GT Factory Racing Add Bell, iXS and Jeep as Sponsors

Jan 16, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  
As the GT Factory Racing team throw themselves into their first intensive training camp in Del Mar, California, Atherton Racing are pleased to announce the continuation of their successful relation with GT Bicycles and to welcome three new partners for the 2015 season. Jeep, the iconic 4x4 brand will become an Official Team Partner; as part of the agreement they will provide vehicles for the team (including the legendary Wrangler and the all-new Cherokee and Renegade models) and collaborate on some exciting new media projects. IXS will provide apparel and protection and Bell will supply helmets.

GT Factory Racing 2015 - Photo Ian Collins

The Downhill team will continue to ride the GT Fury equipped with components from Shimano, Fox, Continental and Pro. This is the bike that carried all of the team to World Cup wins this year and saw Gee Atherton take the 2014 World Championships. This year Stan’s No Tubes will officially supply rims for the Downhill team.

The Enduro team will focus on the GT Sanction with Shimano XTR wheels. In this 4th year of partnership with GT Bicycles the team will be aiming to defend and recapture the World Championships as well as to regain the title of “World’s Fastest Downhill team” which they held for both 2012 and 2013. The Enduro team will look to notch up some wins in the Enduro World Series. The rider line-up is slightly changed for 2015 in that the team says a sad goodbye to fellow GT rider Marc Beaumont.

Team Director Dan Brown said “Slugger is a force to be reckoned with. He made an enormous impact on the team and I know that I speak for all of us when I say how much we’ll miss his mischievous presence in the pits and at training sessions as well as his serious contributions to team strategy and the huge support that he offered to the other riders.”

“We are delighted to head into 2015 with the same brilliant bike and component sponsors as well as our long term supporters Red Bull and Silverline tools who will continue to be an integral part of our team. Along with GT, Shimano, Continental and Fox we will continue our successful associations with Pro and Stan’s No Tubes and off the bike GoPro, Muc-off, Oakley and SRM will remain a valued part of the set-up.

We’re delighted with Gee’s World Championships win this year but I’m 100% certain that we have even better things to come in 2015 and I’m confident with our excellent support team and all of our sponsors behind us, we’re going to deliver”.

GT Factory Racing 2015 - Photo Ian Collins

Reigning World Champion Gee Atherton said, “I honestly believe that we have the best team in the world. When I get to the start-gate I know exactly how much expertise and dedication it has taken to get me there - mechanics, support team and sponsors all pulling together. I can’t wait to welcome Jeep, iXS and Bell to the family.

GT Factory Racing 2015 - Photo Ian Collins

A lingering illness picked up in South Africa made 2014 a difficult year for Rachel Atherton, though she still posted glittering results by anybody else’s standards (a UK National Championship, two World Cup wins, 2nd in the World Cup Series Overall and 2nd by a cruel 0.08 seconds in the World Championships)

Rachel said “ I am so motivated for 2015. 2014 was hard, really hard especially as I watched the other Women racers get stronger and faster but they’d better watch out for me in 2015 because I want those titles back!”

Taylor Vernon who won his first Junior World Cup at Windham, just 13 months after breaking his T7 vertebrae, he will race as an Elite for the first time.

GT Factory Racing 2015 - Photo Ian Collins

For the Enduro team Dan Atherton is back to full racing fitness and is impatient to get started on the Enduro World Series 2015 where he will ride with 18 year old Martin Maes for the third consecutive season. Martin, who won a World Cup in Downhill this year at Fort William, Scotland will continue to race in the General Classification – despite his Junior status.

GT Factory Racing 2015 - Photo Ian Collins

Dan Atherton said “For me 2015 is going to be all about Enduro, all about racing with Martin and putting together a set of top-class results. I was involved in every stage of the Sanction’s development and now I want to demonstrate exactly what I can do with it. Gee’s right about the key role that sponsors play in our team, our partnerships are working collaborations with brands that we really believe in.

GT Factory Racing 2015 - Photo Ian Collins

GT Factory Racing’s new partners shared their thoughts on the new deal…


“The Athertons are at the top of their game and embody much of what the Jeep brand signifies – adventure, determination and capability.

