DirtFund Vitus Privateer Programme – 2023 riders announced

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Having successfully launched the first DirtFund Vitus Privateer Programme in 2022, volunteers Daniel O’Shea and Tom Scott have announced the three new programme riders for 2023.

Leah Maunsell, Ruairidh McRitchie, and Aidan Coulthard are the privateers set to benefit from the support for the coming season. The DirtFund Project was created in 2020 with a vision to support privateer riders with £/€1000 cash grants. Since then 15 riders from the UK and Ireland have each received the grant.

As The DirtFund Project evolved, the DirtFund Vitus Privateer Programme was born and last year the first cohort of riders each received the two-year support package aimed at enabling privateer riders to realise their ambitions. The DirtFund Vitus Privateer Programme is a collaboration between: The DirtFund Project, Vitus, Wahoo, Dirtlej, Uncrafted, and the Strength Factory. After a recent application process, which saw over 80 privateer riders apply for the opportunity, the three new riders were selected.

Each rider will receive: A brand new top of the range enduro or DH bike from Vitus; a watch, bike computer, and indoor trainer package from Wahoo; an all-weather suit and accessories from Dirtlej; a personalised jersey with pants from Uncrafted*; coaching advice from the Strength Factory, and mentoring from The DirtFund Project.

2023 will see Irish National Enduro Champion Leah Maunsell, Scottish rider Ruairidh McRitchie, and Cumbria-based Aidan Coulthard join the programme. All three riders are looking to further their careers, and the DirtFund Vitus Privateer Programme offers a great opportunity to build on their success so far.

Daniel O’Shea, founder of The DirtFund Project, said of the 2023 process,

‘We were truly blown away by the number of applicants. It really shows how many privateerriders there are out there looking for support. It’s such a tough sport to navigate and we’re delighted to be able to work with such high-profile brands to offer this amazing programme.’

As the main project partner, Alex James, Global Marketing Manager with Vitus, commented,

‘Here at Vitus we are all about Real Riders, The DirtFund Project embody this ethos perfectly and we are delighted to be supporting privateer riders in this way. We can’t wait to see what the three new riders can do in 2023!’

*For 2023 two riders, Leah Maunsell and Ruairidh McRitchie, already had kit deals in place so only Aidan will be wearing Uncrafted. All riders will however display the partner logos on their respective kits.

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Hannah Dobson

Managing Editor

I came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. I like all bikes, but especially unusual ones. More than bikes, I like what bikes do. I think that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments. I try to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

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