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NBL Creditors May Get 38¢/Dollar for BMXmas

November 21, 2011 by · Comments Off 

In papers filed with the Franklin County, OH courts on November 17, the NBL receiver stated to the court that it is prepared to disburse the proceeds from recent asset sales to persons and entities who filed written claims.

Boiling out the legalese, four-page document said:

Total claims…as of the date that NBL was placed in receivership total $673,613.22…The net distributable funds (representing funds on hand, less estimated costs of administration and fees) will be $257,907.62. Based on the claims made, the Receiver recommends a distribution to creditors…of 38 cents on the dollar).

Official notice will be sent to all creditors, and if no objections are received, the receiver will tender an order to the court for consideration and approval. Objections in this type of case are rare, since the court looks at how much the company owes, what cash it has, and arrives at an amount-on-the-dollar number. Since all assets are now converted to cash, it is unlikely that any objection would have weight.

Here is the spreadsheet of creditors, and the respective amounts they will receive in satisfaction of their claim. This list is a public document that all creditors will receive in the coming days.

Download Spreadsheet (PDF)

This process has taken far less time than we had anticipated, as these kinds of cases can often drag on for years, sopping up most of the cash in legal fees. In this case, expenses and fees were approximately $42,000 for 208 hours of administration and legal time (including the destruction of 1,000 boxes of documents)

BMX News will have more on this story as it continues.

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.

Todd Hines Resigns From NBL Board

April 8, 2011 by · Comments Off 

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NBL Board member Todd Hines submitted his resignation yesterday, citing growing demands from non-BMX business commitments. Todd signed off his letter to NBL Board Chair Shayne Robinson by saying “I applaud everyone’s passion and commitment to the NBL and I value the friendships I have made while serving. I wish you all the very best and hope to see you at a race sometime soon.”

We wish Todd all the best, and look forward to seeing him cheer on Chase and Hack from the fenceline of an upcoming national.

2011 NBL Rulebook Released

March 3, 2011 by · Comments Off 

2011 NBL rulebook

Following its debut at Competition Congress a couple weeks back, someone posted a link to a PDF version of the 2011 “Track Manual and Rules of Competition.”

We’re posting this here because we know a lot of our readers have questions about rules, points and other aspects of the NBL series which have appeared smoky to this point. Hopefully, the contents of this 140-page document will help to answer some of those unanswered questions.

Visitors to the “Rules” page of the NBL site, may think the new rules are not yet posted, as the date on the “Rules of Competition” section is January 4. 2010…but if you click through, you will find a link to the below PDF.

Download NBL Rulebook

Recap: 2011 NBL Competition Congress

February 22, 2011 by · Comments Off 

2011 NBL Competition Congress Recap

By Carley Young

The NBL Competition Congress is an annual meeting where NBL Board of Directors, Track Directors, Officials, Exhibitors, Sponsors and Visitors all come together to discuss the new year of events and to buff up their skills for running a successful program. This year, over 250 delegates came to Columbus, OH this past weekend, eager to learn about the NBL’S 2011 plans, and revisit some of 2010′s triumphs.  

NBL CEO Gary Aragon was attending his second Congress, and obviously made some major changes between last year’s Congress and this one. In the first year as the CEO, he spent a lot of time “Putting out fires,” and retooling how the NBL fundamentally serves its members.

Though it has been widely reported and discussed, the staff spent some time explaining the “All You Can Ride” membership format, which was the biggest change to come out of Gary’s office in 2010. As a brief recap, the NBL now has three membership levels (Local, Challenger and Championship), with annual price points at $99, $245 and $395, respectively. Your membership allows you to race an unlimited number of events at the level you have purchased–or below, in as many classes as you wish (20″, Cruiser and Open, if you prefer). More info at: http://bmxurl.com/bmxnnblmem

The new membership format has re-energized the numbers at the first three nationals of the year, where rider participation has shot up, and there seems to be a run on cruisers. Gary said that his 2011 goal is to continue to create positive change and growth in the sport we all love. He really assured everyone there is more to good stuff come.

For those that were not able to make it, I have put together a re-cap of some of the weekend’s events:

INFORMATION SESSIONS

This year’s Congress offered 22 informational sessions for attendees: Two Clerking classes, Local officials trainings and certification, State – Regional – National officials training and certification, CPR training and certification, First Aid information, Announcing, Event organizing and promotions, “Music and race experiences,” Health, fitness and nutrition, Marketing your local program, Legal Aspects of your Local Track, Risk Management, Three levels of Track Building, Customer Service, Two Local Program classes, and a “Managing a Successful Track Business” session.

