away last week, aged 65), Malcolm Rathmell and Mick Andrews (although American Bernie Schreiber won the £500 prize). Later winners included John ‘JR’ Reynolds, Jean Pierre Goy (more recently stunt rider on The Dark Knight and Skyfall), Eddy Lejeune, John Lampkin and Steve Saunders.
Wasn’t there a spin- off version? Yup, Junior Kick Start, for under-14s, which had an even easier course, saw the TV debut of future world champ Dougie Lampkin and produced one of Youtube’s greatest hits.
What? Youtube? Ten-year-old Mark Scofield fell from the ‘Pole-over-the-hole’ prompting two St John’s Ambulance men to fall in after him, reducing commentator Purves to hysterics, as he explained years later: “I’ll never forget the young lad who fell. He hurt his pride and almost destroyed his manhood, but the ensuing rush of ambulance men into the pit, where they all fell over, was a piece of television hysteria.” Watch here: www.youtube.com/ watch?v=xsz60st9txq
So why did it all end? Scheduling problems, plus the loss of sponsors on what was an expensive show prompted Brittan to call quits. Purves himself says: “Kick Start and Junior Kick Start were great shows, but I think they had run their course.”
Is there any chance of it returning? A ‘Bring back Kick Start’ campaign was set up on Facebook by bike insurer Express Insurance in 2014, which received 1700 online signatures. Nothing has been heard since…