Madison Saracen Factory Race Team to cease racing at the end of 2024

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In surprise news that would have been pretty unthinkable a few years back, but is now almost no surprise at all, Madison Saracen Factory Race Team has announced it will be disbanded at the end of the 2024 season. They’re certainly looking like they’re going out on a high – they had great results at Fort William, and Greg Williamson is currently ranked 15th overall. Matt Walker lies in 26th place, and George Madley is 17th in the Junior rankings. It seems as though all three riders will be on the hunt for a new team for next year.

The full press release – below – hints that the current race scene format has contributed to this decision:

‘…This and given the changes to the format of the UCI World Cup since last year and the addition of new and additional races all over the world from 2025…’

The Development Team will be continuing, so we wondered what race series it might be focussing on – as well as the World Cup races, there are plenty of prominent other race series around. We were told:

‘We don’t have all of the details at this stage but it is likely that they will continue to focus on the UK Downhill national series and other UK race events and this will have an emphasis on the development of young British talent.’

The Youth and Junior Downhill race scene in the UK is certainly strong, and we’ve already seen the likes of GT switch its focus away from the elite to more grassroots and junior support. Is the end of Madison Factory Racing a huge hole in UK DH racing tradition, or a regrouping and strengthening for the future? Whatever the long term outcome, three riders are having a decent season and will now be on the lookout for a ride for next year. Good luck to them, in the rest of 2024, and beyond.

Full PR Below:

Credit: Dan Hearn

Madison Saracen Factory Race Team to cease racing at the end of 2024

Madison Saracen has regrettably announced that 2024 will be its last season of professional racing. 

Founded in 2011, Madison Saracen has been racing the UCI Downhill World Cup series for nearly 14 years enjoying fantastic success and developing some of the world’s best downhill athletes. The team would like to take this opportunity to thank their fans, sponsors and the staff behind the scenes that have put their hearts and souls into racing. 

Since its inception, the team’s aspirations were clearly laid out by Madison CEO Dominic Langan focusing on developing the next generation of British riders and supporting their progression to the UCI World Cup Series. Although the factory team will end this year, Madison and Saracen will continue with developing youth and supporting young British talent. 

In that same year, Manon Carpenter took the team’s first major win at the Junior World Championships in Champéry, Switzerland. Since then, Madison Saracen has celebrated a whole host of race results including six World Cup wins with Matt Walker, Danny Hart, Jordan Williams and Manon Carpenter. One European Champion with Jordan Williams. Four World Championship titles with Matt Walker, Jordan Williams and Manon Carpenter as well as two World Cup Overall victories with Matt Walker and Manon Carpenter along with a whole host of National Championship titles.

Madison and Sportline CEO Dominic Langan said “When the business acquired the Saracen brand in 2010, it was my dream to create a downhill team to prove to the world and the U.K. customer base that the “new” Saracen was a well-designed, top quality, race winning range of bikes. We had enjoyed fantastic results with the Animal Commencal team with the Athertons and I wanted to repeat this with Saracen. We also wanted to invest in up-and-coming riders and give them the support to achieve success. Our Saracen Myst has subsequently won the men’s and women’s Downhill World Cup Series overall and we have had many fantastic athletes riding for us over the years.

“However, from time to time, it is always important to review and take stock of everything you do and determine whether it is still achieving the goals you have set. This and given the changes to the format of the UCI World Cup since last year and the addition of new and additional races all over the world from 2025, we have, following great consideration, decided that 2024 will be the last season for the Madison Saracen Factory Team. It has become increasingly difficult for a small team like Madison Saracen to be able to continue to race at this level and for it to be in any way commercially viable. It is a huge shame but it is the reality. However, it remains a core ambition for us to identify and develop young talent and the Madison Saracen Development Team will very much remain and we will work with these riders and help them achieve their dreams.”

Will Longdon has been Madison Saracen Team Manager since 2012 and has been instrumental in the team’s success ever since. He said; “I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved as a team, including 2 Elite World Cup overall titles and 4 World Championships, with many other international and national titles and podiums. Madison’s support throughout has been immeasurable thanks to the vision of Dominic Langan and Kellie Parsons who gave me this opportunity and everything else to make it happen along the way, with the support of our fantastic team sponsors. That along with the opportunity to help develop and support a number of great riders over the years, whilst also developing the Saracen Myst bike that did it all with Ryan Carroll and Andy Ayers, has been fantastic to be a part of.

