I've been watching this thread for a while and I certainly remember JMC racing BITD. I don't live far from his memorial and drive past it when I go into the Dark Peak. It's a very dangerous road, and it makes me shiver when I go past the memorial, knowing what happened there.
I think JMC would have gone on to be a great international rider. Who knows what he might be doing now if he hadn't decided to take his Harley out that day? We will never know of course, but I can just see him now climbing aboard a modern full suspension rig and thrashing the crap out of it, but in his stylish and inspirational way.
Maybe we can look at another rider who made it big time in cycling - Jamie Bestwick. I used to ride BMX a lot and rode with Jamie at Rehab Skatepark in Wakefield. He lived in Derby at that time and had to drive all the way to Wakefield 2 or 3 times a week as it was the only very ramp anywhere near him. I was told a story about when he was 16 years old and he came off his bike and broke a bone (can't remember if it was a arm or leg). His parents were mad at him (and probably spending too much time riding rather than studying!) so took his BMX and threw it into a skip, but Jamie didn't know where. He then spent to whole night with his girlfriend trawling around the toen looking for his bike which was eventually found. (hope I got story right)
Jamie was always practising new stuff at Wakefield when I was there - he used to hit the ceiling when riding the very ramp he used to go so high. One day I watched him forever trying to do a tailwhip which he just couldn't pull cleanly. I asked a afriend of his why he was struggling - he told me he was trying to do all his try the opposite way round (try bunnyhopping with your feet the "wrong" way round and you'll see how hard it is!). Jamie later went onto dominate the vert scene as he could flow round the ramp and pull tricks both ways all over the place so the practice paid off.
I was always aware that he could never go too big as he always had to pay the bils and that meant turning up for work the next day, hard to do with a broken collarbone or ankle (common in BMX). When he eventually got a full pro sponsorship he just started going mental, he was able to devote all his time to going as high and fast as he could.
He is eventually one of the best riders in the world, living in the USA, and is a great bloke as well. He endured the tough times when BMX was dead in the UK and there was no sponsorship, but because he loved it he came through.
I'd like to think JMC would have done the same, he would have gone on to be the face of a bike company, maybe with a Specialized JMC bike. He might have lived in America to really live the pro life to the full. There is no doubt that he would be inspiring riders still, no matter what level he would have got to, and would have still ridden 110% all the time like Carl has shown he did in all those ace pictures he has posted.
But sadly we'll never know, but one thing is for sure - his memory is kept alive in projects like this. We need to make sure the new riders get to know about what MTB riding is REALLY all about as JMC was the UK MTB spirit to the core.
Even though he isn't around to see disc brakes and trail centres, I can guarantee his story will continue to be an inspiration to many more people.
Sorry for being so soppy BTW.