2003 NORBA Championships Face Tough Times|
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 25, 2003) – USA Cycling announced Friday that the NORBA National Championship Series is alive and well. The series will consist of five quality venues kicking off in Big Bear, CA May 15-16, 2003 and ending with the series finale in Durango, CO the weekend of August 16-17, 2003.
Tom Spiegel, promoter of the Big Bear event, summed up the effect of the changes to the series as-
"The 2003 NCS will just be NORBA Unplugged."
The NORBA NCS will be "unplugged" due to an unfortunate set of circumstances and decisions by long-time partners and sponsors. Chevy Trucks, SoBe, Balance Bar and the series’ television partner, Outdoor Life Network (OLN) elected not to continue their support and sponsorship of the NCS. Nonetheless, the series is in good standing and will be produced and directed in the professional manner that riders and fans have experienced in prior years.
"The core of what the NCS is all about will undoubtedly remain the same, which means the NCS series will still offer great courses, great competition, as well as timely and accurate results all summer long," said Eric Moore, Field Operations Director of USA Cycling.
The series will take place as scheduled with the only noticeable changes being the absence of specific sponsor messages. Moore explained that riders will not see the VIP tents on site and sponsor banners will be noticeably reduced at all venues. Moore reiterated the fact that the racing itself will not be affected.
"Riders can expect to see less of the flash and glitz of last year and years past," said Moore. "The reality is that the riders will feel the core of what mountain bike racing is really all about."
Moore also stated that the series promoters are banding together to keep the series moving along for the riders. The promoters have come to the table with more than $40,000 in cash and additional services to ensure that the series did not have to be canceled or reduced.
GaleForce will continue to be involved in the NCS series. They will focus on some of the behind the scenes work while they continue to prepare for the 2004 season. "The five-year run of GaleForce being intimately involved in the NORBA Nationals has been extremely rewarding for our staff", said Rick Sutton, President of GaleForce Sports Marketing. "Short Track, Mountain Cross and new amateur friendly schedules have been introduced while under our charge. We look forward to concentrating our efforts on the future of national series racing in 2004 and beyond."
The series will continue to attract 1,800- 2,000 racers per venue. An event media room and staff will promote the race series along with local committees whose efforts will be focused in their specific regions. New for this year, NORBA will be recognizing series champions for the expert class. The local committees have established an amateur schedule that is friendly to their region’s needs. Also new for this year is a full slate of amateur mountain cross and short track categories.
Given the NCS budget reduction due to sponsorship hardships, NORBA has had to make some difficult decisions. Unfortunately, the largest cuts come at the expense of the pro prize list. After a comprehensive evaluation of the working budget of the NCS series, the consensus was to continue the long tradition of top-notch mountain bike racing made available across the country to NORBA riders and supporters.