a comfortable living at being a full time racer.  I'm happy I was able to be part of that scene in those early days.  It was actually pretty cool getting mobbed for your pads or your plate or your gloves or even stickers.  The fans were just nutz!!  Good times.  Kids don't seem to be as excited about that stuff today.  I guess they are just too cool or too shy to approach the riders in big mobs.  I'm not sure which.  Perhaps with so many other extreme sports activities and extreme sports athletes out there, kid's minds are just oversaturated with it all, and they don't think of it as that big of a deal?  TV and the internet have a lot to do with it.  Back then the only time kids could see their favorite rider was in a magazine or MAYBE on TV once in a while.  That's why when they got a chance to see them at a race, it would make them a bit more "fan"atical? It's just different today.  That's my take on it all.
Do you remember the Kellogg’s Series?    You bet I do... and I'll never forget it either.  I remember being treated like total rock star celebrities.  It was one of THE best experiences of my BMX career.  That series, to this day, has to be one of the most "pro" events I've ever seen.  It had lots of screaming fans, TV coverage, tour buses, first rate hotels, tons of prize money and fun tracks to ride.  Who could ask for more?  Good Times!!

Best moment in the UK?  Rolling up to the first event of the 1984 Kellogg's Series in the tour bus and seeing the hundreds of fans just waiting to get a look at us.  I'd never felt so special or important in my life.  It was crazy. It was a really good feeling.  One I'll never forget.

Did you think you should have been DQ'd for cutting the track in Birmingham?    At the time, Heck No!  That was total BS and I don't think I could have been any angrier than I was at that moment.   LOL  What an idiot I was. HaHaHa Looking back, YES, I should have TOTALLY been disqualified and it was a good thing that I was.  I have the videos that I still watch to this day and it's kind of funny to see.  The reason I was so upset is pretty understandable in my opinion.  That track had a WACK 90 degree first turn with a super short first straight.  If you had to gate from the outside, it was gonna be nearly impossible to get there first.  The format was that we were supposed to race three motos to determine who would get first pick of lanes for the main.  In the early morning event, I killed it in the motos, got the first lane choice for the main and KILLED it in the main. GITTER DONE!!  In the afternoon event, the 7 other cry baby American pros wanted to skip the motos and draw cards for lane choice.  That was total BS.  I was smokin those guys and they knew it.  Well, as bad luck would have it, I drew lane seven.  Just before the main, it started to sprinkle and the first turn was a bit slick.  I still snapped and was a few inches ahead hitting the first turn.  Just then, Brian Patterson gave me a bit of an elbow and I went sailing over the hay bails.  In my mind, at that moment, I got back onto the track as fast as I could and got back in the mix.  I was in second behind Nelson Chanady (the video shows he was LAST when we hit the first turn) and even tried to pass him a few times for the lead, it didn't happen.  Even after all that, I got second, I still wasn't very happy.  THEN they told me I was DQ'd... and I hit the roof.  LOL    I did cut a LOT of the track and should have been DQ'd, but the real anger came from having to pick cards for lane choice instead of racing three motos for lane choice like we were supposed to.  Getting DQ'd in the main is what eventually caused me to lose the overall series title by one or two points to Chanady.  BS!   LOL 
That's a long explanation, but all of it is an entirely true story. :)

What did you think of the English Pros back then?    I was friends with most of those guys.  Andy Ruffell, Tim March, Pete Middleton and a few more that I can't recall at the moment.  All of them were very cool guys and fun to be around.  They weren't at the level of the American pros, but they were the guys that paved the way for UK Superstars like Dale Holmes, Jamie Staff and Neal Wood.

Why didn't you run a mustache like a lot of the 80's Pros did?    I probably would have if I could have.  HaHaHa I always wanted to look like a CHP Officer, but got blessed with looking like a kid even into my 30's instead.  I can grow one now, so it's all good.  My girl likes my facial hair. ;)

Biggest kook back then?    People could argue that it was Kevin McNeal or even Frank Post, but most will agree that it was Ronnie Anderson hands down. They didn't call him "Crazy Ronnie" for nothin'.  LOL  He used to yell at guys when he was on the gate.  He'd point at guys right before the race saying, "I'm gonna beat you, I'm gonna beat you and I'm gonna beat you".  He was just a weird guy.  Sometimes he’d yell at a rider ALL THE WAY AROUND THE TRACK while following him saying, stuff like “I’m gonna pass you, look out, I’m gonna take you out”.  It was REALLY bazaar!  lol One time he was in a verbal fight after a race with the Patterson brothers and then just stood there holding a trophy over his head, staring up at the sky, like a statue for what seemed like ever. He was always trying to get in everyone's head.  And it worked for him a lot of the time. To this day, I feel he was one of THE MOST TALENTED guys to ever ride a BMX bike.  I still talk to him these days when he's at the BMX races and he's a lot different than he was as a racer.  He's a really cool guy that loves his kids.  We can't call him “Crazy” Ronnie anymore.