Several times, we were coached to “think of our tracks as a business,” and how this changes several dynamics in the process of running the track. The NBL has created some ways to cut costs for tracks, making it easier for them to make money (one of the most obvious being the new format, which eliminates all sanction and insurance fees from the Track Director’s “expenses” list). These funds can then be put back into the program, and be used for advertising and local-outreach marketing.

Erma Miller led a clerking class to teach the Clerk-of-Course at attending tracks how to use the new software. An IT consultant was on hand, and went around the room with a flash drive, installing the software onto attendees’ computers, and helping troubleshoot any problems. Erma then explained the forms and paperwork necessary to run a track efficiently and successfully under the new NBL format.

Officials Training was taught by Don Wagner and John Pingol. Two classes were offered—- one for local-level referees and one for state, regional and national referees. After the classes, Certification testing was administered, via a thirty- question test with 10 essay questions. It was an open book test but the questions varied from scoring, to on-track issues, and equipment verification. This was very helpful because it encouraged those taking the test read the new 2011 rule book for the first time. After the test, the instructors went over the answers as a group, answering any post-test questions in the room. Test results, and license cards for newly-certified officials will be sent out by mail in the coming weeks.

Johan Lindstrom was on hand at Congress, having recently moved from UCI headquarters in Switzerland to NBL HQ in Ohio, where he heads the new Global SX Events division the NBL recently started. BMX News reported on GSX, and its plans, so if you are not familiar, take a moment to listen to the Gary Aragon Podcast on the subject at http://bmxurl.com/nblgsx

Johan showed a Powerpoint on how to organize and promote large national events, similar to the UCI Supercross World Cup. He demonstrated tools we can use to promote our national events to sponsors, as well as using local event promoters to help with the organization for the event.

DJ Uncle R recently joined Johan’s team. He is from Sweden and travels on the UCI Supercross tour to bring the entertainment to the races. He showed us some tips to keep the crowd involved and the race running smoothly with the power of music. He later spun some tunes for the “Retro Rock Night” party on Saturday night.

We got to meet the men behind the NBL’s new marketing materials, featuring Donna Snow. Each group conducted breakout sessions to help us understand their respective roles better, and ask questions of the experts. Tim Flaherty from Post House Video Productions, Steve Hamm from Fusion Integrated Marketing and Mike Koulermos from Brainchild. They each met with Donna at the Akron, OH track, and shot some unique videos that the NBL faithful, and John/Jane Q Public will be seeing a lot of throughout 2011.

They developed three marketing programs, all of which can be personalized by a local track. It was explained that the goal behind these marketing tools is for NBL BMX to present a consistent, uniform image in every state. This will create brand recognition in people and can grow to become a household name. The NBL gave out flash drives with all of the marketing materials loaded on them so delegates have them in one convenient place once they got back home. One session turned into a great brainstorming session, with great ideas from around the room on where to place signs and where to post these videos to help get kids to come out and see what BMX has to offer each community.

Sarah Towning is Vice President at “Wellness Collective,” and she led a session on the benefits of balance between nutrition and exercise. That is fairly obvious, but when used in the context of promoting BMX Racing at the local level to parents and community leaders, it can be powerful stuff.  We all know BMX provides kids with more than exercise, it teaches valuable life lessons about learning to win graciously and lost with dignity, the importance of academic success, teamwork, and releasing stress and energy.  There was a lot of preaching to the choir done, but it was great to know how united we were in our views on the subject.

Tom Ritz is known for building amazing tracks. Having rejoined the NBL HQ crew via the GSX deal, Ritz came to Congress to teach three sessions on building and maintaining tracks properly. He has been in the business for a long time, and his words were helpful to some of us who are just starting out. Something shared in Ritz’s session was a change in the NBL’s insurance. Starting this year, all tracks need to go through the NBL for any track rebuilds that require heavy equipment use or, unless they hire a subcontractor that can provide their own insurance and name the NBL as “additionally insured.” (must be done three weeks prior to the build). Requests for track rebuilds or major changes (requiring heavy equipment) Such requests should be directed to Donna Smith at the NBL Office. Track “grooming” that does not require heavy equipment can be done by the local organization. Tom Ritz is running his own GSX division, called “Elite Trax” and will be doing all the NBL-directed rebuild work.

SOCIAL GATHERINGS

Friday night, the NBL arranged to bring everyone to their headquarters in nearby Gahanna where delegates were invited to take a tour of the corporate office. The City of Gahanna is one of the most vibrant communities in the metropolitan Columbus area, and makes it an attractive place for people to live and do business. The unique thing about NBL’s HQ is that it is shared with other businesses, many of which we met earlier that day in the education sessions (The Wellness Collective, Brainchild and Fusion Marketing all have offices in the same suite).

