GT Factory Racing Welcomes Johannes von Klebelsberg and Ethan Craik

Jan 15, 2020
by GT Bicycles  

GT Bicycles and GT Factory Racing (GTFR) today announced exciting changes the 2020 team roster. New riders Johannes von Klebelsberg (IT) and Ethan Craik (UK) will join seasoned vets Wyn Masters, Martin Maes, and #2 ranked Noga Korem.

“I’m stoked to have Johannes and Ethan join the crew for some fast racing and good times,” said Maurissen, GTFR Team Manager. “When you add Martin, Noga and Wyn into the mix, you know we’re in for another spectacular season. Fans can expect some more crossover between EWS and DH too. We’ll see you soon at the races!”

No stranger to the UCI Downhill World Cup series, Johannes raced for MS Mondraker during the 2018 season, then as a privateer in 2019. Working in his family’s restaurant in Munich, Germany funded Johannes’s race season. He even raced with a phone in his pocket in case of a work emergency. Johannes is excited to shed his privateer status because “being part of GTFR means that I’ll have bigger opportunities and more time to work on technical aspects of the sport.” He added, “I will have more free time at race weekends next season, and I will use that time to work on skills that could make me a faster racer.”


Aside from being one of the fastest privateers on the circuit, Johannes quickly became a fan favorite last season for his unconventional use of denim jeans as racing pants, earning him the nickname “Denim Destroyer.” Johannes has no plans of hanging up the jeans any time soon, “I’ll keep my denims, and Alpinestars can help me finally get some good-looking ones!”

Photos by Brett Shfler

2020 will be Ethan Craik’s first year racing in the Downhill World Cup. His BMX racing background has given him some serious bike handling skills which he’s excited to unleash on the steep tracks of the World Cup. “I’ve always wanted to race at the top level in my sport, and I’m so thankful for GT giving me this amazing opportunity,” said Ethan. “To ride and have fun with a selection of the sport’s greatest like Martin, Wyn and Noga is truly amazing.” Since breaking onto the scene, Ethan has been running the mixed wheel set up that has paid dividends for Martin, and he’s excited to keep dialing it in with the GTFR team.

As GTFR welcomes new additions to the team, the brand will say goodbye to others. After an eventful two years, George Brannigan will be moving on. Joey Foresta will continue on as GT’s North American gravity assassin with a focus on marquee gravity events in US and Canada including the Pro GRT, Sea Otter, Crankworx and more.

To learn more about GT, its pro riders and the bikes they ride, visit www.gtbicycles.com. Check out GT Bicycles on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, and follow GT Factory Racing on Instagram.


114 Comments

  • 238 2
 Keep the denim. Please GT you have a chance of getting back to the glory days. Imagine the Destroyer podiuming on GT wearing jeans. That's what legends are made of.
  • 54 5
 A) please, ffs, have their kit sponsor giving him denim print pants

B) isn't Mr. Cathro's the creator of the "Denim Destroyer" nickname? Should be given some credit
  • 28 1
 @Arierep: yep I think it was Cathro who createad the nickname in one of his Leogang videos.
  • 11 2
 @Arierep: it’s nothing to do with the look of the pants, he simply finds denim more comfortable and flexible
  • 5 7
 @freerideglory: I never said otherwise.
I just assumed that since he'll be on a proper team he'll have a kit sponsor, who'll likely not be too happy about one of their athletes riding in jeans. They can just denim print whatever race pants they have and keep the fans happy
  • 5 8
 @freerideglory: Denim is way more comfortable to ride in. I have ridden in jeans for quite a while now, and your arse doesn't scuff as much when you hit the dirt either.
They do chafe a bit after an entire day riding though - liners are a must. Only DH too, can't imagine the chaffage trying to ride trail in jeans....
  • 5 0
 @Arierep: he said in the story that alpinestars are going to get him some proper denim pants.
  • 15 1
 @ta4645: So jeans are way more comfortable, but you need liners because otherwise they are uncomfortable?




Cool.
  • 18 23
flag NYShred (Jan 15, 2020 at 9:06) (Below Threshold)
 Pretty funny that this culture/industry makes such a big deal that someone doesn't dress like the rest of the herd. What is this Junior high? Bunch of 40 year olds telling people how they should dress... straight comedy.

When I show up to the bike park I'm usually in jeans, full face helmet with sunglasses and a pair of old Etnies skate shoes on my feet, cell phone in one pocket and a squashed granola bar in the other, riding a franken-bike I built myself from 2012 - getting odd stares from freakin adults! Not children, but adults! Yet noone says a word because they know theyd lose a couple teeth.

