Questions with Free Agent / Rockstar TM Dale Holmes.
Dale Holmes is one Europe’s of first BMX heros. With the resume to back him up, it goes without saying that he kicked ass in the 90′s and was one of the more big time pros in his era. For the last handful of years he has played Team Manager over at Free Agent as has one of the dream teams in BMX. With Maris Strombergs, Cristian Becerine and Kyle Bennett rostered as the Free Agent pro’s, they do work. Throw in amateur Juan Marin as their AM you’ve got a dialed program. I caught up with Dale while down in Florida at the Gator Nationals to ask him a few questions in regards to FA/RS as well as his new gig of co-hosting the ABA’s new TV show with Craig Reynolds. Check out the interview and some more photos after clicking “Read More” below.
How long have you been with Free Agent and how did you get involved with them?
When I got involved with Free Agent I was actually riding for Nirve at the time, Nirve was after GT and the Nirve thing pretty much came to an end. From there I was just about 6 months without a sponsor. I was local to Free Agent and kinda got a connection to them and I got in there and it just built after that really. It was around… Um, 2003 I think it was.
When did you progress from being one of their Pro riders to being the Team Manager and running the BMX racing program?
I kinda saw my career as a Double A was kinda slowing down and I saw the way the sport was changing with the Supercross and stuff, so I basically pitched to my boss, I had originally told him I was going to try to do the Olympics, so I said “let me build up a team, you know? Give me a chance, give me a little budget and I’ll put together a good fast bunch of guys and we’ll have some guys in the Olympics” and he let me do it. He gave me the green light from there and we’ve just built on it every year and every year it’s been better and when I really had enough of racing(AA) I said let’s do this full time and do a little Mountain Biking on the side for fun which also gave me time out so that I could come back and race Vet Pro and it kinda all just worked out like that really.
When you first pitched the team, who were the first riders you picked up?
Free Agent had had an amateur team i the past and a few pros here and there, but when I actually got on the team it was just Darrin Mitchell and I. Foster had just retired, so I got on the team and it was just me and Darrin for about a year and then Darrin kinda faded away and retired. Then Kyle(Bennett) came in, and after Kyle, Cristian(Becerine). We’d all been together before on Nirve, so I said to my boss Kyle and Cristian would be good guys to pick up.
How did Free Agent end up Picking up Maris Strombergs after the 2008 Olympics?
I actually spoke to him before the Olympics just after the worlds he came out here for a NBL race. I knew him from when I use to race in Europe and kinda knew who he was and saw him come through the ranks. I talked to him in Nashville, it was just after he won the worlds and I knew he was good and I said “Are you interested in coming to America?” and he said that “after the Olympics I want to come here, regardless of how I do” So he obviously won it and I let it die down, I assumed that everybody else had been hitting him up and trying to pick him up, so I touched base with him and he said that he still wanted to come, but there was still no real solid offers out there. So I went back to my boss and said lets move quick on this, let’s make it happen. I think within two weeks we had him signed on and everything was dialed in really. It worked out faster than I thought really. Everybody though he was gunna come out and maybe win a lot but no one really knew much about him. But he came out and everyone realized he was a nice guy and he’s very humble, but can win as well. So its a plus plus plus really for us.
What does the Amateur program over at Free Agent look like?
We picked up Juan Marin about a year ago. I met him a couple of years ago and I knew he was cool, so I basically gave him a bike last year and he came and hung out at some of the races. I like him, he’s a nice kid a good rider and is in Florida which is nice because we don’t really have any presence there. So he’s kinda our main amateur at the moment We still have a grass roots team as well as a bunch of Europeans, I think we have like 20 total. But Juan is pretty much our main amateur right now. It’s just a good group of guys which is the key factor when you’re traveling and stuff like that.
With the ABA’s new show coming up on NBC Universal, how did you get involved with the broadcast of it?
Just from being around, ya know? I got asked about a year ago by BA if I’d be interested in doing some of the voice over stuff with Craig Reynolds and I said “Yeah sure, I’d love to try it” and you know did the shows last year with Craig and I just got the call again saying that there was a new production company coming in and that they’d like me to be a part of it again. So obviously I said yeah, bought a ticket two days ago, shot down here and just shot the first one with Reynolds. Hopefully it works out, Craig and I have a good vibe together from racing together. When we do the voice overs we’re always just laughing and we just have a good time when we do it. He’s very good at it and can set it up because he knows how to do it and that makes it very easy on me I kinda see when I’m coming in and do my part. So yeah, there’s a good bunch of races being taped this year and I’m hoping I can still be a part of it.
What is your racing career in Vet Pro going to look like?
You know, I’m just going to race here and there when I feel like it. I did the first couple nationals this year. I still like to ride and train for fun and to stay in shape so I started going to the track a little before Christmas and thought I might as well do a couple races. I did Reno, I did Guthrie and I’ll probably do a couple of the West Coast races that I’m gunna drive to and I’m gunna go to Europe this year to visit the family so I’ll probably do a couple races out there but no real schedule, no chasing points, I’ll race the odd day here and there if I feel like it and if I don’t then I won’t. Just basically a little fun lo-key stuff.
To follow that up, are you serious with the 4X stuff at all, or is that just for fun as well?
It’s the same deal, ya know There’s a good little local 4X series in Fontana that I like to do but there’s not much of a 4X national championships out here in the US. It’s a shame really. So just the local stuff, I don’t wanna get on the plane to do it. It’s something different, it’s fun and it’s still riding bikes.
Is there anything new going on with Free Agent this year?
Not really, pretty much same as normal, racing the ABA stuff as of right now and obviously some of the guys are gunna go off and do the Olympic dream again, try to qualify for that. All of our sponsors have kicked in a bit more this year, helping the program a lot, we’re getting a lot of good support from Rockstar Energy who also came in to do more for us this year. We’ve kinda built some relationships and are kinda just sticking with them so it’s all good.
Do you think the outside brands that already have a presence in BMX are going to get more involved this year with the Olympics coming up?
You know I think a few will hop on it again like they did before, but it seems like they come and go and the day after they’ll be gone again. The buildup is kinda already on, if they’re gunna be in they’re already here, it’s hard just to roll in and do something.
Thanks for reading..