What is an event without a party? Saturday night at 8:00pm the UCI music mastermind DJ Uncle R pumped up the volume with some dance party favorites. The “Retro Rock Night” theme had people dressing in their favorite era-correct garb from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, or 80’s. Alice Bixler, always ready for a good time, prepared special awards for those who participated in the event. Gary was not too shy to pick up the mic and get the crowd going. They had a blow-up guitar contest and awarded the best head banging, high kicking, rock and roll superstar with a trophy. Three finalists made it to the main and battled it out for the top podium spot. 

NBL HALL OF FAME

Board Member Michael Gentilcore announced this years Hall of Fame Inductees. This year, three men were inducted.

Anthony Sewell was one of the greatest heroes of all time, and had the honor of being the first BMX World Champion and was the first pro to hold titles in both sections. Anthony pasted away in his sleep in 2009, but will always be remembered as one of the greats.

Greg Hill is no stranger to NBL BMX, with more then 250 pro wins. He was awarded BMX Action’s NORA Cup four times, and currently teaches kids what is it to be the best with his skills clinics.

Eric Rupe was able to attend congress and accepted the award from Gary. In his acceptance speech, Big Daddy talked about how it felt to be part of a sport that continues to grow. He held two AA-Pro titles and is known as the icon of icons. He is what a BMX pro should be, and is still deeply involved in the business. 

BOARD ELECTIONS

This year, four members of the board ran for re-election, Shayne Robinson, Dan Rumple, Betty Mulligan, and Jerry Patterson. Jerry Bagwell was up for re-election but asked to be removed from the ballot, citing family reasons. He has done a great deal for our sanction, and everyone wished him and his family the best.

Aside from the four standing for re-election, four additional delegates threw their hats into the ring for election to the board. Kittie Weston-Knauer of Iowa, Robert Wiginton of Alabama, John Scott of Ohio, (all three NBL State Commissioners of their respective states), and Bud Higgins from Virginia. All candidates did an excellent job on their speeches and getting to know the group.

All four of the directors standing for re-election were re-elected, and the battle was on for Bagwell’s vacated seat. Kittie Weston-Knauer took the ballot in the end.

The Non-Board Nominating Committee also took nominations from the floor and three people were nominated, Michelle Messing, Art Heinrichs, and Vincent Jorrand. All three members gave us a brief description about them, where they were from and their current status with the NBL. Only two positions were available and Michelle Messing and Art Heinrichs were awarded those seats. The NBL was thankful for all the nominations and everyone who took part in voting. 

Editor’s Note:

The newly-elected NBL Board met for the first time yesterday (Monday, February 21) to elect their 2011 officers. They are:

Chair: Shayne Robinson
Vice Chair: Kim Feinstein
Treasurer: Jerry Patterson
Secretary: Betty Mulligan

AWARDS

A key component of Competition Congress is that it provides the NBL an opportunity to recognize people for extraordinary efforts the previous year.

At the 2010 Christmas Classic, Florida, once again, took home the gold. At Congress, they received a check for $3,000. Ohio, Michigan and Georgia were second, third and fourth, and took home checks for $2,000, $1,700 and $1,300, respectively. Virginia pulled in the fifth place with a check for $850.

The next award was given to the highest average number of riders at local events. First went to Foothills BMX in Connecticut. Second went to G.T.C. BMX in Michigan. Third went to T.R.A.C.K in Connecticut, and Fourth went to Bethel Supercross also of Connecticut.

Then came the award for the highest number of New Full Memberships. First went to Okeeheelee BMX, FL. Second went to Tri-City BMX, NY. Third went to BMX Shoreham, NY. Forth went to Miami South BMX, FL. Fifth went to Foothills BMX, CT.

Everyone who presented at Congress was awarded a plaque for their sessions. Donna and Tim Fraley, The Wellness Collective, Eric Lichter, Roger Plaskett, DJ Uncle R, Fusion Marketing, Brainchild, Fox & Fox Law, Philadelphia Insurance, Art Heinrichs, Brett Riley and Donna Snow.

A big thanks goes out to the Competition Congress Committee. If it was not for these girls the event would have not have run so smoothly; they really stepped it up. Part of their “extra-special” effort was the creation of gifts for all presenters, and goodie bags for the attendees. They were also the organizing force behind the Retro Rock Party. Big props to Alice Bixler, Cathy Knapper, Laura Pingol and Mandy Pfender.

This was my first Competition Congress, and I was very impressed with the experience. Already looking forward to next year.

