Saturday, 19 September 2009

The 'Steve Peat for BBC Sports Personality of the Year' campaign begins

Billy Netherton with his hero Steve Peat

I got quite a few emails from people after the Guardian's post on Steve Peat last week. One of them said there was a rumour that he was being considered for the shortlist for the BBC's SPoftheY award.

The only way to stop something being a rumour is to make it happen, so ladies and gentlemen, let the campaign begin. Apparently, top sports editors across the UK have some sway in who makes the cut, so if you're feeling passionate drop them an email.

Meanwhile other than being a major, massive, huge asset to MTBing, why should Peat win? Here is Billy and Lance's story so he gets their vote for sure. How about you? Drop me a line (pedalfeet @ live . co . uk, without the spaces) or comment with your reasons and I'll forward them on to the Guardian's sports team.


Lance Netherton writes:

'I am into MTB because of my youngest son Billy, who we bought a bike for his 11th birthday in January last year.

Billy started watching biking stuff on youtube and by chance discovered the film ROAM with the fantastic Steve Peat. We found out he was British - sweet.

In the summer of last year MBUK advertised Steve Peat's Wharncliffe Weekender Charity Event and I booked to go because I wanted Billy to ride with Peaty on the Sunday. I cocked up the gift aid bit when I registered and as a result set up a justgiving website. Billy raised £500 (including gift aid) for the event.

One of Billy's sponsors posted a glib comment of 'see if you can get Peaty to pop down for a Racers Guild session', it got me thinking: 'why not, he's just a human being?'

On the day of the Wharncliffe Weekender when we saw Steve walking across the field on his own, I grabbed Billy ran up to him, shook his hand and asked a for a photo. Do you know what he said? 'Are you Billy? We're really stoked with what you've raised.' I took a great picture which is on Billy's Pinkbike site.

In the evening I bought Steve a beer and planted the idea of coming to Cannock for a low key event with grass roots riders. I told him we'd make it a charity event for any charity he wanted. He was very non committal but did not dismiss the idea.

Sunday came and Billy disappeared - turns out while we were sitting around drinking tea and thinking about packing up the tent Steve (with Billy's help) was picking up the rubbish and broken glass from the nights merriment. We came to do the Sunday ride and I was still packing the tent away and was running late. Steve waited for me to join the group before we started and then got Billy to ride alongside him all the way around. What a day.

Eventually, after much emailing back and forth, Steve said he would come to Cannock and the date was set for November 15th and 'Beat Steve Peat' was born. Steve nominated The Stephen Murray Family Fund as his charity. Stephen is a UK BMX rider who was paralysed in a freak biking accident.

I was nervous about the day and wasn't sure he would come. But he arrived from Sheffield bang on time, with a whole gang of mates including Max, Farmer Jack, Billy Matthews, Josh Lewis, Kevin Radical and Miami himself Josh Bryceland. Each and every one of them paid their entrance for the race and Steve even sponsored Billy $50.

Steve was amazing and took the day seriously putting on a fantastic show for everyone. There was not a moment when he didn't do a photo or autograph when asked. Billy had raised the most sponsorship by far and there was a prize. What people didn't know was that before the day even started Steve came to Billy and gave him a Royal racing jersey signed 'Go Fast Billy, Cheers! Steve Peat'(it's framed an on his bedroom wall). At the end of the day Steve presented Billy with another jersey for getting the top sponsorship. Miami also gave Billy a fully sponsored race jersey. I bought him some WetScreams from Si Paton, what a day he had.

Once all of the presentations were complete and most people had gone, Steve came to me and handed me a plastic wallet with a sponsor form and a load of cash. He had personally raised £600 for Stephen Murray (10% of the total.) So while I was worrying about whether he would come, he was out getting sponsors. He was one of the first to arrive and last to leave. The day will be remembered for a long time and is still talked about.

This is Billy's film of the day:

This is the official 'Beat Steve Peat video:

Got a feeling Billy's going to be up there with the MTB legends in his own right if these skills keep growing. He's 12. I hate him.

So what's your Steve Peat story and nomination? Let me know! (pedalfeet @ live . co . uk, without the spaces)

Billy Netherton at Cannock Chase

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