May 10, 2011
After the shock news that the legendary Canadian component maker had folded due to massive debts, many wondered if the brand was gone for good or if we’d see a return in some form. Well, after a bidding war for the company, former Race Face VP of Sales Chris Tutton has emerged victorious and we expect Race Face to get back on track. Here’s the press release, translated from the original Canadian.
“Race Face Performance Products, one of North Americas leading producers of high performance mountain bike components, protection and apparel, is pleased to announce that it has re-opened its doors as of May 9th, 2011.
After over 18 years of business, Race Face entered into receivership on March 12, 2011, leaving a massive gap in the boutique mountain bike market. Riders, dealers and distributors alike were stunned as groundbreaking components such as Atlas Freeride, SIXC, NEXT SL, and Turbine suddenly became rare collectables.
In a tightly contested bidding war for the Canadian manufacturer, North Shore local and former Race Face VP of Sales Chris Tutton has emerged at the helm. Tutton joined Race Face in 1994 as a customer service rep, was promoted to Director of Sales in 1998, and then to VP of Sales in 2002. After 14 years with the brand, Chris was instrumental in helping push sales to over $15 million per year. He resigned in 2008, taking over as Director of OEM Sales for Easton Bell Sports.
“I have always believed in the Race Face brand and in the quality of the products we make”, said Tutton. “We will build upon a very solid foundation and continue to meet the needs of our current customers, while expanding our market and focusing our product line.”
Chris Tutton will remain as a contractor to Easton Bell Sports, hiring an additional OEM sales person to report to him while he rebuilds Race Face as its new Managing Director.
“The opportunity to continue to work with a company like Easton Bell Sports has been incredible. I am very fortunate, not only to have their continued support, but also to have found a venture that aligns so well with their business philosophy for excellence and innovation.”
Easton Bell Sports has had a great partnership with Chris over the last three years and we are pleased to continue that relationship. We believe in the synergy that can be created with the two companies. Bernie Doering, SVP-Global Sales, Action Sports, Easton-Bell Sports.
Derek Wills, Race Faces former Global Operations manager and most recently North American Sales and Business development Manager, has also returned as a junior partner. Wills graduated from Simon Fraser University for Business Management, working in the industrial distribution business for 3 years before joining Race Face in 2001.
Race Face Performance Products will remain based in Vancouver, close to the North Shore, the company’s original and ultimate testing ground for lightweight yet durable MTB products. Key employees will be rehired under the new business structure and production is expected to restart within a few weeks. Warranties will be honoured on all Race Face products.
The component product line for 2012 is complete, including the new Atlas FR Stealth line. Turbine 9 and 10 speed rings will ship almost immediately, as will Race Face carbon SIXC and NEXT cranks and bars. The company will continue to develop and refine their proprietary Optimized Carbon Technology in-house.
Rocky Mountain’s Brett Tippie, a figurehead rider for Race Face since 1997, could barely contain the stoke found that the news fuelled the fires of his excitement : “Talk about a fairytale ending and wicked new beginning for these guys! How cool is it to be able to keep it in the homeland? And they’re bringing back the crew that made Race Face legit. As I’ve said before, Race Face is the cats ass! Stay tuned for more news – I’ve already heard a rumour of 83mm carbon cranks!”
“This is fantastic news” said Darren Mabbott, Managing Director of Silverfish, Race Faces UK distributor. “I was always confident that a buyer would be found for Race Face, but to hear that Chris Tutton has bought Race Face is a huge boost to the brand.I have known Chris and worked with him for over 12 years. He is passionate about Race Face, focuses on quality and innovation, and brings a high level of professionalism to the table. Race Face will thrive under Chris’ control, and the future once again looks bright.”