File Photo (Above) by Mike Carruth

NBL Chairman James Bagwell Will Not Run For New Term

February 16, 2011 by · Comments Off 

James Bagwell resigns as chairman of the NBL

Citing his declining involvement in the sport of BMX, and his desire to spend more time with his two sons, NBL Chairman James Bagwell submitted his letter of resignation this morning. With only four days remaining on his term, the resignation mostly signals his desire not to stand for re-election in advance of this weekend’s annual Competition Congress meeting, where his first term would have expired (NBL bylaws specify that Board Officers are elected for a term of one year).

No candidates to succeed him were immediately clear.

The letter, sent to NBL board members, and published with Mr. Bagwell’s permission, is below:

To all:
 
I have been struggling the past few weeks to get myself to want to come to Congress this year.  The past two years have been extremely difficult for me personally as I lost both my parents and my marriage of 20 years.  Over these past two years I have been raising my two sons by myself (for which I am very grateful).  So, needless to say, I have had quite a bit of change over the past two years that have significantly changed my life on a personal level.
 
With those changes, my participation in BMX has become non-existent.  I simply do not have the time to dedicate to the sport.  Therefore in my opinion, it is unfair for me to hold a position on the board, knowing there are others who are passionate about the sport and have the time and energy needed to fulfill this role.  I do not want to be an idle road block to someone else having an opportunity to serve the organization.
 
Leading up to two years ago, I was very committed to the sport and the sanction.  I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve, but I am not the same person as I was two years ago, and BMX has become more of an afterthought for me as my priorities in life have changed.  My boys are at critical ages in terms of preparing one for college and the other for high school.  Neither of them have any interest in the sport any longer as they have now moved on to focus more on their acedemics.
 
I really did not want to do this, but as this week has progressed, I found myself trying to “talk myself into going to Congress.”  It is at that point I realized, I have no good reason to do so.  If my heart is not in it any longer, then I would not be as effective as I should be.  It would be silly to spend the sanctions resources on me coming up there.  Additionally, it would be very difficult for me to come based on the fact my mother is no longer here for the boys to stay with.  I feel I may be letting people down, but the reality is all of the current board members are great people who are very capable of handling anything and all of them are much more motivated than I am.  So, I feel confident the sanction is in good hands and I know Gary is very capable to continue to lead without my influence.  He has been doing so for quite some time. 
 
In summary, it is time for me to step aside.  I wish you all the very best.  It has been an honor to work with each of you.  But this decision is a very personal one and one that I know is best for me and the organization.
 
Best regards,
 
James Bagwell
 

Aragon Explains New Deal to NBL Faithful

August 20, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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In a series of live Webinars, NBL CEO Gary Aragon presented the changes to their program previously reported on Sunday by BMX News. Aragon also answered questions typed in by attendees.

Since the news broke on Sunday morning at 10AM Eastern Time, the VintageBMX.com message board has been the defacto town square for discussion on the changes. All points of view have shown up to the discussion, with some foretelling the imminent demise of the NBL within months, and others saying “Watch out ABA!,” and literally every shade of grey in between.

Much of what was reported in the Sunday article was also in Aragon’s slide deck for the Webinar. He did fill in some additional detail about the costs of the three levels of membership, and what is included in each:

LOCAL: All-You-Can-Ride local racing at any outdoor track in the Nation with no entry fees. There may be indoor fees to cover the added cost of indoor facilities depending on track. There may also be trophy fees depending on track. Includes both 20” and Cruisers! Includes access to Pre-races at Nationals and Entry into the President’s Cup.

CHALLENGER = All the benefits of the LOCAL membership PLUS All-You-Can-Ride Challenge Championship Series racing with no entry fees (Editor’s note: The “Challenge Championship Series” is the new name for the NBL Regional series). Includes both 20” and Cruisers! Includes the Challenge Championship and All Challenge Championship Entries.

CHAMPION = All the benefits of LOCAL and CHALLENGER membership PLUS All-You-Can-Ride National Series racing. Includes both 20” and Cruisers!

The pricing matrix of how much all this will cost was also brought into sharper focus, with multi-member discounts for families (called “Single, Duo, Trio and Quattro” for households with one, two, three or four or more members, respectively). They also announced attractive discount to sign up for the new membership (or convert your existing membership) by January 1, 2011.







One attendee asked if households could mix & match membership levels, and still qualify for the multiple membership discount. “No, each member must be on the same level of the plan.” Said Aragon.

Gary then moved into laying out the NBLs proposal for how tracks will be compensated under the new system.

NBL will pay the track $5.95 per entry at local races (so if someone rides cruiser and 20″ they get $11.90). No pay for opens. Track can charge a “Trophy fee” and can also charge for practices at their discretion. Indoor tracks can charge a facilities charge to defray the extra costs associated with running the facility. In addition to the $5.95, the NBL will pay 25 cents per local entry into a state fund, which will be turned over to the state organization to help fund the state series.

