Chipps took the trip down south yesterday to the UK Bike Park, near Blandford Forum in Dorset to see what Team GT Muc-Off racing has in store for 2013.
Despite the sleet and the truly heat-sapping British temperatures, the team and the sponsors were on fine form and keen to show off the new team kit (complete with retro fluoro bits) and the carbon Zaskar 29er hardtails. Representatives were there from sponsors GT, Muc Off, Lezyne, Schwalbe and USE.
The team consists of four of the U.K.’s most talented elite riders: Gareth Montgomerie; Dave Henderson; Ed McParland; and Jon Pybus. “Montgomerie and Henderson are serious contenders for the 2014 Commonwealth Games selection this season,” said Muc Off’s Alex Trimnell of the co-sponsored team. Also on hand, from Lezyne/Upgrade was Rory Hitchens who was part of GT’s original UK race team back at the end of the ’80s. He even brought a photo to show the racers, most of whom weren’t even born then.
We asked team manager, Chris Hughes how well the team did in 2012 and what they’re looking for in 2013.
“In 2012 the season started with a win at the opening round of the Midlands XC series. Henderson and Montgomerie represented GT Bicycles at the Andalucía Bike Race in Spain. In a very tough race they finished an amazing 10th place overall. This placed them as both the highest British and highest placed non-UCI accredited team. The team also had great success in events including the Red Bull Hill Chasers event where they competed head to head against riders from all cycling disciplines. Gareth Montgomerie finished in 2nd place, the fastest mountain biker up Park Street, the notoriously steep climb in Bristol’s city centre. The team has plans to exceed their accomplishments for the 2013 season with the additional support of Muc-Off.”
After the photoshoots and a double helping of chocolate cake, the team were driving back home to prepare to fly out for their first event, the Andalucia Bike Race. Hopefully in sunshine and warmer weather. We have to say that it’s heartening to see big companies like GT still championing old-style roundy-roundy XC racing. It’s where many of us in the sport came from and, as the Olympics showed, still makes for some great sport.
You can follow the team on Twitter – @GTMucOffRacing
While we were snooping around the team bikes, we found a few clever new bits and pieces from some of the co-sponsors. How about this new and bright rear light from Exposure? It’s basically a Joystick for the back of the bike. Super bright!
Our host for the day was UK Bike Park which kept us very well fed and watered. There are plans afoot for a much bigger base centre and a lot more XC trails to compliment the existing jumps and drops that the park has.
One of the local shop guys brought this retro GT Zaskar up for everyone to marvel/giggle at. Basically, if you don’t look at this and go all misty-eyed, then we’re never going to be able to explain it to you.