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New book chronicles history of Bermuda motocross

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Ras Mykkal Motocross Book Launch (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A new book laying out the history of motocross in Bermuda has now hit the shelves.

A labour of love by author Ras Mykkal, a former Bermuda Motocross Association presidet, the book features interviews with some of the sport’s key players, archive newspaper cuttings and historic photographs capturing the most significant events on and off the track in the past 50 years.

Mykkal has donated books to the National Library and National Youth Library with his main aim to ensure the legacy of the sport’s founders live on for future generations.

“It’s not all about preserving the sport but the personalities,” Mykkal said.

Ras Mykkal with his inspiration for the book “Mini” Gilbert (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“There are so many famous people and athletes who are just not known now. I mean Gina Swainson won Miss World back in the 70s and nobody under 40 knows her, and they should. All of the athletes, mechanics, we just don’t know them so I’m taking my passion of sports and highlighting people, their accomplishments and their history. It means a lot to me and hopefully will mean something to others.

Mykkal has spent nearly two years working on the book and in the course of his research he has uncovered some tantalising nuggets.

“I spoke to Malcolm Swan and he had a suitcase that had not been opened for probably 40 years. He had pictures of guys riding on sand dunes at Horseshoe Bay. I’d heard that they did but to actually have pictures where you can see it was so unexpected and I get to share it with everyone.

“Dave Chisnall, we all know him as Papa Chisnall. He’s probably the oldest rider, he came over from England, worked at Belco and he has a very interesting story.

“In his garage he has an AJS 250 Stormer, the first 250cc motocross bike to come to Bermuda and government did not allow 250s to come to Bermuda. There was a huge fight over it and we’ve got all the newspaper clippings. To actually photograph him for the book with the first 250cc bike to come to Bermuda was great.

Flicking through the book is not just a who’s who of motocross but a history of Bermuda through the eyes of a sport and Mykkal is immensely proud of what he has achieved.

“I’m not a person that gets excited but I feel like I’m leaving a legacy,” Mykkal said.

“I like that it means something to others. One of my mates that I rode with was in tears and thanked me over and over. I love photography, I love sports and I’m not the smartest person in the world, I didn’t do well in school but this proves what can be done when you build your education around your passion and get people to spell check for you.”

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Published January 27, 2023 at 7:42 am (Updated January 27, 2023 at 7:42 am)

New book chronicles history of Bermuda motocross

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