Tracks can also hold special “fundraising” races for which they can charge an entry fee.

BMXNEWS asked the question which has been a hallmark of the detractors to this plan: “If, for a local membership, you are taking in $10.26 per month, and people are racing two bikes, three times per month, which equals $35.70 paid out to the track, how is that sustainable?” The answer given was that “actuarial math” was being used to factor these calculations, and Aragon assured the attendees that these numbers had been run, and run comprehensively before announcing the plan.

The NBL also announced a Performance-based incentive for tracks who book larger races next year than their average headcount in the 2010 season. Tracks running five races above their 2010 average will receive a bonus of $250, 10 races above average will earn $300, and 15 races above average will earn a $500 bonus. Local tracks will also receive a commission/bonus for signing up new members. This amount will range from $5.00 for a single “Local” membership, to $72 for a “Quattro” pack of “Champion” memberships.

It was also discussed that Teams would be eligible for discount, bulk-pak, memberships. “News” had some questions on how, exactly, this will work, and has submitted those to Mr. Aragon for further explanation.

The discussion then turned to Proficiencies and Moveups.

Gary explained that, because of the connotation that the term “Novice” carries (as a person with little experience in a given endeavor), the class would be renamed to better suit those who race it. Novice will now become “Challenger” Class.

In addition, the Super-Ex class (which is the lower Pro class in the 2010 NBL) will be renamed A-Elite, and the top pro classes for men and women will be renamed AA-Elite.

The term “SuperX” will be retasked to a new class that was described by Aragon to be the NBL’s “Youth Development” class (for riders 14-16 years of age, based on birth year). He continued to say that USA Cycling has acknowledged NBL’s program, and they are “working on access for NBL riders to the Olympic Training Center.” Riders in the SuperX class will petition the Director Of Competition (DOC) to request entry into the class, and from that point on, they will race the three-age-combined SuperX class instead of their single-age expert class.

As previously reported, all riders finish the year in the proficiency they started in, unless they specifically petition for a reclassification up or down. An attendee asked how long a reclassification petition might take to be considered, and the answer was “About a week.”

Proficiency move-ups will now be decided, not by wins, but by “Gate Drops.” This way, everyone in a rookie class is gaining moveup credits for every race they ride–something that seems to be quite popular, in the face of the storied, “7-year rookie” A total of 40 gate drops and a minimum of one year racing is required for a move from Rookie to Challenger. Challenger to Expert Moveups are a bit more complex, with two years, 100 gate drops, AND the rider being in the 90th percentile of his class. It still was a unclear to “News” what sample would be used to determine a given rider’s percentile (would it be all riders that age, all national riders of that age, all same-aged riders at a given rider’s local track, etc.).

NATIONAL SERIES

A great deal of time was spent, in the 2 and a half hour webinar talking about the National series, and what its new form would be.

For 2011, there will be 20 national weekends. Of the 20 weekends, they will be divided, five each, into the following race types:

5 – Super ProAm
5 – ProAm
5 – Mixed Doubles
5 – Team Spectaculars

The concept of a ProAm National may, at first, seem a little awkward (or downright objectionable) for longtime BMXers. We are used to a “ProAm” being a race where pros and amateurs race, elbow to elbow, for a monetary prize. That is NOT what this is.

In the 2011 NBL National series context, a ProAm (or Super ProAm) is a VIRTUAL Team Sheet where all riders participate, regardless of age, proficiency, gender or wheel size. Riders are automatically entered, and are assigned, at random, to a grouping of other amateurs and ONE pro. These groupings will then be posted on the motoboards, so people can see who else is on their team for that day. The concept, according to Aragon, is to get people talking to other people at the track. If you have a 12 Challenger, a AA Elite, a 45 Cruiser, a 12 year old girl and a 14 Expert on your ProAm team for that day, you’re going to be watching their races, and cheering them on…because if they do well, your team could win the purse for the day.

For the five Super ProAm races, the purse is $4,000. The pro on the team will be awarded a “lion’s share” portion of the purse, and the amateurs on the team will split the remaining amount. Elites will be paid in money, and amateurs will be paid in US Savings Bonds. The Five Pro Ams will have a $2,000 purse.

A “Mixed Doubles” race is the same format as the ProAm, except that girl racers are used in place of Elites (There will not be a Pro Open at the Mixed Double races).

A Team Spectacular is a regular National weekend with a $2000 Team purse per day. It was not clear as we post this if the $2000 would be for just the Factory Team division, or if it would be split with the Bike Shop Team.

