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Derby City Trailer Gets Some Slick Stickering

August 15, 2013 by · Comments Off 

BMX News - Derby City BMX Freshens Up Trailer

With 14 Days left til the focus of the BMX Universe is on their track, the crew at Derby City BMX is in freshen-up mode, tweaking the track, and putting other preparations in place to wow the crowd. Part of this year’s freshen-up is a new skin for the registration trailer.

Many of you might recognize it. The former NBL national trailer rolled in to Derby City, never to roll out again, around September 1, 2011 when it showed up to service the last NBL Grands. The trailer would stick around to start a new life in a petting zoo…er… as the Derby City registration trailer.

Until this week, it still sported the pre-merger NBL graphics, which felt a lot like a bumper plastered with stickers saying “Dukakis For President.” From a bygone era.

Well today, the Derby City crew posted the above shot of their new wrap, fittingly featuring local hotshoe, Tommy Board as the rider.

Great job on the graphics, gang. We will look forward to seeing all of you in the flesh in 14 days (man, this summer FLEW by!).

The Bluegrass Nationals (but I did catch a few people still calling it the NBL Grands) is a three-day national that runs August 30 – September 1. BMX News will be there for full coverage, so keep it right here.

NBL: The Final Chapter?

January 8, 2012 by · Comments Off 

OH Court Approves NBL Disbursement

On January 5, Judge John P. Bessey of the Franklin, OH Court of Common Pleas approved a motion that clears the way for the Court-Appointed Receiver to pay out $257,901.71 in settlement of 225 claims against the National Bicycle League.

BMX News reported, on November 21, that the Receiver had arrived at a figure of 38 cents on the dollar to settle the $674,147.10 in claims that had been made from tracks, riders and other vendors of the NBL. There was a court-mandated period of time for objections to be filed (which none were), and the January 5 action was the conclusion of this process.

Download the final disbursement spreadsheet.

Sources tell us that, in cases like this, disbursement checks could go out in 30-60 days (though that is not an official number).

Aside from the final report from the receiver which is, more or less, a matter of procedure, this action should mark the final chapter in the dissolution of the NBL.

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.

NBL’s GSX Stock to Be Sold to Equity Firm

October 14, 2011 by · Comments Off 

NBL's GSX Stock goes to private equity firm

As part of the ongoing saga in the unwinding of the NBL’s remaining assets, one of the big unanswered questions was “what’s going to happen to the 51% of GSX shares that the NBL owns/owned?”

GSX, as you probably know, is the for-profit corporation that Gary Aragon started, along with Johan Lindstrom and Tom Ritz (formerly of the UCI). The intended mission of GSX was/is to be the global promoter of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup series, and other high-profile BMX Supercross events.

It was a bit of a rocky start, with the NBL “Nations Tour,” which GSX was contracted to run and promote, being scheduled, then canceled, bit-by-bit, by the NBL (the first event, in Primm, Nevada, being canceled less than two weeks prior to race day was an early indication of what was to come).

Meanwhile, the UCI World Cup series started off as scheduled, and the taint of the NBL’s myriad problems did not, from all appearances, seem to cross over into the important work Johan and team were doing, vis a vis Olympic qualifying and staging BMX events all over the world.

On January 21, BMX News carried an article that announced Sarasota, FL would host a World Cup event in September, just prior to the season finale in Chula Vista. Then, on July 13, News posted a story telling of the cancellation of the Sarasota event, leaving 2011 as a four-event series, including the Olympic Test Event in London in early August.

All the while, the NBL–who held the majority share of GSX stock–was sputtering, with management saying “nobody panic,” but then effectively saying “ok, run for the exits,” in Mid-May. The speculation was that the ABA might come in and take GSX under its roof, as it had with the NBL, forming USA BMX.

That ultimately did not happen for reasons neither side will discuss publicly.

Then, on August 10, the NBL Board resolved to dissolve itself, and hand the wind up of the corporation over to a court-appointed receiver. One effect this action had was to take the NBL’s affairs out of the private, “just-between-us” world of the BMX industry, and place the details of the case in the public record.