“We’re incredibly excited about the opportunities that being an official Team Partner brings and sharing this with the Jeep community over the months ahead. This is a new era for the Jeep brand in the UK and we’re thrilled that Atherton Racing is going to be part of this.” - Damien Dally, Jeep Head of Brand


“iXS are a family owned company with racing in our blood so we are delighted to welcome Atherton Racing to our team. We are all extremely excited to work with such professional athletes, seeing them trust our products and enjoy riding in them makes us very proud and I personally believe that working together will allow us to reach even greater heights.” - Pascal Haf, Brand Director


"We are thrilled to have the Atherton's back on Bell helmets. Aside from the fact that they are great individuals, and a very fast team of riders, they also LOVE riding bikes. And that’s what we are about. The thrill of the ride. Gee has already been out in the San Diego hills wearing his Full 9. Its good to know that the professionals are choosing Bell Helmets because of the quality products we make." - Scott Sharples, Bell Helmets

2015 Downhill Team

Gee Atherton, Men’s Elite – World Champion, World Cup Ranking 5th

Rachel Atherton, Women’s Elite – World Champion 2013, World Cup Ranking 2nd

Taylor Vernon, Junior World Cup ranking 3rd

Enduro Team

Dan Atherton

Martin Maes – Junior World Champion 2013

Atherton Academy

Kade Edwards – Overall British Downhill Series Juvenile Champion

We will continue to support 15 year old Kade as he moves into the Youth category. Atherton Academy is our stepping stone programme to guide young talent through the initial stages of their race careers. A brand new team strip will be launched at the end of March prior to the whole team racing at Crankworx, New Zealand.

Photos: Ian Collins

MENTIONS: @BellBikeHelmets @AthertonRacing @iXSsports @GTBicycles

Posted In:
Press Releases


  • 91 1
 Genuine Kashima coat Jeep!
  • 12 2
 adds 45 hourses
  • 25 2
 And like a Fox fork the Jeep looks great, performs well off-road and requires extensive maintenance to keep it running. It's a perfect match of sponsorship if you think about it.
  • 7 0
 although its funny, Fox has great offroad vehicle shocks. it'd be cool if the jeep came rigged with it all, definitely get them to more places than that Mercedes haha
  • 5 1
 We had an 09 Wrangler Unlimited and it had constant electrical problems. Hopefully thats been addressed now though.
  • 49 1
 I usually find myself cheering for the Athertons, they just seem like cool people. Best of luck in 2015
  • 4 0
 Agreed. Gee can get a lot of stick but the lad can ride, he's done Rampage when he can and he consistently performs. Also seems like a cool fella if you got to know him. Rachel and Dan seem much more comfortable in front of the camera. Hoping they are all involved at the pointy end of their respective competitions!
  • 33 1
 Glad to see this change, those huge helmets they rocked in the past just looked goofy.
  • 4 0
 That's the first thing I thought when I saw the addition of Bell.
  • 4 0
 Lazer helmets on the Saracen team....WTF!
  • 30 4
 is Beaumont a free agent now? - he's got race pedigree, lets not forget 2010 Val di sole when he smoked all comers (vigo in 2006 was weather assisted IIRC). If there was more steep and tech on the WC circuit then he'd probably be top 10
  • 4 4
 think the problem is tracks have changed mate an his results aint been amazing although i do agree he is talent an fast. Hes been with GT a long time an by the sounds of it hes staying with them just not on the factory team - the team says a sad goodbye to fellow GT rider Marc Beaumont.
  • 3 5
 I wonder where Marc Beaumont will end up ?