The crown jewels of the new NBL National series are intended to be the five NBL “NationsTour” races. On four weekends (plus the Grands), the Tour will pay out an Elite purse in excess of $40,000, with $8,000 going to the Elite winner and $4800 going to the Elite Women winner. Elite-A and Masters winners will each get $1800. Elite-AA riders will pay a $300 entry fee, but no separate NBL membership fee is required. Elite-A and Masters riders will pay an $80 entry fee (at non-NationsTour races, the entry fee will be $75 for all Elite classes).

In the “National Championship Series,” riders must still have six scores to qualify. Rookie classes will be offered at the National Championship Series races, but Rookies will not be plated. Some of the qualification and scoring details:

Challenger Class (Novices)

Four (4) of the Six (6) races must be NBL National Championship Series races and two (2) may be NBL Challenge Championship Series races. In addition, a rider must have three (3) local, races to qualify.

Riders will be scored based upon the best six (6) total scores; two (2) Challenge Championship Series race may be used for calculating points.

Experts

Four (4) of the Six (6) races must be NBL National Championship Series races and two (2) may be an NBL Challenge Championship Series races.

Riders will be scored based upon the best six (6) total scores and one (1) may be an NBL Challenge Championship Series race.

SuperX (Youth Development 14-16yr olds, by birth year)

Six (6) races must be NBL National Championship Series races and NO NBL Challenge Championship Series races will be used for qualifications.

Riders will be scored based upon the best six (6) total scores and NO NBL Challenge Championship Series race will be used for calculating points.

REGIONAL SERIES

The Regional Series is now known as the Challenge Championship Series, and will be 20 races total. In all, 16 of the races will be held simultaneously in four regions on the same day. Rookies will be plated in the Challenge Series. Some Qualification and Scoring details, lifted from the Slide Deck:

Qualifications:
Each rider must have a total of ten (10) race entries with a minimum of one (1) NBL Challenge Championship Series and five (5) local, single-point races to qualify.

Any other race, ie. local, state, Challenge, or National Championship Series, can be used for the remaining 4 races to qualify.

Riders will receive quad points for one of their Challenge Championship Series entries and triple points for one of the National Championship Series entries. The pre-race at each series will remain a triple local point race. The Regional Championship will continue to count as a qualifying races for the National Championship Series for that current season’s Grands.

Scoring:
Riders will be scored based upon the best six (6) total scores; however, only one (1) double point, (1) triple point and one (1) quad point race in calculating their score.

“OVERALL AMATEUR AWARD”

Based on a total points calculation, NBL will award an overall Amateur Champion at the Grands on Sunday (2011). It was not clear if ALL points (local, regional and national) would be used to determine this winner, or if only National Series points would be used.

TEAM SCORING

Teams will now be scored using the international standard” for team scoring, which counts motos, mains, bonus points for quarters and semis, and Grands Bonus points.

SUMMARY

Overall, the response in the Webinar was quite positive, and acceptance seems to be growing as these radical changes sink in to the party faithful. Still, many are adopting a “wait & see” posture, and others (mostly in the West where there are few-to-no NBL tracks) are meeting the news of these changes with a shrug.

The Vintage discussion is still at full flame (over 950 replies and 45,000 views), and specific discussions have ben started for things like teams, and State Series questions/concerns. Come on over and join in the fun!

—Mike Carruth

NBL Announces Dramatic Changes For 2011

August 15, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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The NBL will announce today, at a press conference held at its Prunedale Last Chance Qualifier, that it is making sweeping changes to the way it operates, starting after the Grands. BMXNEWS got an advance copy of the remarks, and brings the scoop to you one hour before the official announcement.

These changes cover everything from how moveup points are awarded, to the Elite Series, to the very idea of what an NBL membership is.

Here are some early details:

MEMBERSHIPS

The most profound change for 2011 is the way NBL will deal with memberships.

Instead of paying an annual membership fee, and then entry fees at each race, the NBL will now charge a per-month membership fee of between $10.26 and $40.93 per month, but all entry fees will be included.

There will be three tiers of memberships (tentatively called “Local,” “Challenger” and “Champion”). The rider decides which to sign up for, based on the type of racing s/he wants to do. If you are mostly racing locals, you pay a one-time sign up fee of $25, then $10.26 per month (a total of $148.12 for the first year). With that payment, you can race an unlimited number of local races, anywhere in the NBL system. You can still race nationals with a local membership, on an ala carte basis, by paying a $60 per race entry fee.

To race the National series, you will pay a $35 one-time sign up fee, and $40.93 per month ($526.16 for the first year). That includes an unlimited number of race entries of any kind (locals, regionals and nationals).