Did the 80s Pros do sauce?    I'll never be one to name names in an interview, but the answer is yes.  I know a few that did.  I got my information from reliable sources that I cannot and will not reveal.  These cheaters won lots of races and even won titles. They basically took money out of the pockets of guys like me that never crossed that line.  Hey, it's on their heads and they have to live with themselves for taking performance enhancing drugs and forever knowing that they CHEATED in order to beat me and riders like me! 
Example 1)  An admitted AA Pro sauce user (we'll call him rider A) once said he was asked by another top AA Pro (we'll call him rider B) about how to beat another sauce using AA Pro (we'll call him rider C) who could hardly ever be beaten.  Rider A said he told rider B where to get the stuff and how to take it.  They never spoke of it again.  Rider B was soon able to beat rider C along with everyone else on a much more consistent basis and win many many races.  Rider B went from a main maker/occasional main winner to main winner nearly every weekend. Hhmmm?  Wonder how that happened?  Boy that still gets me angry!   CHEATER!! 
Example 2)  I actually had a retired AA Pro sauce user admit to me of his use.  He told me about how easy it was to pull everyone down the first straight and out of turns.  He actually laughed about it, when he told me the stories.  Cheating bastard!  Did he not remember that it was ME who he beat out to win one of his tainted titles?  I hope he has trouble sleeping at night!
Example 3)  One time I spent the night at the house of an AA Pro friend of mine.  It was about a year after he went from barely being a main maker to being a top main event winning threat.  I remember his transformation becoming noticeable in about a months time.  Ultimately, he had put on 20lbs of muscle and was now a threat to win every time he got on the gate. I'm in his bathroom after a shower, I'm looking for a q-tip when I pulled open a drawer containing several vials of “anabolic steroids” and several syringes.  WHAT???  He was using this sh_t and wasn’t even gonna hide it?  Oh Boy!  Well, his career lasted a few more years and then he hung it up.  He’s since had life threatening health problems that are commonly caused from the use of that crap.
It may seem like I’m crying a bit too much about this topic and I seem like I’ve never been able to let it all go, but this a serious issue.  Guys like me dedicated their lives to racing BMX as their career.  All the blood, sweat, tears, travel and mental stress are a high price to pay for success.  Then you have jerks that come along and cheat to get ahead… it’s just not right.  Why don’t they just stick a nail in the tires of their competition right before the gate drops, it’d be the same thing.  If they can’t beat us (the guys that don’t cheat) fair and square, they ought to train harder, or train smarter, or learn to settle for second, OR just go home.  They’re PUNKS in my mind and have NONE of my respect.  The claws are out.  LOL

It's the fact that these riders cheated that helps me give an honest answer to the "Greatest Of All Time" question below.

Do you think today's Pros do it?    I can speculate, but I have no solid proof.  Not like the proof I have about those 80's pros.  If you don't really know for sure, then you shouldn't say.  I will say this... when a rider struggles to make mains, and then in a few short months, he's winning mains left and right, it causes doubt.  It takes years to develop world class leg strength, leg speed, stamina and ability.  It takes YEARS, not weeks or months.  As long as there is a way to cheat, people will cheat.  For every performance enhancing drug out there, they make another drug to cover it up in a drug test.  It's a scam.  Bottom line is, you still have to look at yourself in the mirror every day.  When the lights go out at night, it's just you alone with your thoughts.  If you've been winning by cheating, you'll NEVER be able to feel the rush of being a true winner.  You're nothin’ but a paper champion.

Who's the Greatest Racer of All Time?  I'd have to say that answer is summed up in a few ways.  Who has been successfully racing pro the longest?  Who has won more BMX race events as a professional, for a span of over 30 years, than anybody else?  Who has the most titles as a professional?  Titles that include Elite Pro, Pro Cruiser and Vet Pro. Multiple World Titles, Endless Nationals Titles?  And most importantly, who has done all of this and never cheated in order to accomplish any of it?  THAT PERSON should be considered the greatest racer of all time. 

What advice would you give to today's Pros coming through the ranks?    Stay away from the "get fast quick" programs.  Like I said, it takes a while to get to top AA Pro speed.  Be a smart racer “on AND off” the track.  Know that if you blast a guy in a turn, you’re probably gonna lose a lot of momentum for the next straight.  You have to be a SMART racer.  The best, longest and most lucrative careers are accomplished by those riders that are friendly people, good representatives for their sponsors products and kind to the fans.  You never know, the family or individual fan that you take the time to talk with or be kind to, just might lead you to your next big sponsor or opportunity. 

