EKWALL Stefan (Sweden)
Stefan Ekwall started a motorcycle- and bicycle shop with a partner, Two WheelService in Sweden. Both men have been moto-cross riders up till that time. They started with renting BMX bikes to youngsters and they could ride these bikes on a small BMX track beside our shop. They started to imported "Kuwahara" bikes when the ET movie came to Sweden.
BMX was introduced in Sweden around 1982. Stefan Ekwall got involved in 1983. Our first international contact was with you, Gerrit Does. Mr. Kuwahara (Howie Cohen) from the USA faxed us about the I.BMX.F. World Championship 1983 in Ponypark, Slagharen - Holland
The first BMX bikes and equipment were imported by Stefan's company, Two Wheel Service, in the year 1983 and more specific, Haro bikes. In 1984 the first GT bikes were imported by them.
An official BMX organization became a fact on February 1984, called the "Svenska BMX Förbundet" in English the "Swedish BMX Federation". In 1988 this organisation became part of the "Swedish Cycle Federation". Stefan Ekwall acted as President for the SBMXF and in 1988 as President for BMX section of the SCF and member of boarder for SCF.
The first ever BMX racer and pioneer of Sweden was Andreas Nyberg in 1983 (date of birth 1968). Andreas brother was a well know Grand Prix MX rider at the time.
Promotional activities of Stefan Ekwall were among others:
- Indoor in Stockholm during a bicycle Show in 1983. Short BMX track and Freestyle with Bob Haro
- Indoor in Malmö 1985, with present you, Gerrit Does, and Dutch riders Peter Ploemen, Ludy v.d. Werff, Pierre van Zuylen and Leron Walravens.
- GT Word Tour with Eddie Fiola in 1985.
- War of the Stars series in 1991 & 1992 with Pro's from US and Holland.
- Nordic Championship 1984 in Märsta (with riders from Norway, Denmark and Sweden competing)
- Open European Championship 1993 in Märsta (with among others Todd Lyons and all European top riders)
- Swedish Championships races, of which at least one organised by our local club Märsta BMX Club during the years 1985 through 1992.
At the peak of BMX developments, there were about 420 riders. That was in 1984 - 1985. At this very time (2004) Swedish BMX has about 200 riders left. Stefan Ekwall stopped with his BMX activities in 1994. At the time Stefan is not involved anymore in any way in BMX. The only contact Stefan has is with some riders that are being sponsored by Shimano. Stefan Ekwall is a product manager for Shimano in Sweden, (Norway and Finland).
Some of the best memories Stefan has about BMX are:
At National level: The War of the Stars events were set up to promote our upcoming I.BMX.F European Championships. The best memories was when European start 1993 after a lot of pre organisation. (Even with the singer you write about in your history from 1993. Peter Jöback is now one of the best singers in Sweden and have even big role in Miss Saigon in London 1996-1998. )
At International level: Our first trip to the 1983 World Championships in Slagharen - Holland was one of the best memories for my family and Andreas Nyberg with his parents. We really that BMX in high level was fantastic and only had dreams to have the same level of competition here in Sweden.
Anything else to add, Stefan?
After our Europeans we had BMX congress in Holland. Our test with start with sensors for gate jumps. I think it was a good step for future, but congress stopped after our test. Only mistake from our side was the tolerance was only 2 cm for gate jump. If we had tried with 5 cm I think we would have had a better response.