Uncovered Analysis - BMX Legend Van Homan Reflects on Year One of his AM Series

Photo: Sam Curro

Van Homan is BMX to the core. He’s seen it all - good times, bad times, ups, down, and a few cases where riders needed to step up and make something happen. As professional and invite-only contests continued to flourish, Van took responsibility and created something for everyone else. With the help of fellow street legend Brian Kachinsky, Van launched Uncovered BMX - a three-stop AM series kicking off in January of 2018. The series gave lesser-known riders a chance to get some coverage, win some prizes, share some good times, and even potentially win a trip to the 2018 Battle of Hastings.

With the series formally wrapped up for the year, we caught up with Van to see how it went and what the future holds.

Now that the series has officially wrapped, how would you say it went? 

Honestly, I don’t see how it could have went any better. The energy and atmosphere at each stop was everything I’d hoped for. Everyone seemed to have a great time and was really appreciative. 

If I had any doubts about the younger generation of riders, hosting the Uncovered series certainly put my mind at ease. So many good attitudes. 

The spirit was just spot-on. Thanks to everyone that came out!

What made you want to do this in the first place? 

A few years back, it seemed like there was a lack of events. If you weren’t one of the top ten or twenty riders in the world, there was nothing for you. I wanted to create something that was more inclusive. I wanted to give people an excuse to load up the car, go on a road trip, meet other riders, and be a part of something. After a few years of thinking about different ideas and collecting inspiration, I finally mentioned my basic concept to Brian Kachinsky and he was all about it. The ideas started flowing back-and-forth and Uncovered was born.

 

Which stop had the biggest turnout? 

It was pretty close between Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Both The Wheel Mill and 4Seasons have great scenes, so I guess it’s no surprise that the turnouts were strong. We put a lot of work in before both of these stops to create new and unique obstacles - like the diving board and the ridable magnifying glass. I think that helped, too. One of our goals is to leave the parks even better than before Uncovered arrived.

Who are a few of the riders that stood out the most to you? 

Are any of these riders that you weren’t familiar with beforehand? Of course all of the winners stood out - Mad Mike Guth, George Duran, and Isaiah Johnson. All three are total badasses with completely different styles. I didn’t know much about them before these events. Uncovered brought Mike, George, and Isaiah to my attention and hopefully everyone else’s as well. A few other names are Alex Leibrock, Jamie Thayer, and Nick Fix. These guys are all really well-rounded riders that I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from. Last, but not least, Adam G. He started the series in intermediate and was on the semi-pro podium by the end of the Uncovered series. 

Adam hitched rides, slept under ramps, and simply did whatever it took to be a part of the fun. The dude gets it and embodies what Uncovered is all about.

 

I saw Mad Mike won the MVP award. Tell us a little about him…

I’d classify Mike Guth as kind of a people’s champ or a working class hero. He’s a 30-year-old welder with a rad family. Mike has been crushing it for years and was a bit of a local hero in certain circles. He showed up at stop one in Rising Sun, Maryland and just fired out hammer-after-hammer and couldn’t be bothered with any filler tricks. In Pittsburgh, Mike pulled a gap-to-grind that was probably the most insane trick of the entire series. Mike broke his foot during one of the attempts and still got it done. Mad Mike is a badass!

How stoked is he stoked for Hastings? 

I’m pretty sure he’s pumped. 

Mike has never left the country, so I think the opportunity Uncovered and Source are giving him is pretty huge. 

Mike earned it.

What was your favorite stop? 

Man, that’s a tough one. Rising Sun - stop one - got things rolling and Mad Mike’s performance in finals created an energy that’s hard to understand unless you witnessed it. I was really proud of the hand-on prep work we were able to do before Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. I think Uncovered had already gained a following and some momentum by stop two. It felt like people really wanted to be a part of it and that was a great feeling. Honestly, I couldn’t choose. The energy and the excitement seemed to be at a maximum at all three an that’s all I could hope for.

I noticed you had some pretty top-notch BMX celebrity judges - Broc Raiford, Garrett Byrnes, Garrett Reynolds… Was this always part of the plan or did it just kind of work out that way? 

Yeah, we had always intended to have guest pro judges, but we sorted out who they’d be stop-by-stop. It was rad having guys out to represent the sponsors that were helping support the event. Dan Conway for GT, Broc Raiford for Odyssey, Justin Spriet for Fit… Some of it worked out well because of how other events or tours fell, but the bottom line is that all the guys seemed not only willing, but excited to come support an event like this. 

Seeing top pros enthusiastically have time for the up-and-comers is pretty rad. Garrett Reynolds is possibly the best to ever do it and he didn’t hesitate to fly out to Milwaukee. Just so rad to see the BMX community support each other like that, regardless of what level of riding someone is at!

The big, important question - are you doing it again next year? 

Definitely plan to do more with uncovered. Once the dust settles, we’ll figure out what the next move is.Anything you will change going forward? Maybe mix up some locations. We’ll definitely look at ways to help the events grow and become even better. The most important thing is to keep the positive energy that has been so contagious over the past few months!

 

Any chance of more stops? 

Who knows. Definitely possible. If it’s what the riders want and we can get the support to make it happen, then we’ll tackle it.

If someone out there is considering putting on an AM contest - or series, of that matter - what advice would you give them? 

I’d say just go for it. Bring the people together. Big or small, the more events happening in BMX, the better. Create your vision. Freestyle is all about creating the version of BMX you want to see and inspiring others to do the same. I’m beyond proud of what we created and hope it motivated others.

Any final takeaways from the experience?

BMX is alive and well at the core. Kids are traveling, kids are smiling, and I’m stoked about it!

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