The 2022 Pro of the Year, Nic Long, is adding to his 20+ years of racing by becoming the newest Team Manager of the USA BMX race series. We had a few questions for the Olympian-turned-TM as he takes on 2023 with the familiar and fresh faces of the Haro Factory Team.
The return to Haro! Going through the majority of your professional career with the brand and now returning as a racer and the TM, what has you most excited for this next journey you’re about to take?
I’m most excited about doing my best to represent an iconic brand that really helped put me on the map. I get to help guide some of the top elites as well and shape some of the youth all on the same team. You’ve been racing all your life, and with that, you’ve been a part of some legendary teams, from rider to TM. What are you taking away from those experiences now that you have your own team? I have been associated with some great teams and raised by arguably the best TM to ever do it; My Dad.(Phantom/Ontrac, WiaWis, Haro/Promax, LSG) I hope to bring opportunities for development and growth within the brand as well as and more importantly, within the sport. I hope to use my knowledge to make my team riders experience some of the best aspects of the sport.
Nic and Donavon Long : Photo by Roy Winkelman // @KELMANVISUALS
What do your riders bring to the team and the track? Lindsay Long - Brings me to nervous and proud tears. But shows pure determination to win. Anthony Bucardo - Pure BMX passion and striving for a better life. The kid started from the literal bottom and has a lot to prove but enjoys the challenge. Kam Larsen - An honest, winning chance. Kam possesses that 1% power and explosiveness that it takes to win in Elite. Brooke Craft - San Diego native and past NAG 1 Amateur. Brooke is looking for that experience to really break through in the Elite Women's ranks. Looking forward to seeing her making consistent mains in the 2023 season. Derin Merten - A Current NAG 1 champion in her class, has her as the biggest threat every time she’s on the track. Excited to track her progress and hope to see her explode onto the Junior scene in a few years. Kate Wahl - A past NAG Champion, Kate brings an unmatched love to the sport. She’s not only a champion, but she’s the head coach at the new HQs in Tulsa. She runs a personal training business, as well kicks ass on the track, and is a pleasure to watch. Eden Ireland - Our little firecracker! Eden, or Roo Roo, is a 7x Girl and is currently NAG 3. She’s a fan favorite and also trains in MMA! WATCH OUT! Don’t call her boomerang, either…Not unless you want a lashing! Ethan Popovich - A current Junior National Champion and all-around sensation to watch ride a bike…Ethan is a fresh 17-year-old with a bright future. Look for him turning it up in the next couple of seasons.
What’s the plan for 2023? What races are you looking forward to as you help develop these racers? We will be set up and pitted at every USA BMX Pro Series event, as well as a few amateur races in between. Lindsay and I will spend another awesome year touring the country, teaching, and coaching. I look forward to being there and watching the riders, having that eye for anything they might need. I hope to be utilized in more than just the pit setup guy. With any Factory teams come co-sponsorships. Which brands will we see alongside the Haro Race logo? We're still finalizing a few things, but I enjoy keeping things a little looser and trying not to make anyone run anything they don’t want or stop anyone from potentially making extra money. FLY Racing Bike is looking after most of the athletes on the team, but it’s not a formal team sponsor. Shadow Conspiracy has sponsored the team with its 3/16th race chain. Only chain I swear by. Blot Out is printing our jerseys, and he always helps flow a few of the rider's jerseys. What do you think makes your team unique? I think what might make Haro a little more unique than its already insanely iconic brand name would simply be having a rider TM. Having myself there at most of the races, able to (hopefully) answer questions and make connections. Support the team and have a set of riders' eyes to help guide them through tough race days. There won’t be much pressure or expectations to perform with no team sheets. Just want the riders to love the brand they ride for and the sport we play. Whatever way I can help in both of those aspects is my goal.