I think he was always in the shadows of the athertons when they joined GT but still has a lot to give plenty more that Brendog and a few others on the world cup scene thats for sureI think he was always in the shadows of the athertons when they joined GT but still has a lot to give plenty more that Brendog and a few others on the world cup scene thats for sure
  • 9 1
  • 5 2
 You didn't just say that about Brendog?!?! Brendog is one of those special guys, he brings the fun, laid back and stylish attitude into the World Cup scene, he make it all the more exciting. Just because he doesn't have the best results doesn't mean he doesn't deserve to be on a factory team!!
  • 2 0
 Think people have taken what I said out of context, I love Brendo what he does for the industry is great crossing over into freeriding and doing rampage and what he says being a FreeRacer is awesome and I know he could still pull a podium finish out of the bag. The same goes for Slugger he may have a bit of a posh accent but he was doing alright up until the Athertons came onto the GT team and he was overshadowed you can't say he wasn't, I understand he may not put together a race run but there many that don't and you have to to win a race. He is more consistent that brendo last season and a few others and finished 21st in the overall, anyone is the top 30 can take a podium in my eyes, and now with Giant losing Neethling and Hart they must have some money and would be awesome if they gave him a spot on the team.
  • 3 0
 That's a much clearer response than your last one. Brendog is a great asset to WC racing as expressed above by ArchieDH. As for Marc Beaumont - I agree with your comments re the Athertons. I think his days were numbered as soon as the Athertons joined GT. Beaumont comes across to me as a quiet spoken nice guy who was no match for the Atherton corporate package that rolled into town. I hear that Beaumont may be staying with GT in another job, but if that's not true and he still wants to ride WC DH I hope he finds a ride with another company that gives him a new lease of life and some good results.
  • 39 11
 Weren't they on Mercedes before? That's a downgrade if I've ever seen one...
  • 95 2
 Its not like they were getting SL's. They got a Van.
  • 32 7
 yea id take a jeep wrangler over a van any day
  • 30 5
 I would take any Mercedes van over any Jeep, and I'm about to buy a Jeep. Those Mercedes Vans - Sprinters in North America, Vitos in Europe - are amazing vehicles.
  • 40 7
 Yea, if they were to go for American company then they could at least have got one of those GMC rape vans, then someone would finaly make a legitimate use of the name A-Team
  • 9 0
 I love Jeeps, 4 door wranglers are some of the coolest vehicles to come out in the past 10 years. But nothing beats the usefulness of a van, especially diesel mercedes. I wish we got the vitos in the US.
  • 5 0
 @atrokz Don't knock Vito's mate, they're brilliant. They'll miss the ease of just chucking everything in the back for sure. I'd have one if I could afford one. But hey, I'd take any free, brand new car/van to shove my gear, mates and bikes in. Good look to the team for this year.
  • 4 1
 Jeep is owned by Fiat, which makes and entire line of vans similar to those that Mercedes makes under the "Fiat Professional" brand name. I'm sure the Athertons will also be hooked up with some sweet vans when they needs as well.
  • 5 0
 @nohyphens: Sprinters are Sprinters and Vitos are Vitos (now called the V class) in Europe as well as in North America. These are different types of vans. Just for the record ;-)
  • 1 0
 @ClausS oh i thought they were market specific. I knew they were different, but this is first I'm seeing of Vito/V-Class available in North America!
  • 4 0
 @sino428, they might just be vans but id be pretty pissed if someone told me i had to trade my vito sport in for a ducato
  • 2 0
 It's just a shame the Chrysler Group is now a part of Fiat Chrysler (corporate handshaking) and Daimler Benz went out in the 90s, because then this switch from Jeep to Mercedes would still be in same family. Long live the Vito for GT!
  • 9 12
Junk each & every piece
Just exchange every part
Just empty every pocket
  • 3 2
 I would laugh at them trying to give me a wrangler and say no really where is the Cherokee SRT?
  • 1 0
 @bluumax Haha. too right!! Went on the new vito introduction and they had all the completion there to compare with. To say we didn't even bother looking at the Ducato's that much is an understatement, the build quality is shocking. Still some other good options out there tho from Ford and VW but I am biased as I work For MB. Vito Sport X all the way, lottery win for me tho.
  • 3 0
 @ClausS Vitos are the commercial vehicles V-Class is the more luxurious passenger van Wink
i would love to have either one but we cant get them in the States. Same as VW T5 Buses or Transporters.
  • 1 0
 ^^ Correctamundo.
  • 1 0
 It's the way they are marketed. The V-class is aimed at the car market, the interior of the new V-class is totally different (and amazing.) compared to the Vito which is more commercial based, yet the chassis, engine and drive train (dependent on spec.) is exactly the same. Bar maybe a little more sound deadening. You can still buy a very nice spec Vito which looks very nice and has plenty of toys but if you got into a V-clsss you would think you were in a totally different vehicle. Bottom line is people who would buy a mercedes car don't want to think, in any way they are buying a van.
  • 1 0
 @michibretz I did some more research and it looks like the Vito/V-Class will be the Metris here in the U.S.
  • 1 1
 if they could get a Fox'ed up wrangler that'd beat a van any day.
  • 4 0
 oh god no, this looks very sad. Throw the bikes and gear in the back, don't care what make the van is, vans are so much less hassle.
  • 3 2
 But now they will be able to get to riding spots they couldn't before and have fun doing it in a wrangler.
  • 1 0
 Less of an issue in the uk. We have very little vehicular land access
  • 2 0
 True, and its actually pretty destructive, still fun though.
  • 1 0
 @tiagomano no idea why but my feeling is that in the US manufacturers try to keep things simple and not confuse customers with the choice of too many models. If you look at any non-US car brand they only offer only a fraction of the models the have in Europe.