“The riders all get their time in the spotlight but the team staff generally don’t. So, a special thanks to all of them past and present for putting up with me, from Alex Lovett and Rick Keates who helped me so much in the early days to Phil Dixon and Ewan Collier who stuck around the longest, still sharing my relentless drive to do better. All were instrumental in the success of the team. It’s been one hell of a ride and we’re not quite finished yet; Matt Walker, Greg Williamson and George Madley will be giving it everything to the end of our last race as a team in 2024.”

Madison Saracen would like to extend its deepest thanks to all of the fans, riders, support staff and sponsors for helping so many riders realise their dreams. The team will continue to race until the end of the season and the development team will continue after 2024.

Madison Saracen Team highlights: 

  • 2014 Elite Women World Champion – Manon Carpenter
  • 2020 Elite World Cup Overall – Matt Walker
  • 2014 Elite World Cup Overall – Manon Carpenter
  • 2017 Junior World Champion – Matt Walker
  • 2011 Junior World Champion – Manon Carpenter
  • 2022 Junior World Champion – Jordan Williams
  • 2022 Junior European Champion – Jordan Williams
  • 2019 World Cup win, Snowshoe – Danny Hart
  • 2022 World Cup win, Leogang – Matt Walker
  • 2014 World Cup win, Leogang – Manon Carpenter
  • 2014 World Cup win, Mt St Anne – Manon Carpenter
  • 2017 World Cup win junior, Ft William – Matt Walker
  • 2022 World Cup win junior, Ft William – Jordan Williams
  • 2021 Masters World Champion – Will Longden

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Viewing 23 posts - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)
  • Madison Saracen Factory Race Team to cease racing at the end of 2024
  • dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    That’s sad news……..

    I do wonder how many other will pull out at the end of the season though.

    Does anyone know how many DH rounds the UCI/WB are planning next year then?

    blastit
    Free Member

    Very sad news indeed.

     

    3
    weeksy
    Full Member

    @dirkpitt74

    11 not including the World Champs.

    Yes it’s a proper shame, but i’m really pleased they’re keeping the youth development team alive as that’s been fantastic seeing the levels of professionalism at the races.

    2
    moonsaballoon
    Full Member

    Unfortunately I think this might be the first of a fair few announcements like this .

    11 rounds is quite a jump from this year with only 1 round outside Europe.

    I can see the ambition from Warner bros / ESO to make the sport more elite and you’ve got to start somewhere I suppose but if half the teams have to drop out or cut half their riders to be able to afford the season that can’t be a good thing for the sport.

    The current format doesn’t help , being outside the top 30 or top 10 for the women  means no TV coverage for the team . There are a few relatively big names this year who haven’t made it to the last day yet and it’s a big investment for little to no return for the smaller teams .

    wipperman95
    Free Member

    Sad news, and I don’t think they’ll be the last……whether DH, EDR or XC.

    Warner/ESO made too many changes too quickly, to put their own stamp on the series, and it’s having consequences.

    MTB racing has been the poor relation for far too long, whether lack of big outside sponsors, decent coverage from mainstream cycling media, etc

    I understand the move to ESO, but coverage stuck behind a paywall doesn’t seem to have brought much difference/ improvement, has it? Can’t help the teams/ sponsors at all.

    In the long term, the MTB World Cup needs more rounds, but it needs to grow reasonably and allow teams to continue to compete.

    finbar
    Free Member

    I can see the ambition from Warner bros / ESO to make the sport more elite money 

    FTFY. Sad for the sport but I for one am glad Warner are reaping what they sowed, not that they’ll really care, sigh…

    ocrider
    Full Member

    Oh they care alright, just not about the same things as your hardcore race fan.

    They care about developing an elite global race series, but that means any team running domestic/continental budgets aren’t going to have enough wedge without serious external funding.

    In most cases that will mean wiping the slate clean and building from a development setup.

    finbar
    Free Member

    They care about developing a franchise that will attract paying viewers, paying teams and advertisers, which really ain’t working out.

    clubby
    Full Member

    Totally understand the cutting of number in the elite, but there also needs to be some kind of second tier series in place for teams like this. Without this how will they fill elites when the current crop retire? Not much room for many juniors coming up to allow them to find their feet in the senior ranks.

    dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    Looks like it could be more than 11 rounds.

    Found this earlier:

    Below are the provisional events of the EDR, XCM, and DH MTB World Cup.

