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Podcast: Johan Lindstrom of GSX Events

June 8, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Johan Lindstrom

Johan Lindstrom has been a man in the background, making the proverbial trains run on time, in the BMX Supercross scene for many years. A few months back, he made the jump from working stiff at UCI to CEO of the newly-created Global SX Events, or GSX.

GSX announced, concurrent with its formation, that they would be acquiring the rights to promote the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup events, beginning with the 2011 season. This was a very important announcement, because the World Cup series is the gateway to the Olympic Games and, if that were not enough, carried a fair amount of prestige on its own.

With the UCI SX deal inked, the group came out of the gate strong, and soon announced GSX was to be the promoter for the NBL’s “NationsTour” — a five-city tour of events (later cut to three cities), which promised unprecedented payouts of $40,000 per event, with $8,000 to the winner of Elite Men.

Unfortunately, the NationsTour started to show cracks early in its trajectory. The first event in Primm, Nevada scheduled for March 12 was abruptly canceled two weeks before the event date (citing problems at the location and/or a disagreement with the landowner).

Then, last month, the NBL announced it was in financial distress, ultimately leading up to the announcement that an agreement had been reached to merge the NBL with the ABA to form USA BMX. With 51% of the shares in GSX owned by the NBL, and the Papendal World Cup event rapidly approaching, you can imagine that there were some serious questions as to whether the NBL’s collapse would also take down GSX, and with UCI SX series down with it.

NBL CEO Gary Aragon was the face of all of the above news. And then, two weeks ago, the Papendal World Cup event grabbed BMX headlines with an innovative-but-extreme track–a near-replica of the track being built in London for the next stop on the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup tour and, of course, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

We had been hoping to get Johan to join us on the Announcers Tower Podcast when he moved to Ohio from his UCI gig in Switzerland, in February. The stars never quite lined up, and the interview never happened.

Last week, Johan reached out to us saying that he could take some time for an interview to bring BMX News readers up to date on a variety of issues. From the current GSX situation vis a vis the NBL, BMX Supercross track design, the London Olympics, BMX Racing’s likely future in the Olympic Games, how BMX Racing might be affected by BMX Freestyle’s entry into the games, and much more. We enjoyed doing the interview, and wish to thank Johan for taking the time to join us. We also made him promise to come back on again after the London SX in August, so keep an eye out for that.

Technical Note: Not sure if it was our Skype or Johan’s phone, but there is some pretty severe digital distortion (at times making Johan sound like Max Headroom). Just know that we are aware of it, and tried to fix it twice while recording yesterday.

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iPhone users: Use this direct-listen link

Replay: ABA/NBL Merger Webinar Audio

May 17, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Mike Carruth

With the permission of the NBL and ABA, BMX News was allowed to record, and rebroadcast, the evening Webinar, so that the entire BMX Racing community could hear what was going on with the ABA/NBL merger.

Let me say that this is an amazing moment in the history of BMX racing, and if you care about the sport and its future, it is worth a full listen (maybe in a few “bites,” which is why we split it into four segments).

More than 100 questions were answered live, as they came in from NBL Track Directors and others concerned with the process. In our opinion, Gary, BA and John David did an outstanding job of fielding all questions that came in, though some details are still to be worked out, and the “proposal” for the merger, while approved by the NBL board, will be finalized in the coming days/weeks.

Many times throughout the webinar, both Gary and BA made it clear that the letter of intent to do the merger is a “living, breathing,” and “working” document, and that details discussed here may change before the final document is signed, hopefully by June 1.

I recommend you look at the original post from earlier today to read the updates and clarifications that were made, as well as highlights of key points in the segments below.

Many readers have asked “Why is Gary Aragon running this meeting if the ABA is the one assuming the responsibility of running the combined organization?” This is because the webinar is directed to NBL Track Directors, so it is fitting the NBL CEO run the meeting, with BA and John there for “after-the-closing” questions. We, as the BMX Racing community, are a “fly on the wall” in this webinar.

Full-Play Audio of the Evening Webinar:

*note: apologies if the first three minutes of segment one sound like an obscene “breather” phonecall for you headphone wearers. I didn’t realize my headset mic was hot and it was about a millimeter from my mouth

Part 1 of 4:

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Part 2 of 4

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^^Clarification: At :10 in segment 2, BA says that as of January 1, all riders will be able to race both ABA and NBL tracks with one membership. The riders will be able to “cross-race” (ABA riders can race NBL tracks and vice-versa), as of the start of the USA BMX program (slated for June 1). However, current NBL riders will only be able to redeem their “credits” (as mentioned above) at NBL tracks. This was confirmed after the fact by BA.

Part 3 of 4

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Part 4 of 4

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Aragon Answers NBL Death Rumors

May 12, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Aragon Answers NBL Death Rumors

BMX News has been monitoring rumors coming from various sources around the country that the NBL announced to its employees that it was laying everyone off and, effectively, closing its doors in two weeks.

We held our breath waiting to see what happened next. What happened, is usually what happens when there is a rumor in BMX Racing, someone posted a thread about on the Vintage forum, and the whole sport jumped in the pool. At peak 275 people were monitoring the thread, and adding their opinion, chide or other creative way to say “I told you so.”

But, we had not heard anything official from the NBL, so News took the Vintage rumor thread as just that–a rumor, worthy of running down, but not “news” just yet.

Gary Aragon responded to our earlier inquiry this morning, and made himself available for a podcast interview to address the rumors, and say “The NBL is not going out of business…we are here to stay and will be for a long time.”

The running time of the interview is about 31 mins–longer than our normal segment time, but we are running the interview largely un-edited (normally, we would pull out a lot of the pauses, and “ums” and “uhs” to condense for time, but we felt it was important to present it as it was said). There were a few points where the phone connection dropped out, so we did edit those out…but they in no way affect the content of what is being said.

Listen Now

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Then, come on over to Vintage and let your voice be heard.

Podcast: Gary Aragon Talks About GSX/UCI Deal

December 16, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Gary Aragon's New Firm will run the UCI BMX SX Series

Over the past month the rumor mill has been digesting this one like an anaconda that downed a doberman. Finally, the UCI made it official this week, with a release stating that a new firm, led by NBL CEO Gary Aragon (Global SX Events, Inc.) would “hold part of the organizing and marketing rights for the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup series.”

The move has raised lots of interest, a few questions, and a few eyebrows in the community, and News thought it would be good to wait a day or two to post the news until the rumor had a time to shake out from the fact. We also thought it would be most-fitting to invite Gary to join us on the Announcers Tower Podcast to talk about the new company, in his own words and answer some of the more burning questions, both on our minds and yours.

We came away from the chat with a better understanding of how the NBL figures into all of this, how GSX figures into the shot-calling on the SX calendar, and the forward-looking role of some of the long-time players on the UCI side of the SX scene.

Listen Now

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Naturally, we’re talking about the interview and the details discussed therein on the VintageBMX.com forum. Come join in the fun and let your opinion be heard.

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