Somehow it seems Car manufacturers seem to be thinking it is the best to bring more SUV's and pickups instead of opening up new categories that might (or might not) become successful and give them an edge over their competitors.

For now we are stuck with freaking V8 shuttle vehicles that use 35l/100K and everyone can steal your bikes of the back... Yeah I think freaking V8 pickups are Lame...
  • 1 0
 the european or japonese trucks that i see there, from seeing car videos, movies series ,etc they are not like the ones in europe ate least, for example there is toyota tacoma, here is hilux, even your ford we don't gate the same as you.

that might be because most of the people in you country likes big cars and big engines,even if they "drink" a lot compared to european or japonese one and doesn't go that faster

35L to 100k? the pickups that are used here might do consuming the most fuel like 15l ,and that is a lot already, most recent cars you see around dont do more that 6 or 7 L of fuel consumption over 100k
  • 1 0
 out 4.3L V6 4 door trucks (chevy silvo 1500) get 24 MPG (you do the conversions) highway. which is really good if you think about their towing capacity.
  • 1 0
 SUVs took off after 9/11 and with a little help of some marketing master minds. To women an SUV is sold as a car that protects family thanks to it's bulky size, then comfort. For men the first incentive is to appear big to other drivers, then safety, then comfort. According to psychological analysis of SUV buyers very few of them expect to drive their cars in terrain but they did take that into consideration when buying a car, to drive to remote locations.

In reality SUVs are not any safer nor more comfortable than compacts, because of risk of roll over. Center of mass is placed quite high and ironically, the last car you want to hit with SUV is a low compact. Numbers are brow raising - there is 60% higher fatality rate among SUV drivers who rolled over than any other king of car. Comfort also suffers because suspension must be set quite hard in relation to a typical Euro limo for same money. So even if we take the most luxurious Land Rover or Grand Cheerokee, it will never beat Mercedes E, BMW 5 or Audi A8, in any category but minority complex compensation.
  • 2 0
 I got a 1500 silverado 5.3 from work. I the city i live in and where thousands of others do who drive those great cars (sarcasm).
I get 9 miles to the gallon if I am lucky and idont run into too many red light on my comute. I never see any of these dinosaurs tow anything either here in LA nor do i ever.
24 is what the ads say but could not be further from the truth. Well actually I achieved 22 once when i drove out to utha and had it in cruise control at 50 for a couple of hundred miles... it was a terribly boring and long day and on the way back i was not able to repeat that. Heck my silverado is so big they charge me twice for parking when i go downtown. Sad thing is I cant even sell because no one wants to buy that gas sucker off of me.

