August 6, 2012 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
You probably know Johan Lindstrom as the guy who runs the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup Series. This month, Johan’s company, GSX events, will expand its portfolio of event experience to include a first-of-its-kind “blended” Racing/Freestyle event in Berlin, Germany. The Red Bull R.Evolution will take place on August 24, in Berlin’s “Mellowpark,” and will feature 48 invited riders, plus slots for 16 additional “wild card” riders to qualify in. The track will be reminiscent of a Supercross track, but “plussed-up” some, if you can imagine that.
With a US$31,000 prize purse ($10,000 to the winner), it promises to be one of the richest paydays BMX racers have seen this century.
BMX News caught up with Johan as he was making his final preparations to leave for the London Olympics. In the podcast, he goes in to deep detail on the event, and his vision on whether the merger of racing speed and freestyle tricks— on a supercross track— are what’s “next” for all of us in BMX Racing.
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Here is a YouTube video Elite Trax posted showing Nate Berkheimer working on the track in Germany a couple weeks back.
Red Bull R.Evolution (in German)
July 31, 2012 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
>>>**Update Added** 7:40PM Eastern Time, July 31. See below.
An avid chess fan can watch a game, and tell you what moves the board will make in the next five turns. It’s more difficult in the world of BMX to tell what moves will be made by the companies and athletes in our sport. In some cases, an athlete with an exit strategy will sort of fade off the radar, and be rarely heard from thereafter–no fanfare, no fuss. Other times, they announce their next moves, as a bold new chapter, even if it is without words.
Today, GSX Events, promoters of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup announced that 2008 US Olympian Mike Day will join their company as “Vice Marketing Manager” (Which is kind of tough to decode–does it mean “Vice President of Marketing,” or “Assistant Marketing Manager?”). As part of this move, Mike will join founders Johan Lindstrom and Tom Ritzenthaler, and last-known majority owners, StrateSphere, LLC of Gahanna, OH, as an owner of the firm.
On October 14, 2011, BMX News reported that the by-then-defunct NBL’s majority ownership in GSX had been sold to StrateSphere, a private equity firm (who was once the NBL’s landlord), for $5,000, as liquidation of the NBL’s final remaining asset.
GSX successfully promoted the 2012 UCI Supercross World Cup series, and is branching off into independent events, like the Red Bull “Revolution” event next month in Germany.
Though the official release makes clear that Mike will continue his role as professional BMX athlete, it is comforting to see (five moves down), that Mike is setting the table for a post-athletic career (when the time comes). And it’s one that makes perfect sense, given his experience and background in the sport–SX in particular. We hope MDay365 has a long career in front of him on the racetrack, but this move does much to begin writing the next chapter right now.
BMX News sent the following questions to GSX President and CEO, Johan Lindstrom, but decided to post the “meat” of the article before his responses came in. Here are our questions, and Johan’s answers:
* How much ownership will Mike have in GSX?
Mike wishes to keep that confidential, but it’s obviously not a majority ownership.
* Will his ownership take the place of anyone else’s?
Yes, the shares have been “re-shuffled” amongst the owners to make room for Mike.
* Will he have day-to-day responsibilities, or is his role more “of counsel?”
Since Mike is still an active professional BMX racer, his role will be more of an Ambassador of the sport and GSX, and be availale for promotional and development activities.
* What will Mike’s responsibilities entail on a typical day?
In the case of the Red Bull R.Evolution event, Mike has been giving daily/weekly feedback on both track design and event format. I would say that his role will be very similar moving forward. Of course, he has a lot of ideas, and a bold vision that we’re trying to put down on paper and realize in a near future.
* How did GSX and Mike get together on such a bold partnership?
First and foremost, we instantly found that GSX and Mike shared the same vision and goals for the sport of BMX. It’s rare to find a top athlete such as Mike, that sees the big picture and understands what needs to be done in order to move the sport forward. For us, it’s crucial to have an athlete’s view on things. After all, the athletes are the ones making the sport, and we want GSX to reflect what they want, and execute it in the best possible way.
* Is it the idea the Mike will eventually move away from competing, and into a more active role within the GSX operation?
There is no timeline set, but whenever Mike decides to hang up his Red Bull helmet, his office will be here, ready for him. We know that Mike still has plenty of gas in the race tank, so no rush from our side.