One membership is good for 20″ and Cruiser, so for $40.93 per month, you can race either, or both. There are discounts for multiple family members, or if you want to handle your annual membership in one payment instead of monthly.

Your existing NBL membership will need to be converted to the new system. And while there will not be any NBL National racing between the Grands and Christmas, there will probably be Regionals in October. Riders signing up for those regionals will be the first members to make the conversion. The second wave of riders will be converting at the Christmas Classic, which is the first national featuring the new format. Local racing will be last to convert, with any riders signing up to race locals required to convert to the new membership on or after January 1, 2011.

Members will receive $5 credit for every month left on their existing membership. That credit will go toward offsetting the sign-up fee for the new membership, or toward offsetting the monthly payments, if the credit exceeds the signup fee.

The membership will be a 12-month “contract,” meaning that members will have to commit to paying for all 12 months. If you decide to upgrade your membership from Local to National, you will pay the difference in the sign up fee ($10), and will be required to start your contract year over again.

A 30-day trial membership will still exist, and will be priced at $25. That $25 will be applied to the sign-up fee if/when the member upgrades. The Bring A Buddy program is back, and members will be awarded one month of free membership, up to 12 months, for each new member they sign up.

TRACKS

Tracks will no longer pay any fees to the NBL (no race report fees, no insurance fees, etc). Instead, tracks will be paid by the NBL for each rider at their races.

Paid practice will also be a thing of the past, for better or worse. Tracks can run practice, but they cannot charge for it–but since they are not going to be paid to run it, it is doubtful you’ll see many non-race-day practice sessions.

Tracks will be permitted to charge a small additional fee for riders who want a trophy at a local race. Indoor tracks will also be permitted to charge a supplemental fee to support the added expense of operating the facility.

CLASSES AND PROFICIENCIES

The NBL will add 40 (you read it right, four-zero) new classes to their program for 2011.

While the full list is still being finalized, the proposal BMXNEWS obtained calls for a newly-created Girls Expert class (5-7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17-18, 19-25, 26-34, 35-40, and 41-over). The plan also calls for a 30-over Rookie class for both 20″ and cruiser. The NBL will also bring in many individual-age cruiser classes for the boys (9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16).

The Novice class will be reneamed “Challenger” class in the new year (so the common amateur proficiencies will be Rookie, Challenger and Expert).

There will also be a fourth proficiency added called “Super-X” (not to be confused with the SuperEx of previous years which was basically A Pro). The new Super-X class will be a birth-year class for 14-16 year olds, and is being promoted as a “Jr. Development” class. Unlike ABA’s Jr. Devo, which is akin to an open class, this is a plated class unto itself. Riders racing the Super-X class will not race their normal expert class in addition to this one. The class will exist for both Boys and Girls.

The class formerly known as SuperEx will now be known as Elite A, and the Elite class will be known as Elite AA. The rules behind qualifying for Elite A and Elite AA are coming together, and are a little more complex than we have time to talk about here.

MOVE-UPS

One thing that is bound to cause a stir is the new policy that says whatever proficiency you start the season in, you will finish the season in that proficiency. Exception given to those who petition the Director of Competition specifically for a self-move-up. Self moveups are frozen as of 30 days prior to the Grands.

Moveup points will change from the long-standing “number-of-qualifying-wins” to a particular number of “gate drops,” and other factors. For rookies, one year of experience and 40 gate drops will require a move up the day after the Grands. The way we understand it, if the rider has fewer than 40, he will stay rookie for another year, unless s/he petitions the Director of Competition specifically for a self-move-up.

Once you get to “Challenger Class” (Novice), the formula that decides how you move up to expert gets very complex, and will be almost impossible to calculate without help from the NBL office. The formula is: A minimum of 100 gate drops and a minimum of 24 months total participation. A rider who has met these minimum requirements will be moved to Expert if they are in the 90th Percentile in their class.

Any gate drop in competition will count toward the moveup tally. This includes motos, quarters, semis and mains…but not practice.

The Director of Competition must personally approve any moveup from Expert to Super-X, or to either of the Elite classes.

NATIONAL SERIES

What was formerly known as the “Elite Series” will now, according to NBL CEO Gary Aragon, be spun off into a separate league, called the “NBL NationsTour.” The NationsTour will feature four events during the season, plus the finals, which will be held in conjunction with the Grands.

The NationsTour will feature a supercross-style Friday Time Trial and Saturday racing format. The total purse for each series race will top $40,000, with the top Elite AA hoisting a check for $8,000, and the top Elite Woman taking home $4,800. Even masters will be rewarded handsomely, with an $1800 check for first.

The Championship Payouts will be double, with $16,000 going to the top Elite AA, and $9600 going to the top Elite Woman.