On September 16, the receiver filed his first report on the NBL case. One of the major tasks was to liquidate the “asset” of the GSX stock that was still on the NBL’s balance sheet. Any funds realized from such a sale would go in to the trust account (which had $251,580.93 in cash on deposit, as of the filing). The receiver will ultimately use these funds to pay court-approved expenses of the receivership…(which, we’ll venture to say, will eat up a large part of the $250k)…and also to pay out monies for claims by NBL creditors (tracks, teams, and riders who are owed money by the NBL, among them).

As to the GSX Stock, the report stated:

“The receiver believes that little or nothing can be obtained by selling it to the general public, but has an interested party with whom the Receiver is negotiating although it is expected that the stock will be sold for a nominal amount. The Receiver believes it is in the best interest of the receivership to make that sale in order to divest the receivership of the stock which otherwise has no value to creditors.”

Sometimes, in cases like this, a sealed-bid process among a small group of bidders, or a public auction is undertaken to dispose of corporate assets, in order to fetch the highest price for creditors by opening the bidding to many interested parties.

That said, in smaller cases like this one, it is not at all uncommon for the trustee or receiver to find any buyer willing to pony up cash money for a difficult-to-dispose-of asset. And 102 shares in a company with no physical assets is about as difficult as it gets.

On September 23, BMX News sent an email to the attorneys for the Receiver, asking if there would be “any kind of auction, sealed bid process or other means employed to get the most favorable return on these shares for creditors, if other suitors were interested in bidding?”

Attorney Nicholas Reeves of Strip, Hoppers, Leithart, McGrath & Terlecky Co. responded to our request on October 3, saying only that “we will be filing another receiver’s report in a week or so which will answer most of your questions.”

That second report was filed on October 4, and did, in fact answer the biggest question of all: WHO would be the new lead shareholder of Global SX Events, Inc.

The Receiver submitted an application to the court to approve the sale of the 102 shares of stock to StrateSphere, LLC. of Gahanna, OH. In fact, looking at the address for StrateSphere (1000 Creekside Parkway, Gahanna, OH) reminds us of another tenant who once had that address: the NBL, itself. StrateSphere appears to own the office suites company (C|Suites) that was the NBL’s landlord.

The StrateSphere website explains the company as using a “Capital business model (that) has been deployed since 1994, maintaining offices in the United States, Saudi Arabia, and India.”

StrateSphere is a decidedly-outside-the-industry company, and appears to have some solid experience in operating businesses with global scope and reach. That could net out to be quite positive, especially if the partners can leverage their business contacts in places like India and Saudi Arabia to bring additional sponsor-interest and funding to the SX side of the sport.

The two minority owners in GSX, Johan and Tom, both signed off on the sale of the stock to StrateSphere. The amount netted for creditors will be $5000.

It is unclear whether StrateSphere Managing Partner and CEO, Tariq Farwana would be stepping into the role of GSX chairman, once occupied by NBL President, Gary Aragon.

BMX News reached out to Johan to get his comment on the sale, and the go-forward plan for GSX, now that it has a new, seemingly-stable majority owner, but the inquiry has not yet been returned.

We’re sure that, if nothing else, it must feel good to have the NBL in the rearview–though, not officially yet, as the sale does not become final until it is approved by Judge John P. Bessey, who is presiding over the case.

We will bring you more on this story, if/when details become available.

ABA ROC and NBL President’s Cup Merge

August 16, 2011 by · Comments Off 

NBL President's Cup Moves to Tulsa, OK

Just in to the BMX News Command Center: The ABA Race Of Champions and the NBL President’s Cup will merge for 2011, to become the USA BMX President’s Cup Race of Champions, held on the Friday of ABA Grands Weekend (November 25, 2011) in Tulsa, OK.

Many of the traditions of the storied NBL classic will be brought to Tulsa, including the “Parade of States” (where all the riders from each state, led by their state’s flag, will walk the track, in a show of state unity). The race will also feature a cup, to be taken back to the winning state (as in previous President’s Cup races), and a banner of all previous President’s Cup winning states since 1985 (ala the “National Champion” banners the ABA has always displayed at the Grands).

