DMR 25 - DMR Bikes
Matt, Damian and Russ

DMR 25

25 Years of DMR

Russ Pierre writes about the formation of DMR from first hand experience. Russ currently resides in Cornwall but was instrumental at the beginning of DMR way back in 1995. On a recent trip to Sussex to visit family, Russ met up with Dan Beamish, Matt Ryley and Damian Mason to take a look at the original site. Dan Beamish and Russ operated a small BMX shop in Golding Barn, Sussex. The back of this shop was the original DMR office for founders Damian Mason and Matt Ryley, who still own and run DMR today.

Following words by Russ Pierre:

Arriving at the pump track on a brand new DMR Sect, wearing a DMR25 limited addition T-shirt, coupled with a snapback brandishing the same design created to celebrate 25 years of this iconic brand, I looked way better than my riding ever was. In hindsight, I was a way too DMR for my ability. But when one of the local lads said, “DMR makes the best bikes”. To which his mate replied, “they make the best everything”. That comment really made me proud and here’s why.

These lads would only just have been born when DMR reached their 10th anniversary, arguably it would be another ten years before they even began to ride bikes properly, and another couple before they would even need anything from DMR on their bikes; yet they already knew. They sat their bikes, at their local pump track, and they understood the importance of DMR as a brand.


Cars at Unit 9F

DMR started from very humble beginnings, in Unit 9F


Back in 1995, in a small back office, of a small BMX Shop, on an Industrial Estate that were essentially converted cattle sheds, DMR founded their humble beginnings. It seems difficult to talk of where DMR began, without mentioning the importance of the location. Golding Barn Industrial estate was not famous, the Motocross track; Golding Barn Raceway, absolutely was.

Owned to this day by the Beamish family, a track now 70 years old with such steep heritage, and as iconic in British MX history as DMR are within the bike world. Still ridden today by the 4th generation of Beamish racers, the track was just up the lane in a natural bowl like valley, a natural stadium.


Motocross Bikes

The love for MX still runs strong in the Beamish family.


As kids back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, we would sit up on the hills and watch the best Moto riders of the day, battle it out on a chalk track. Big 500cc beasts creating the most amazing sound, or the 125cc racing like a swarm of bees, all heading up the start straight, we loved it. If the wind blew from the north, that beautiful sound could be heard for miles as it blew south and escaped out of the valley.

From the village where we grew, just down the road, we could hear when the racing had begun, grab our tracker bikes and ride full of energy, sit high on the hill and get stoked on Motocross. When they stopped racing for lunch we would all ride the big tabletops, none of us on BMX bikes yet, and as soon as the marshal told us to get off, we went back to the hill to watch the action again, with a greasy burger or hotdog and the best view in the house.


Everybody looking at Russ' bike

In the present day, Russ receives his new DMR amongst original founders and current athletes.


Immediately after racing had finished our crew would hit our own track down the road and mimic what we’d witnessed that day. The same energy for kids riding bikes back then was seen again in 1995 at the same place, and that’s why mentioning the track is important. My best mate Dan Beamish and myself founded the BMX shop.

Dan had retired from racing MX, I’d just graduated with a degree in Business and Leisure and Dan had asked me just before completing my degree if I wanted to get back into BMX. He’d heard of these guys Matt Riley and Damian Mason that had the contacts in Taiwan for us to start importing BMX frames, and they also needed a space so they could begin their own idea. I jumped at the opportunity and I suppose all four of us being the similar age, BMX was a solid part of our childhood.


DMR Sect Pro

The latest DMR bike juxtaposed against a rapidly corroding industrial backdrop, a contrast of old and new.


Our shop was pretty small; the DMR office smaller, and Unit 9F had no passing trade, or train station near by, we did have a Motocross shop two units up, so that was a bonus as MX kids ride BMX too. We relied on parents driving their kids from the larger towns, but like us years before; we also had a bunch of kids, willing to ride there from the surrounding villages.

What we did have was some basic trails out front in an old yard space, a mellow run in to big tabletop, or a great hip; we also had a small rhythm section. Kids began to buy new bikes, and could come and ride, break bits and replace them when their parents picked them up at the end of the day. It was like summer camp, such a fun little scene, and there in their back office DMR were in the thick of it, feeding off this energy of mid 90’s BMX.


Russ Jump

The hill at nearby Steyning provides the latest playground for local riders.


Some amazing riders came from all over to visit our trails; to this day it seems amazing. Brian Foster, Dale Holmes, Dylan Clayton, Stephen and Martin Murray, Chico Hooke, Paul Roberts, Mike Baggs, all elite riders. Chico, who’d travel down from London to inspire the kids, also helped us hold the first and probably last, BMX Olympics (long jump, high jump and sprints) and rode for us for a while, then went on to ride for DMR on their 4X team.

