Chris Birch aka Swampy was only 7 when he first threw a leg over a motorcycle. His passion for 2 wheels didn’t start there though; he had always been keen on riding bikes, from the day his stabilisers were removed to his first BMX and the thrill of jumping off a ramp made from a plank of wood and a few bricks.
At the age of 12 Chris' parents took him to a local motocross (MX) track near to Newmarket, Suffolk. Here he experienced his first ever taste of motocross and was immediately hooked.
A few months later Chris got his first motocross bike; all be it a 1973 Bultaco 250cc but a bike’s a bike. He honed his riding skills on local farmers’ fields and then progressed to the local MX tracks.
For his 13th birthday Chris got what he had been dreaming of - a more up to date MX bike, a Suzuki RM125. By riding motocross almost every weekend he quickly improved. Chris did race but nowhere near as often as he wanted to because of the financial cost involved. His parents could not afford to support him as much as they would have liked to.
Chris did a morning paper round to earn money to put towards the running of his bike and as soon as he was able to he started working the weekends at his local MX track as a marshal. This allowed him to practice at the track free of charge once a week after school and for one hour after closing on weekends.
In 1999 Andy Godbold visited the track looking for riders to join his Lings Honda motocross display team. Although Chris was still only 15 at the time he went along for a trial. He stood out from the rest by a mile. He was the youngest and showed a lot of skill by successfully completing a 45ft ramp to dirt jump, which he was later told a lot of the older and more experienced riders refused to try. Andy saw Chris’ potential and offered him the opportunity to join and train with his team. Two months later Chris was away at the weekends performing in Royal and County Shows up and down the country.
As the years past Chris was shining in the team and, as interest in FMX started to grow in Europe, the ramps got bigger, the jumps got longer and the tricks even more spectacular.
In 2002 Chris competed in Airwars 2 in Sheffield, the second ever FMX contest in the UK. He finished in 2nd place in the British championship and 7th overall in the International.
In 2003, and only 19 years old, Chris started to travel to Europe to take part in the IFMXF (International Freestyle MotoX Federation) competitions. Although never achieving the top few places Chris became known throughout Europe as a very respected freestyle rider.
In 2005 Chris signed for Jimmy Verburgh’s Belgium team FMX4Ever. He has travelled all over the world competing in some of the biggest FMX events and taking FMX to countries where it has never been seen before! Chris moved to Belgium to focus on his sport and spends the winter months in the south of Spain so that he can continue his training all year round.
Since 2007 Chris has been a main rider in the Red Bull X-Fighters Exhibition tours. In 2009 he was one of the four riders who gave a FMX demonstration in front of the pyramids in Giza and took part in the competition staged at Battersea Power Station.
Chris is at present considered to be Britain's number 1 freestyle motocross rider. He has a great reputation in the business.
He is now living back in the UK and is working towards taking his riding to the highest level i.e. to compete against the world’s best.
Chris’ goal is to put British freestyle motocross on the map and to be a great ambassador for his sport.
"I just love riding, whether it be FMX or MX or BMX. I love two wheels. I'm just lucky that I'm able to do what I do. Bike riding has taken me places!"