The race will remain a “by-qualification-only” event, as both events have been in the past. The ABA Race of Champions qualification criteria are finishing in the top 10 in the ABA State Series, based on age and class (i.e. top ten 8-year old experts). On the NBL side, riders will qualify who have finished in the top 15 in their NBL State Series, based on age and class.

For the Friday event, the stands will be divided by state, so state teams can strategize on how to win the Cup. This will also provide a great opportunity for the ABA and NBL riders who do not normally “see” each other on the state and local level to meet, and compete as a team–all cheering for one and one cheering for all.

The award of the day will carry the “President’s Cup” theme, with cups for all classes. In addition, each class winner will receive a ROC/President’s Cup #1 number plate they can run after the race (ala the ROC #1 in ABA), as well as a “vehicle sticker” you can use to pimp your ride with your #1 honors.

We think this is a great melding of the two cultures, in putting together two world-class events in one venue–an “appetizer” to what will come in 2012.

BMX News will have more on this important development in the unification of ABA and NBL, in the coming days.

—Mike Carruth

Moving Day

June 20, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Enroute from Rockford to Cape Cod, the ABA Semi rolled into Gahanna, OH today (photo), presumably to load up the remnants of the NBL offices. This, following the recent chatter that the ABA/NBL deal is now complete.

Watch BMX News for a full report on the final details of the merger, as well as an interview with USA BMX CEO, BA Anderson.

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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BMX Action Online

ABA and NBL to come together, via USA BMX

May 17, 2011 by · Comments Off 

NBL and ABA will become USA BMX

In a Webinar conducted this morning, NBL CEO Gary Aragon announced that the NBL board of directors has approved a letter of intent on a proposal made by the ABA for the two organizations to “merge operations.”

Both “league brands” will remain in place (meaning there will still be an ABA and an NBL, racing their own style of BMX), but under the proposal, a new, “umbrella” organization, USA BMX, will be created to manage the operations of both league brands and handle support services to tracks, fulfill memberships, etc.

Details are being finalized, and the agreement, while approved by the NBL board, is not yet final. The parties are hoping for an effective date of June 1, 2011 for the proposal to become BMX reality. Repeat, this is a proposal, and not a legally-binding commitment by any party, as of this writing. As Gary Aragon put it on the evening Webinar “this is a living, breathing document, so there may be subtle changes from this point.”

Here are some highlights:

* USA BMX Membership cards will carry both ABA and NBL logos, and all members can race at any track in North America.

* Under the proposal, the NBL’s “All You Can Race” membership format would be discontinued, and all tracks would return to a “pay as you go” format, as in years past.

* A formula will be applied to all of NBL’s “all-you-can-race” memberships to arrive at a “value realized” / “value credit” number. The money you paid in to your 2011 membership will be “debited” at a rate of $5 per local race and $60 per national race you have ridden thus far. For example, if you paid $99 for your local membership, and raced four local races since you bought it, you will have $79 of entry fee credits to use toward further racing under the new…old…well, let’s just say the “pay as you go” system after this goes into effect.

* The NBL rulebook, tracks, racing format, national series, Grand Nationals and other programs will continue, as scheduled, for the balance of 2011.

* All NBL tracks that are presently owed money by the NBL will be paid in full. NBL Pros owerd money by the NBL will also be paid. Both are expected to be paid in full within 30 days of the agreement’s effective date.

* The Christmas Classic will, under the new system, be a combined “East vs. West” shootout, where champions of both Grand Nationals will slug it out to see who is best. Qualifying and other granular details were not yet available.

* ABA CEO BA Anderson, who was in the room with Gary Aragon for the event (along with ABA COO John David), responded to a question from a listener asking “will I have to buy an ABA membership to race one day in Nashville this weekend.” BA said (in the evening Webinar) “for one day, yes you will have to buy an ABA membership” If you are signing up for two days, and have NEVER held an ABA license, you will get your ABA license free.

* The NBL “Board of Directors” will live on, overseeing the “NBL Foundation” which will be charged with “Advocacy, governance, will fund athlete training, fund USA athletes to the UCI worlds and USAC national championships, act as a trustee to a to-be-created “BMX Racing promotion fund,” and other tasks befitting such a board.