    DH World Cup – May 3-4
    EDR World Cup – May 10-11
    DH and EDR World Cup – May 17-18
    XCM World Cup – May 23-25*
    EDR World Cup – May 31-June 1
    DH and EDR World Cup – June 6-8*
    DH World Cup – June 13-15*
    DH World Cup – June 20-22*
    EDR World Cup – June 28-29
    DH and EDR World Cup – July 5-6
    DH and EDR World Cup – July 19-20
    DH World Cup – July 25-27*
    DH World Cup – August 1-3
    EDR and XCM World Cup – August 16-17
    DH, EDR, and XCM World Cup – August 22-24*
    DH World Cup – August 29-31*
    DH World Cup – September 27-28
    DH World Cup – October 3-5*
    DH and XCM World Cup – October 10-12*

    From HERE – not sure how accurate it is, but my maths puts it at 14!!

    chrismac
    Full Member

    Max commencal is saying 15 round the globe. I guess one of the downsides of having a World Cup that actually goes outside of Europe is it does get much more expensive to compete. Privateers will really struggle if it’s truly global. It’s an impossible square to fit into a round hole

    1
    ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    They care about developing a franchise that will attract paying viewers, paying teams and advertisers, which really ain’t working out.

    Isn’t it?

    Totally agree that its crap if you are a 30-60th rider, or a company who is sponsoring them.

    But for a viewer, aside from the absence of RW on the mike, it is objectively better than the red bull era.

    finbar
    Free Member

    Guess we’ll see in a few years. It’s very possible I’ve got it dead wrong.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    to answer the question about 2nd tier, the word in the paddocks is that they’re buying/merging IXS as a 2nd tier race series and feeder class for Elite. How true that is, i’m not sure.

    5lab
    Full Member

    I think Saracen is a uk-only brand (might be wrong) and (despite owning one) I never see them in the wild. Trying to spread the cost of a dh team over such a small number of bikes (especially those at the better-value end of the market) is always going to be tough

    nickc
    Full Member

    11 rounds is quite a jump from this year with only 1 round outside Europe.

    I think I read that the riders were keen to have more rounds, and I can understand why they’d want that, but the downside to that is teams need a much bigger budget, and there are few brands big enough (after the last couple of years, and Olympic year) with pockets that deep. How much to run a team with a decent chance of a podium? $250-300,000 I’d guess.

    There does seem like there a gap for a mid tier DH series, and as hard as it is to say, it’s probs where the privateers should be.

    Speeder
    Full Member

    ayjaydoubleyou

    But for a viewer, aside from the absence of RW on the mike, it is objectively better than the red bull era.

    I like the track marker posts but that’s about it.  The programme is inferior and the rate of change they’re trying to introduce is going to break the sport.  Putting the coverage behind a paywall at the same time as increasing costs for everyone, doesn’t allow the audience building that is required for the teams to sell themselves as mobile bill boards and bring in money through sponsorship. Mountainbike racing has largely been run on an industry backed basis for many years and the industry simply cannot support “F1 on bikes” on it’s own.

    Who are they expecting to pick up the mantle of creating these feeder series they talk of because sure as shit the UCI aren’t going to do it.

    1
    BoardinBob
    Full Member

    But for a viewer, aside from the absence of RW on the mike, it is objectively better than the red bull era.

    Is it?

    Semi-finals are crap, and we don’t get to see them

    All the race coverage was in one place, not spread across multiple platforms

    The Red Bull app was far easier to navigate

    It was free to watch

    The riders are vocal in how much they hate the new format

    1
    chrismac
    Full Member

    $250-300,000

    and the rest. An interview with Kathy from the syndicate said it was $1m back when peaty was still racing. It won’t have gone down

    ac282
    Full Member

    Privateers will really struggle if it’s truly global. It’s an impossible square to fit into a round hole

    I don’t really see this as a problem. Having more rounds outside Europe just makes it easier for privateers in other parts of the world to do a world cup.

    ocrider
    Full Member

    @chrismac

    Maxcommencemal is not Max Commencal, but the 15 round rumour is something I’ve also heard from people close to a very elite team.

    PrinceJohn
    Full Member

    But for a viewer, aside from the absence of RW on the mike, it is objectively better than the red bull era.

    No – they’ve made it confusing with Quali then Semi finals, then the race.

    The coverage is arguably worse – cutting commentary on live runs for interviews, no rider start lists during the coverage to remind you who’s coming up & what order. For some reason not having a woman co-commentator for the women’s race.

    chrismac
    Full Member

    I don’t really see this as a problem. Having more rounds outside Europe just makes it easier for privateers in other parts of the world to do a world cup.

    I’m not sure that’s true. It will be easier for people to do one or 2 rounds but more expensive for anyone wanting to do the whole series wherever they come from as there will be more flights

Viewing 23 posts - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)

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