BMX sponsorship changes -- December 2013
BMX sponsorship changes -- Dec. 2013
Usually, news of sponsor changes and brands dropping out of BMX doesn't drop until early in January, but this year is different. Starting in early December, news of heritage brands scaling back their BMX programs began to drop, followed by a rash of sponsor changes that continues to grow by the day. What follows is a short collection of sponsor and brand change news that has circulated over the past few weeks.
Ronnie Napolitan leaves Haro
After releasing an amazing section in the Markit Zero video just a few months ago, Haro team rider Ronnie Napolitan reported that he was being released from the Haro Bikes team. No specific reason was given for the decision to release him. Napolitan remained unfazed by the news. He continues to represent Demolition Parts.
Cory Nastazio leaves Haro
After many years on the Haro Bikes crew, veteran BMX dirt rider Cory Nastazio announced via Twitter, in all caps, that he was no longer riding for Haro in 2014. "They are amazing but I will be looking for a new bike company to ride for [in] 2014," said Nastazio. Nastazio remains sponsored by Vans and still hosts a weekly radio show.
Josh Harrington leaves Premium
Haro was not the only team to trim riders. Their sister brand, Premium, also decided to release some riders, including original team member Josh Harrington. Harrington released an amazing promo video for his new signature Premium frame The Stray last fall, and his name has largely been synonymous with the Premium brand name. Harrington released no comment on the split. He remains sponsored by Vans and Rockstar Energy Drink.
Sean Ricany leaves Premium
Joining Harrington in the former Premium rider category is New Jersey park sensation Sean Ricany. Ricany released his statement via Twitter. "I officially don't ride for Premium anymore. Just wanna say thank you for everything over the years!" said Ricany. Later, he added, "That young high school stuff isn't worth it when you're trying to make moves like this." Ricany remains sponsored by Red Bull, Osiris and Primo.
Diamond Back program changes
After over 30 years, Diamond Back's U.S. BMX program will cease to exist in 2014. Diamond Back BMX team manager Mike Hammond was released from his position, and team rider Ben Hucke announced that he would be leaving the brand once his contract ends in March of 2014. "Diamondback is a big company in comparison to other 'core' BMX brands, but the small BMX portion of Diamondback is very much the same as all other BMX companies. A couple actual BMX guys were running the show, we never had a huge budget, and the mentality was very much the same as any other BMX brands," said Hucke.
Redline program changes
Redline, another heritage BMX brand, also announced changes for the 2014 season. Their freestyle team is scaling back (Zack Gerber, Brandon Christie and Glenn Salyers were let go), while team riders Tyler Fernengel, Brandon Dosch (pictured here) and Josh Hult will continue to represent the brand. Team manager Mark "Flip" Filipowicz is also parting ways with the brand.
Kink BMX expands
Meanwhile, Kink announced the addition of Dan Coller to their pro team for 2014. "Dan has had a huge year between trips, his Squash It section, being added to the Eclat team and spending three months in Austin," said Kink. Kink also dropped a hint that they will be announcing two more pro team riders in 2014. It's not all bad news out there.
Future of Mirraco in question
Speculation surrounding the future of Dave Mirra's Mirraco Bikes continues following the departure of team rider Chris Hughes. "I will no longer be representing Mirraco. It's been an amazing few years and I have nothing but the utmost respect for everyone at Mirraco. 2014 is going to be a new chapter for me," said Hughes. Mirra (pictured here) has not made a public statement about the future of Mirraco.
Fit adds Florent Soulas
After several years of support, Fit Bike Co. decided to bump France's Florent Soulas to the pro team. "Florent's bike control is just silly. "We've been helping Florent out for awhile, but recently decided to make it official and give him the bump. Welcome to the pro squad Soulas," said Fit. Look for a full Soulas section in the upcoming Fit Bike Co. DVD due out in 2014.
Zak Earley leaves Felt BMX
Felt Bicycles' BMX team has been relatively quiet since the departure of Scotty Cranmer a year ago. Recently, via Instagram, Zak Earley announced that he was also leaving the brand, leaving Josh Betley as the sole team rider for Felt. Felt has not made a public announcement about their future in the realm of BMX.