One other question, regarding the Red Bull event:
* Regarding the Red Bull event in Germany, (a separate) release talks about “BMX Freestyle Action” with “Sixty-four top freestyle BMX riders” – Is there a freestyle and a racing component to this event, or are the freestyle and racing athletes participating together in some kind of “blended” event?
It’s a 100% BMX race event with some “freestyle” elements to it (think of it as a video game, where you score bonus $$ if you do a trick while racing). Indeed, we will have some freestyle riders invited competing with the racers, but they all come from a BMX racing background and will be able to handle the Red Bull track with ease (….well, perhaps after a few hours of practice).
The official release on Mike Day’s involvement follows:
BMX racer Mike Day as the new part owner of GSX Events Inc. Mike Day is one of the most well-known BMX athletes in the world, being the silver Olympic medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, a Red Bull athlete and a constant front-runner at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup.
Apart from being a dedicated BMX racer, Mike is a strong advocate and spokesperson for BMX with a genuine passion for the sport.
“When I first heard about GSX my interest was immediately peaked. I was intrigued by their exciting vision and the genuine passion for BMX. Aligning myself with this awesome group of industry experts has been one of the best decisions, and I am super pumped to see where it goes from here.” Says Mike Day.
Global SX Events (GSX) oversees the general management of the UCI (International Cycling Union) BMX Supercross World Cup, the world’s leading BMX racing series. Under their management, the 2012 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup so far has brought in record numbers of participants, spectators and an increased media and TV coverage world-wide.
“I have been involved in BMX since I was 9 years old, and I have witnessed it take many different leaps and bounds as a sport. I never thought that we would be as widely recognized as we are and I attribute that to companies like GSX who believe in the sport of BMX racing” says Mike Day. “Through my years in BMX and all the events I have attended, I feel I can bring a level of authentic-nes to all GSX events and programs”
Although Mike will continue his current occupation as a professional BMX athlete, he will act as vice Marketing Manager within the GSX organisation. Mike will bring considerable knowledge and a athlete insight moving the sport to the next level.
“We are very excited of having Mike Day onboard” says Johan Lindstrom, CEO and founder of GSX Events. “Not only will Mike bring an athlete view on things, but his vision and passion for the sport of BMX is definititely something we value” continues Lindstrom.
Mike Days involvement will certainly support GSX mission to promote cutting edge events, as well as answering to the increasing demand of constructing high-level BMX tracks around the world through its subsidiary, EliteTrax, Inc. In the upcoming Red Bull R.Evolution event in Berlin, Germany 24th August 2012, Mike has already been involved giving valuable input on track design and the event format.
Congratulations to all involved! This news is particularly stoke today, because we are getting tired of writing Olympics-waiting-to-happen stories.
December 5, 2011 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
BMX News has been long looking forward to a comprehensive sit-down interview with Johan and Ritz since before the Chula Vista Supercross in September. Johan, is CEO of GSX Events–the independent company that runs the BMX Supercross World Cup Series for UCI. And Tom is CEO of a GSX division called Elite Trax, which is responsible for building all SX tracks on the World Cup circuit, as well as the Olympic track in London.
Any time the riders, spectators, industry or other observers express an opinion or comment about BMX Supercross, threre is nearly a 100% chance it involves a decision one or both of these gents made at some point.
GSX is just about a year old now, and a lot has happened over the past 12 months. We talk about the dark days, when their original partner in the GSX venture–the National Bicycle League, imploded about a month in to the 2011 World Cup series. GSX was relying on the NBL for financial and back office support–and it was suddenly gone. Johan and Tom candidly address how that went down, and also talk about Stratesphere, Inc. a private equity firm, who is their new partner, after buying the NBL’s shares in GSX out of receivership in October of this year.
The guys also address popular hotbutton topics like track design, whether BMX Supercross as a whole helps, hurts or has no effect on “classic” BMX Racing, and whether we will see prize payouts rise dramatically in the 2013 season (after the 2012 games, next August).
It is a fairly long show, but we felt all of the content addressed was of interest to our audience, whether you’re an insider or a fan. Of the topics left on the cutting room floor, we salvaged three clips, which we present to you as “deleted scenes.”
Enjoy the Podcast…and, as always, we’ll be discussing the show over on VintageBMX.com, so come join the fun (and listen to the deleted scenes).
iPhone Users can listen by pasting this URL into their phone’s browser:
June 8, 2011 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
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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