* GSX, and their management of the UCI Supercross series will continue as a separate, independent entity. The NBL will divest itself of the shares it currently owns in GSX, and Gary said a purchaser of those shares is already in the picture.

* Gary Aragon will, himself, resign as of the closing of this transaction. He added that he will “put his name in” with the NBL Board to play a role in the NBL Foundation, but it would be up to them, at that time, to re-hire him or not.

* Both Gary and BA were strong in their position that the NBL brand and legacy should continue, with every bit of the sense of pride it always has. The sentiment was that the only thing that would change is the postmark (from Ohio to Arizona).

* The NBL Magazine will reportedly be discontinued (no word on whether Floyd Publications plans on continuing it under a new name).

* In a moment of levity, former NBL Chairman James Bagwell submitted a “question” asking BA for an executive decision on whether his ABA and NBL memberships could be reclassified to Novice. BA said he would grant him the Reclass only if he agreed to a challenge race. If James won, he’d get his reclass. If BA won, James would continue in Expert. No word on whether they’d be using the transfer system or total points.

Update 3:37 CDT: BMX News will post a podcast of tonight’s NBL Webinar. Watch for it soon after the call, around 10:30PM, EDT right here on News

UPDATE 7:58PM CDT RE: NationsTour. We reported earlier that it was officially canceled. After the evening Webinar, it was clarified that the NationsTour was a GSX matter and no final determination has been made yet.

Update 5:10 CDT: Another clarification: USA BMX will pay tracks the $5.95 per rider for any riders that have “credits” on their existing NBL membership. If a rider shows up at an NBL track once USA BMX is in place, they will be able to race without paying an entry fee, and one credit will be debited from their membership. All other riders will be paying a per-race entry fee as of the effective date, and track operators will, once again, pay their race report and insurance fees, as they did before the NBL’s “all you can race” format went into effect, 137 days ago.

Update 6:17 CDT: Former NBL Chairman Darol Carr was brought in to speak for and to the NBL board in the negotiations with the ABA. Gary Aragon says Darol wholeheartedly endorses this agreement.

Update 6:21 CDT:ABA and NBL Halls Of Fame will be combined, and move forward as the National BMX Hall Of Fame.

Update 6:25 CDT: NBL Tracks will fold into ABA state districts as of next season, and all riders in that district will compete for district plates.

Update 6:25 CDT: USA BMX will run one Regional series, to which ABA and NBL riders will be invited to participate.

Update 6:27 CDT: ABA and NBL National series will continue independently, and will end with each league’s Grands…but then both will come together at the Christmas Classic. President’s cup will continue in its current format (with ABA riders brought in for 2012). That is going to probably be the biggest race of all time.

Update 6:30 CDT: “One Membership Card” will take effect as of the closing of the deal

Update 6:27 CDT: $5.95 is the value of one local race to be debited from your paid-in value. Regional and Nationals will be calculated at “Entry Fee” value (the amount you would have paid if you were using a local membership $60 for nationals and $50 for regionals). Team Sheets will work the same way, where a value is assigned to each team sheet going forward, and that amount is deducted.

Update 6:34 CDT: Gary spoke for 34 mins, then opened it up to questions.
NBL Tracks have been told to sign new riders up for a 30-day membership and not a full membership. The thinking is that the new USA BMX membership will be in place for sale by then.

Update 6:48 CDT:Opens Do not count toward your “Debited” racing from your paid-in value.

Update 6:56 CDT: Your 2011 NBL membership will be evaluated in this way:
1). How much did you pay for your membership to date (either up front, or as a per month charge).
2). Less a “membership fee” (undetermined as of this writing)
3). Less how many races you rode based on a value of $5.95 for local, $50 for regionals and $60 for Nationals.

Anything left over against your paid-in value will be a credit toward future entry fees.

Update 6:56 CDT: No location set for President’s Cup/Christmas Classic in 2011 yet. USA BMX will make the announcement in the future.

Below are four segments containing the full audio of the evening Webinar (total running time: about two hours).

*note: apologies if the first three minutes 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

Full-Play Audio of the Evening Webinar:

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.

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