From the Archives: Wozzy

WOZZ-ARCHIVES

From the prehistoric concrete crust of New Zealand to the hallowed streets of New York – Wozzy’s camera has seen much action over the years.

But where did it all begin for Chesterfield’s favourite son? How did the man known to some as Adam Wasylenko become one of England’s most prominent documentarians of bicycle motion?

I’m not too sure if this article answers those questions, but here’s some old gems he found in a dusty old Etnies shoebox from the early days of his photographic odyssey

Most of my prints, negatives and slides are stashed in shoe boxes in a poor order, and an old Etnies Rap shoebox holds a lot of my early BMX photographs from when I started out riding. There’s plenty of miss-timed amateur attempts at BMX action photography in there.

Now looking back with spots gone, riders quitting and time advancing, anyone’s old shots get better with age.

Scan 6

Mark Page, Piccadilly Trails Chesterfield, 1998

This place was where it all started for a lot of us. We dug on a coal shale slag heap which had been used for years before by youths on scramblers, Honda 90s and various two-stroke motorbikes.

I can’t remember the camera this photo was taken on, but I have a feeling it might have been the family holiday snapper — one of them flat, slide out pocket cameras that reloaded the next frame like a shotgun when you extended it open.

This shot could be of a very early timed tabletop or an un-turndown, and whilst it wasn’t the first BMX picture I took, it’s one of only a couple to survive off the first film I used.

This might not apply to a lot of kids today, but listen to your mum or dad when they tell you not to open the back of the camera until the film has wound back.

Scan 8

Dave Parrick, Bike 2000

Bike 2000 had a great line up of American pros, but this was about the only photo of mine that came out from sitting in the seats with the instant camera flash only reaching as far as the course barriers.

I really wanted a photo of Brian Castillo, but it didn’t happen.

EDITORS NOTE: Thanks to pre-eminent bike-scholar Tommy Gore for pointing out that this photo was from Bike 2000 and not 99. “The 99 course had a wall ride on its own (same as Bike 98) and a bank to sub box to the right of it with a gap in between.”

Scan 13

Scott Malyon, King of Concrete 2000

Again, some more crowd shot photography. Scott Malyon was always a favourite to watch at these comps. Unfortunately I didn’t have V.I.P. access to the vert side for shots of Pippa and Simon Tabron sat next to the pro’s helmet shelf and knee pad drying rack sharing a double-coned ice cream…

Scan 4

Matt Wakefield, Chesterfield, 2000

Around this summer we were advancing further out of town and meeting other riders at parks and trails – mobile phones and pagers were a new aid for making meet ups easier too.

This day Matt and his brother Simon headed over from Ripley to ride Chesterfield. Back then it was more common to just tour the handrails and ledges when out street riding. I don’t think I’d sit at the bottom of some stairs if a Solid Duke frame was on its way down the rail nowadays though.

Scan 9

Andrew Dawson, Dev Green, 2001.

Dev had a bad stint of Somalian kid gangs on theft rampages pinching phones, mini disc players and bikes back then, but we had a lot of great evening sessions around this time, riding with Ernie, Benson, Joe Cox, Bowlhead, Milly, Southerner and many others.

Although roller-blading was just starting to go on the close to extinction list, visiting here made a nice break from the blader pests who sat with their legs dangling down the wooden ramps elsewhere.

Scan 7

Tom O’Boyle, The Scrolls, 2002

Around this time we were getting into riding awkward stuff — especially tight transitions and steeper obstacles.

This was also the time when I started thinking about the bonus of carrying a camera everywhere as we’d started going to unique spots around the country other than skateparks and dirt jumps on slag heaps in my local town.

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Scott Buchanan Broadmarsh Banks Nottingham 2004.

This spot was brilliant — a great session spot and a starting point for riding the city. I think it got demolished in 2009 to clean up a foot path and stop loitering and antisocial behaviour to the public walking past to the new art gallery up from the spot. In the end the banks were replaced with bike locks and flat tarmac.

We never thought it would go, but through taking the odd picture I’ve saved myself a little reminder of the history there.

Read an interview with Wozzy here.

See some of Rob Dolecki’s archive shots here.

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