If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?     1)  I wouldn’t hit the gate in the third main at the 1984 NBL Grands.  I’d have won the AA Pro class that day if it wasn’t for that.  
2)  I wouldn’t slip a pedal down the last straight in the third main at the 1986 NBL Grands.  I would have won AA Pro that day too, if it wasn’t for that.  I got second overall at the NBL Grands in AA Pro five years in a row.  It would have been really nice if I could have won just one of them.  Believe it or not, those two incidences still haunt me.  Twenty three and twenty one years after those things happened, I STILL think about it.  LOL  Honestly though, my career has been a truly blessed one.  I don’t think I’d have it any other way, or do anything differently.

Top 3 for the Olympics? Randy Stumpfhauser, Mike Day, Donny Robinson.
Fav web sites?
BMXMania.com     EricRupe.com     ABABMX.com     NBL.org    GTbicycles.com           JoeyBradford.com

Name Game 
Pistol Pete                   Stick Man to Muscle Man
Eric Rupe
Harry Leary                  Intense
Stu Thomsen               The Man
Crazy Ronnie               Not Crazy Anymore       
Mike Day                      Tech Master
Greg Romero               Nor Cal
Greg Hill                      Oldest Friend
Mike King  Supra 
Eric Carter                    Skill
Brian Lopes                 Determined
Clayton John                The Prez
Christophe Leveque     Finesse
John Purse                  Pro

Anything you want to add?
A big “thank you” shout out goes to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for helping to keep me humble and give me sound mind and body, my Mom & Dad, my three great sons Rocky, John & Kevin, Rob Rupe/Brother, Laura & Jonna/Sisters, Maria/GF & her daughter Frankie, Ninty/Caddie, Sarah/Pacific, Ray/Fly, Matt & Jim/Kenda, Ryan/Sun, Tyler/SDG, Fuzz/O’Gio, Yo-Yo & Blick/Oakley, Russ Okawa/Canyon Cyclery, Brad Hughes, Scot/SE,  Charlie LitskyRIP/Carrera, Skip Hess/Mongoose, Bob & Fran/JL Leathers, Jim-Nancy-Corey-Sissy/Profile, Frank Lopez/RIP, Bob&Ron Haro-Jim Ford/Haro, Cozy & Rod/Parkpre, Steve-Mike-David/ATi, Bruce/Action Sports-ATi, Larry Pizzi/Currie Tech, Ev & Jerry/Vans, Matt/FSA, Chad/Shimano, Joey/Answer, Kenny & Jimmy & Gary/Rocket Parts/RIP, Chris/O’Neal, all my former teammates:  Rob Rupe, Kevin Jackson, Chuck Houde, Ike Isenacher, Bob Hadley, Mark Pippin, Greg Hill, Mark Driscol, Mike Poulson, Perry Kramer, Scot Briethaupt, Bob Woods, Roland Vieght, Kenny Nachman, Crazy Kenny Amen, Tinker Juarez, Jeff Kosmala, Brett Allen, Shelby James, Greg Beller, Richard Zagars, Mitch Watkins, Mark Lopez, Marvin Church, Dave Custodero, Billy Griggs, Missy Fred, Jason Kick, Todd Henry, Kevin Collins, Chainsaw Matt McCullough, Fred Johnson, Brad Bolles, John Tomac, Travis Chipres, Sam Arellano, Gary DeBacker, Kiyomi Waller, Scott Yoquallet, Robert MacPherson, Pete Dylewski, Brian Lopes, Lee Donavan, Stik Man, Craig Reynolds, Tim Fuzzy Hall, Brian Schmith, John Purse, Christophe Leveque, Randy Stumpfhauser, Nate Berkheimer, Joey Bradford, Jill Kintner, Mike Day, Steve Spencer, anyone that I may have left out, I’m REALLY sorry! - and the thousands of others that have helped make my career possible. God Bless You All. I love you all.

All Pictures courtesy of BMXMania.com - for full size images check out Eric's gallery click here

Eric recently had a pretty gnarly crash at the ABA Silver Dollar Nationals a couple of weekends ago. We all wish you a fast and speedy recovery!

Eric Rupe
1983 NBL War of the Stars at the Kendall track in Miami, FL
Eric Rupe
BMX Plus Cover Shot
Eric Rupe
Young Daddy at the NBL Grands at Pittsburgh's, South Park BMX.
Eric Rupe

On the gate with Greg Hill at the 1982 Jag World Championships at the Tropicana Hotel in Vegas

Eric Rupe
Schwinn TV promo
Eric Rupe
1978 Schwinn BMX Team -
(L to R) Mark Pippin, Kevin Jackson, Robby Rupe, Richard Zagars, Eric Rupe
Eric Rupe
That's Eric,  following Scott Angus (IE Bikes) around the track.
Eric Rupe
NBL Las Vegas
Eric Rupe
NBL Las Vegas
Eric Rupe
Eric Rupe
Eric Rupe
Eric Rupe
Oh Shit!
Eric Rupe
Eric Does Tulsa! - 2006 ABA Grands
Interview Date: January 08