On rainy days kids would sit inside the shop watching Props videos, sitting on the floor, making us tea, and the banter was very real. The local kids became great riders and some ended up becoming part of DMR like Tom Lang. They went on to build their own trails and immerse themselves in the Dirt Jumping scene. One local young lad who would come and ride the trails, he became addicted to BMX and won his first World BMX Championship in 2018, Scott Waterhouse was riding for Team GB.


Shovelling

Trails, like businesses, take hard work and dedication.


Damian and Matt were not just witness to it all, we all loved it, and they were part of it. Yet in their office in a BMX shop, brilliance was being designed; DMR became very real. I remember Damian using a multi-tool and shaping a pedal out of what seemed to be a block of plastic, carefully forming the first design of the V8, arguably the world’s greatest selling pedal. Surrounded by samples of bicycle parts new and old, sketches, designs, scrap paper or tools, his design board stood beneath a window with one-inch iron security bars, letting the light shine on the DMR chain tugs in perfectly engineered drawings.

If you travel to see them now, nothing has changed. Damian is at home surrounded by design chaos and inspirational ideas and that’s what I witnessed back then. What you might perceive as a mess, ask yourself if you’ve created a global brand from your clean and tidy space, from the back of a BMX shop, distracted by noisy energetic kids, dirt jumping and BMX bikes, endless crashes and kids knocking their teeth out; in fact I reckon you’d just smile out of absolute respect. To this day Damian still creates demand through his designs, still focussed on what’s happening outside of the shop so to speak and as humble as ever.


Damian's Trailstar

Owner Damian Mason keeping it retro with an original Trailstar.


Matt Ryley created brand awareness and distribution. Look at the present day industry and reflect on how we shop in today’s market place. Components and bikes available to view online, our thumbs scroll our smart phones relentlessly searching social media, favourite riders making careers from making films on ‘The YouTube’, and back flipping huge gaps, the same competitions streamed worldwide, emails are instant, communication is a doddle and DMR are still in the thick of it. Imagine being back in 1995, looking back 25 years.

There was no Internet, no online presence that was effectively five years away. No social media, digital cameras were another 10 years away. What Matt Ryley created was global awareness by using print, trade shows, sales reps and old school marketing at its very finest and damn fine riders on their team. The quarter page advert in a BMX/MTB magazine was standard practice, maybe a product picture or two. Photographers were still using film; imagine that when you reeling off a thousand shots of your mates in the woods.


Ben and Olly Vlogging It

Marketing methods have changed just as much as the products themselves.


A few rolls of 35mm film to capture an amazing image, but the emotional response needed to be the same then as it is now; the processing time, print time, distribution of magazines and then wait for the phones to ring, payment cheques were even hand written, put in an envelope and posted, communication by landline, mobile phones were not common place, in fact only about 15% of households owned a mobile in 1996, so phone calls were made at the office.

This was old school brand awareness at it’s finest. The basic four principles of marketing, Product, Price, Place, and Promotion, all at play. Then there was the DMR logo, and the fifth principle, the packaging. A beautiful designed cardboard box, and no plastic in sight, just a bold DMR design, genius.


Matt, Russ, Dan and Damian

Matt Ryley, Russ Pierre, Dan Beamish and Damian Mason: just some normal blokes.


At that pump track, when that young lad said, “DMR make the best everything”, I was proud. Being there in 1995, and witnessing a vision, what DMR have created from the humble beginnings, in the thick of a growing BMX scene where riders were still just riders, riding the Backyard Jam one weekend, and racing a National or European Champs the next, not labelled as racers or dirt jumpers, they just rode bikes, the energy was fantastic.

To this day being a brand with riders wanting to be part of your family, the best riders helping and being loyal for years, a relationship that works both ways, designing and developing the best products. Riders like Brendon Fairclough, Olly Wilkins and Andre Lagondeguy, Sam Reynolds, Jimmy Pratt, Ben Deakin, Duncan Ferris, Jono Jones, and newest addition, KJ Sharp; still all representing your brands to a global audience in the best possible ways, whether racing, jumping, jamming or freeriding, it’s all at the tap of a screen, it’s a testament to the DMR products and how trusted they are.


Russ-Pump


So yes, I was proud as I stood there at the pump track, all dressed up in DMR gear, standing over a brand new DMR Sect Pro. Yes I was a little too DMR, but I was there with my 12 year old son, his high top Vans resting upon a pair of DMR Vaults, and another generation of riders keeping embracing what Damian Mason and Matt Ryley started 25 years ago.


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