Monday, April 6, 2009

Boogie with the Best

I learned this morning that BMX racing legend Anthony Sewell has passed away. I never knew him personally, but I did get to see him race a handful of times and he was crazy fast. He was kind of notorious for being a little squirrelly, but at the same time, was a good "trick jumper". He invented the tuck no-hander as we know it today (Nathan Williams has probably never heard of Anthony, but he owes his signature trick to him). "The Panther" rode for a few different teams, but rose to fame on Team Jag, a mostly African-American team formed in the late 70s in LA. Their slogan was "Boogie with the Best". Team Jag was featured in the CHiPS BMX TV episode I posted a few weeks ago and Anthony did the stunt riding for the main kid on that show (Solan even had a Team Jag shirt made up that he wore at Rays for the S&M Dealer Night at Rays).
Anthony is among the influential racers from the "Golden era" of BMX that led the charge for BMX as it was being pioneered and developed into what it is now. Rest In Peace, Panther.

4 comments:

McGoo said...

Fellow friend Tommy Brackens introduced me to Anthony in his Murray days. LIke the Human Dragster, the Panther was a cool cat. Blazing fast, quiet and respectful, shy until you got to know him. I never got to know Anthony as well as I would have liked. BMX's "golden years" (dare I say '77 to '82?) introduced a lot of characters and character to the scene. Anthony was among the most colorful of the bunch. His Coke bottle glasses only magnified Sewell's Supmerman status, IMO. It's really sad to see someone from my generation go. I hate the cliche, "It puts everything into perspective," but in this case it works.

Delivererer said...

Well said, brother.

Smitty said...

Man, this is hard to take. Sewell was just BMX to the core. Never met him, but he just came across as such a real life, true blue, BMX soldier. I think it was the coke bottle glasses. Anyone who wore those was obviously about substance over style. I think this is why he got glorified in the Go mag days. Sewellness forever.

sweets said...

I just found out today what happened to my closest friend and teammate. I must say I was truly saddened. I too founded team JAG with Panther in the beggining and to its end. My name is Mike McCarver better known as "Sweets" when racing. Yes, Panther was a great guy out on the track, and even more of a gentleman in person. Maybe I will one day fill in all the blanks to this possible movie, as we take BMX to another level, and show the kids of today, what its all about, and how it really got started. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Renny Roker, please contact me at mikemccarver7@yahoo.com.