Unlike the amateur program, there will be no NBL membership required to race the NationsTour, and riders will pay an entry fee to race (probably around $300).

In addition, the NationsTour events will also feature an amateur racing program patterned after the UCI worlds format of birthyear and wheel size (no proficiencies).

The NBL National series will now be called “NBL National Championship Series” and will consist of approximately 35 races, on 20 weekends. The races will be divides into four different types of races (Super ProAM, ProAm, Team Spectacular and Mixed Doubles). We will go into more detail on these in a later report, as they are quite complex, with many layers to each.

Rookies will no longer be plated at the national level, but will be plated at the Regional level.

REGIONAL SERIES

The “Regional” series is being replaced by the “NBL Challenge Championship Series.” At press time, this series will consist of 20 events, with 16 of them held on the same days in each of four regions. Four additional events will be spread out on the calendar. In addition to a Challenge Championship in each region, there will also be an “All-Challenge Championship” to replace the US Open on Friday of the Grands. The winner of this race in each class (Rookie included) will receive a Gold number plate which they can run at any NBL race (nationals included).

Novices (Challenger class riders) will be able to use TWO regional scores toward their six needed national scores. They must also have three local races to qualify. Experts also need six scores, and can only use one regional score as part of the six.

MAGAZINE
As you have probably heard earlier this month, the NBL Magazine will be making a comeback. Rechristened as “N” Magazine, the first issue is expected to make its debut at the Grands. The NBL promises a “lifestyle publication” which covers “Life in the (BMX) Nation, rather than standings.”

SUMMARY
No doubt this is a lot for NBL members to get their heads around. The NBL will be filling in a lot of the broad strokes outlined here in the coming days and weeks. It probably bears saying that there is bound to be some tweaking
to some of the terminology and exact mechanics.

But we wanted to get you the early scoop on these important developments. We’ll be talking about it over on the VIntage forum, so come join the discussion.

NBL Recognizes Veterans with Free Memberships

May 5, 2010 by · Comments Off 

The National Bicycle League is giving free memberships to veterans of the US Armed Forces

The NBL announced this week that, beginning at the Freedom Nationals in Woodbridge, VA this weekend, a new program would provide free NBL memberships to Veterans of the US Military.

A press release said “To receive the free membership, veterans need only complete a membership application, [and provide] proof of veteran status.” While the offer fittingly begins at the Freedom Nationals, it will be available league-wide at nationals and local tracks alike, forward of May 8. It is open to 20″ and cruiser memberships, and Veterans racing both are welcomed to avail themselves of both memberships, compliments of the guys in Gahanna.

Notice that, throughout the piece, we have said “Veterans,” quite specifically. The offer is open to Veterans only, meaning non-active-duty personnel. When asked by a reader, why this innovative promotion would not be extended to Active Duty personnel, NBL Chairman James Bagwell commented on VintageBMX.com “there are more things to come as relates to “active” military. Stay tuned.” Stick with BMXNEWS for more details on this and other breaking news items.

BMXNEWS.COM wishes to take this opportunity to acknowledge, and thank, our brave Veterans and active-duty servicemen and women for their unwavering commitment to the freedom of our nation. The NBL definitely deserves our gratitude as well, for bringing more of these brave men and women to our sport, and recognizing the prior commitment of those already in staging.

NBL Flips the Switch on New Website

February 1, 2010 by · Comments Off 

BMXNEWS.COM reports on BMX Racing News with a story about the NBL's New Website
BMXNEWS got a glimpse of it last week, but today marked the day when the NBL officially flipped the switch on their new website. With eyes toward providing a reasonable alternative to their now-defunct print publication, BMX Today, the new site has a few solid “Web 2.0″ bells and whistles which will hopefully bring info-seeking members and prospective members to the site a time or two each month.

The “BMX Today” section was jumped on, in fairly short order, by Vintage members. But we think the site deserves some runway before the serious criticism is leveled. One aspect we find interesting, however, is the fact that stories served up online should probably not be as long as the ones that used to be published in the print version of the BT. The Christmas Classic story was fairly tedious to get through, reading at times more like prescription drug instructions than entertainment copy. That is the nature of the beast in the online setting. The story is probably better told in photo/caption form (but, we also noticed that the photos in the gallery were devoid of captions, so that may be tricky).

All in all, we commend the NBL on their efforts to polish up their online offerings. The old technology maxim “ship, then iterate” will undoubtedly be applied here as we start to see some of the other features NBL touted in their lead-up to the new site launch. We especially like the “Rider News” section this week, where you can find links to BMXNEWS Announcers Tower Podcast episodes featuring Arielle Martin and Donny Robinson.

Check out the new site at NBL.ORG

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