Anthony Sewell, 1962-2009.

Word of legendary BMX racer Anthony Sewell’s passing is floating around on the Internet. Apparently he passed away in his sleep Friday evening.

Sewell started his racing career in 1974 at the age of 12 at California’s Palms park track. He was an accomplished track star who competed in the hurdles. When track meets and BMX races both fell on weekends, he decided to drop the track thing and focus on BMX.

In 1978 he became the first “official” World Champion after winning the trophy dash at the ’78 Jag World Championships. The following year, In 1979, at the age of 17, he turned pro.

Sewell had many sponsors including Jag, Kuwahara, huffy, Murray, KHS, GT, and even S&M… This paragraph from Wikipedia elaborates:

“After dropping out of racing for two years, he raced at the ABA Bakersfield Nationals in Bakersfield, California. It was in response to Chris Moeller jokingly posted signs around the Orange YMCA BMX track as part of the “search” for Sewell. Sewell heard about the search and the posters and went to the Orange YMCA track for those responsible. Not at all angry he was happy that people still knew of him after his retirement. He struck a deal with S&M Bicycles and given a bicycle two uniforms and his entrance fees paid. He was sponsored for only the weekend. He did not make any mains. He crashed in all three qualifying motos both days. Later, his S&M race bicycle was stolen. He then disappeared from the racing scene once again.”

Sewell is credited as being the first person to do no-handers, the first pro to hold the Number 1 Pro title in two sanctions at the same time (NBA and NBL in 1980), and he was inducted into the ABA BMX Hall of Fame in 1998.

He will be missed.

“The Panther” raced for Murray from 1981 to 1984. Sewell was also known as “The Professor” thanks to the thick glasses he wore.

Sewell did stunt work for the 1979 episode of Chips titled “CHP-BMX.”

Anthony Sewell at the BMX Olympic Trials with legends Toby Henderson, Stu Thomsen, Perry Kramer, and Olympic medalist Mike Day. Photo courtesy of Gary Haselhorst.