To me an SUV is the combination of the worst possible attributes of a car. Take a BMW X6 for example.
It has the high center of gravity of an off road car, the weight of a cargo van, the offload capabilities of your average sedan, the room of a coupe and the suspension comfort of a sports car.
I know a lot of people say they are buying these because you see more so it is saver but but how is that possible if everyone drives those monsters?
  • 1 0
 yeah, well i'm saying if you're gonna be using it, then its worth it. and even 22 highway is really good. compare it to a ford ranger that my buddy has that gets 19 going down hill hahaha. but yeah, trucks in the big city don't work. and as Top Gear has said many times, SUV's are not great. unless you need a people mover like a Tahoe or Expedition. but for me, i use a Ford Escape and it's seats go down and i can throw my bike in the back, and i can get all 5 of my friends in it. but its not an offroader, nor does it have great towing capacity.
  • 2 0
 SUVs basically replaced the minivan, and there are only a couple I would consider to be offroad worthy, the 4runner, rubicon, rangerover and landcruiser. However offroad capability usually brings down the cars comfort, mpg and handling.
  • 1 0
 especially if you add a suspension kit, tires and bumpers and wheelgate.
  • 15 0
 How are they going to fit all their team gear in a Jeep?
  • 3 1
 So true - those Vitos were tops
  • 2 0
 I'm sure they'll get more than one...right? One for parts, mechanic, food, one for riders.
  • 12 0
 I'll take the one with the food
  • 1 0
 probably a trailer? i just wouldn't want to pay the fuel bill. in the us it's way cheaper than in europe
  • 13 1
 Danny's name looks so sad with no results posted beside it! Hope he see's some podiums in 2015....
  • 7 0
 They could have at least put "insane trail builder and all-round tuff c#nt"
  • 4 0
 I think about as many people call Dan Atherton "Danny" as call Kyle Norbraten "Norby".
  • 11 1
 Finally a normal helmet for Gee
  • 1 0
 jeez the 'other' helmet was/is hideous!
  • 7 0
 Cool to see bigger, mor 'mainstream' sponsors getting involved in the sport again. Or I the only one here old enough to remember Honda, Volvo Cannondale, ect.
  • 2 0
 Yea true. In the past GT has also had Chevy Trucks and Hyundai as sponsors. I see this as positive for DH in 2015
  • 1 0
 There are still a ton of "big" companies still involved but they don't put too much in because there is hardly anything for them to get out of modern MTB racing
  • 8 0
 Where is Marc?
  • 3 0
 Hopefully Marc gets picked up by some other team. Sometimes riders need a fresh start elsewhere to hit their stride (again). I also believe it drives the racers to have others on the team that can push each other. Hopefully Taylor can step in as an elite racer and make some noise.
  • 5 0
 I'm amazed One Ind let them walk. But good for the Athertons, still bringing in new sponsors.
  • 5 0
 Shooting all of this in ONE's backyard (san diego)...Wild.
  • 6 1
 looking for a job!
  • 5 2
 Jeeezus! Gee in Jeep on GT... I'm sure I heard it at least once when ordering Indian food!
  • 2 0
 Im hoping IXS make some GT team riding gear for us to buy. As a long time GT rider/fan would be good if they had some team kit like the old days (1990's)
  • 1 0
 Funny how the article opens with training in Del Mar when all the ridinhg shown was off the 56 known for more of the gnar and the big lines. That jeep never left the hard top during shuttling.....
  • 3 0
 Why have Bell and IXS? IXS makes awesome helmets too
  • 2 0
 Probably the same reason than a lot of things in this world, the search of happiness.... Nah just kidding for sure it was $
  • 3 0
 The wrangler is going to come in handy in north Wales' narrow lanes.
  • 6 3
 yes ! One industries was so ugly
  • 1 0
 Big change up, good for them. Mr Sharples says welcome back, curious to when the wore bell helmets. Best of luck to the team, definitely my favorite.
  • 1 0
 They wore Bell helmets way back in 2007 (possibly 2006 too) in their debut year on Commencal. Wasn't long before they switched to 661, which they wore till 2010. Gee also used a troy lee D3 for 2011 before they made the switch to One Industries. They've worn pretty much every brand at some point Razz
  • 1 0
 Jeep as a sponsor?! OMG, is this, like, kinda old school? sweet!! though not sponsoring events, cool to see the 'off road machine' back in the mix!
  • 1 0
 Anyone else tried these Dagger pads? Love em but they rub the shit out of your shin hairs!
  • 5 0
 That's why Gee got shaved legs probably Smile
  • 1 0
 Wait, they're back to the sky blue and black they had before going to GT? Looks beautiful!
  • 1 0
 Nvm, just black.
  • 1 0
 Jeep, for the UK what a fucking joke. They will be missing their Vito in no time.
  • 1 0
 hope they don't get stuck. Jeep guys will understand haha
  • 1 0
 Jersey Looks a bit big for rachel
  • 1 1
 Surely the main problem is that Jeep's are and always have been 'a bit shit'.
  • 1 0
 not exactly if Dan Atherton needs an uplift service though
  • 1 1
 Special rims on gee's bike?
  • 1 0
 Stoked ya now!!!
  • 1 0
 What bike rack is that?
  • 1 2
 Looks like one that's going to ruin the finish on his top tube after about 10 feet of bouncing around behind that Jeep Smile
  • 1 0
 I zoomed in- looks like a Thule 990 Double Track.
  • 3 0
 who cares? the bikes are free
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
  • 1 2
 - wrong reply button
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