Grow up you Marys, stop being so passive aggressive and realize that not everyone subscribes to your over-priced Power Ranger kit nonsense. God forbid anyone has a sense of individuality in this sport.
  • 10 0
 @NYShred: so the WC rider that uses jeans gets to be a fan favourite, has ample press coverage and that awesome nom de guerre, yet this culture dislikes who doesn't dress like the herd?
Am I missing something here?
  • 1 0
 @Franziskaner: Totally! lol. Comfortable might be the wrong word.... Practical maybe? I prefer to ride in jeans.
I have shorts, but the mesh pulls right up your bag crease and with the liners getting pulled in you get nut jammed. Don't get that with the jeans -that's what I was trying to get across.
  • 7 0
 @NYShred: I agree with the sentiment.... but also, cool story bro.
  • 3 0
 @NYShred: if you are hot and sweaty like me, riding in denim is an absolute buzzkill. i need good lightweight and breathable fabrics to help keep me cool.

have you ever thought that there might be objective benefits to "over-priced Power Ranger kit"?

and if you use your brain, you can get most items on sale, often for quite a bit less than your average levis 501s.
  • 9 1
 @NYShred: oh, you're that guy? Every park has 'that guy', and we all love watching them do their thing.
  • 1 0
 @Franziskaner: I recently started riding in stretch Levi and they are very comfy. The cool max boxers are perfect.Good protection also
  • 3 0
 He should definitely do a Palmer and write GT on his denim with some permanent marker.
  • 73 0
 the real question is who will take care of the knödel ?
  • 3 0
 this made my day!
  • 19 0
 Maybe they will open a pop-up restaurant in the pits and serve some dumplings? Big Grin
  • 12 0
 @eldiddo: Wyn could have a Stammtisch for the TV interviews.
  • 9 0
 New segment on WynTV: Leberkäse für alle!
  • 8 0
 @Riggbeck: this is hell of an idea... imagine the destroyer bringing the Knödel and Peaty the Beer...
on the other side that might make Amaury even faster down the hill, just to be first in the line...
  • 5 1
 @eldiddo: since when a knödel is a dumpling, You barbaric ignorant!
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: the closest English description is probably a dumpling (or heavy round balls if you want to be more literal). Certainly a far cry from the Asian style dumpling filled with hot water.

The knödel trio is a regular feature on the menus near my house, you feel each one thump into the bottom of your belly and it sitting there for hours afterwards.
  • 1 0
 @Riggbeck: dumplings have filling and are glued together. Knödel is basically a fat lump of dough stuck around something. I coming from Silesia region in Poland Smile
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: You need to look beyond Poland. Your dumpling is not my dumpling. :-) That said when I was last in Poland I did enjoy your dumplings as well.

I think if you go to the UK and ask for dumplings you will cry.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: @Riggbeck: You're both right.
I think you can simply go for Knödel, like italian pasta, you can't constantly searching for the matching english word when it simply doesn't exist.
  • 1 0
 @Riggbeck: polish dumplings have more to do with “Asian” dumplings than Knödel has with any dumpling Smile Knödel with plums is the taste of my childhood
  • 1 0
 @Bruccio: in general I was just joking pretending to be a cilunary nerd Wink I don’t care what is called what when it’s on a plate in front of me
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: i understand. i'm italian so i'm a food nerd by genetics, and my sister works in Warsaw so everytime she comes back, it's pirogi time. love that shit.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: If you ever go to Taichung Bike Week you will find half of the bike industry in the basement of a department store eating dumplings, in fact dumplings possibly fulled the development of boost and the number 29.99.
  • 63 2
 Von Klebelsberg sells out, I mean washed out, I mean distressed look - on sale now!
  • 14 1
 Yea, quite torn about this!
  • 27 0
 501 reasons to love this guy
  • 22 0
 I’ve got to Levi can’t take the puns.
  • 5 0
 Quote from Von Klebelsberg:

“Ah you think denim is your ally? You merely adopted the jeans. I was born in them, molded by them. I didn't see matchy racing kits until I was already a man, by then they were nothing to me but blinding!"
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: I want that to be a true quote tup
  • 34 3
 News Flash:
GTFR welcomes new title sponsor: Levis Jeans
  • 20 0
 @opignonlibre: MILES DENIM PANT - $329.95 ?? WTF !
  • 2 0
 Every video with JVK will use the track from Pepe deluxe - before you leave
  • 5 0
 @zeitfuerplanb: Those are Kevlar,intended to ride motorbikes in urban environment when looking like VR46 in GP weekend is not an option.
  • 4 2
 @opignonlibre: Imagine paying $300+USD for jeans.... MTBing marketing culture in a nutshell
  • 1 0
 @opignonlibre: my wife's jeans don't cost that much!!!
  • 3 0
 @gotohe11carolina @zeitfuerplanb @cky78 : these are motorcycles jeans. I am not saying you should buy them, I'm just saying Joahnnes won't have to irritate a sponsor or find a new one to wear jeans at races.
  • 1 0
 I recall JVK saying in an interview (believe it was The Inside Line) that the denim jeans are some cheap, spandex-denim blend he found at an H&M or somewhere similar one race weekend and decided would work well as race pants. But no doubt I bet we'll see $300 "denim" pants popping up, I think of the ski/snowboard outerwear trends and how denim was huge a few years ago.
  • 1 0
 @opignonlibre:

Those prices are crazy but people will pay more than they should. Diesel Jeans company was on the verge of bankruptcy until they they raised their prices to a then-unheard of $300 a pair and enjoyed a decade of decadence. They were the marquee UCI DH sponsor in1999.
  • 1 0
 @gotohe11carolina: That's what YOU think! Women do it too, just like we do with our gear.
  • 1 0
 The Sunn-Chipie DH team was quite successful. Did they race in Chipie jeans too? Cedric Gracia sure has had some special outfits.
  • 1 0
 @endlessblockades: diesels are hideous.
I only where made in usa White oak Luckies. Wink
  • 3 0
 @reverend27: Never had Diesels! I do have some Selvage Levis made from White Oak denim that have lasted 8 years. I'm OK paying a lot more for US made stuff that lasts over imported crap.

I have a DH racing number plate from back in the day that screams DIESEL - FOR SUCCESSFUL LIVING at me from my office wall daily. My first DH race in 1999.. 2nd in Beginner class. I thought I was the shit. Turned out I wasn't.
  • 1 0
 @endlessblockades: I´m wearing right now a pair of Diesel jeans 6 or 7 years old. Good to last long and they are made in Tunisia. I have various pairs,included one buy in the USA and they are all good. Levi´s fit is not for me. Not cheap but looks and feels good to me.
  • 2 1
 @homerjm: im just really particular about the size and shape of the back pockets of my jeans.

I dont like really long or large pockets and i hate silver stiching or any kind of branding on them.

When i see a guy in Rock revivals i just feel embarrassed for them.
  • 1 0
 @reverend27: yeah every one is different. I like the fit more than any other thing,I´m not too particular about this or that.
  • 1 0
 Any news yet on what suspenders he will be running?
  • 1 0
 @zeitfuerplanb: its all for moto. kevlar and all that shit. still 500% more than it is worth bro.
  • 28 0
 Best signing news of the off season. Looking forward too some riveting racing.
  • 12 0
 I think the news of Johannes von Klebelsberg bringng the Denim again this year - is the best pre-race season news so far!
He was on it last year so with the support of GT it be sick to see what he can do Smile
  • 10 0
 The "Von Klebelsberg" chique. Each pair of denim jeans have been custom aged by repetitive downhill runs. Each runs adding a layer of unique wear. For sale in Tiffanys for $10,000
  • 10 0
 Can’t wait to see GT factory jeans Big Grin
  • 9 0
 GTFR - get the f*ck racing
  • 7 0
 So pumped for Ethan! My old shop used to support him and his younger brother where we could, he has huge talent and skills and is one to watch out for!
  • 3 0
 I was so stoked for him when I read this! Lad deserves it big time
  • 2 0
 I shot photos with them both at Windhill a month or so back, both unbelievable riders, Ethan deserves nothing less than this and I am so hyped to see him doing so well. Never a better feeling seeing your mates do well
  • 6 0
 So pumped for him. He’s the working mans hero!
  • 5 1
 so AStars will make a race cut pant in denim fabric?hahaa, so cool
Technical jeans always looked and performed poorly on snowboard, but are a staple for climbing.
  • 2 0
 Royal had some 'FR pants' that where cut like a jean an weather proof. shame they stopped making em
  • 1 0
 Hopefully the version with reinforced trouser bottom will be available soon! Knödel Edition
I would like to use them during the day as well.
  • 7 3
 Great to hear he's Wrangled a factory ride, and that he's not Levi-ing the denim behind. Surprised this news didn't Lee-k though.
  • 5 0
 GT Factory Racing welcomes Levis as Co-Sponsor
  • 6 0
 YES ETHAN!
  • 1 0
 You have to love the double standard on pinkbike. This guy previously raced for a major race team and is still considered a privateer. Yet Adam gets a few things to help him race and the majority of people say he isn't a privateer anymore.
  • 1 0
 Don't give the dude a hard time though if he decides to ride in a full kit 'cause chances are he chose jeans due to lack of sponsoring. I mean otherwise it's kinda like free advertisement, eh? He can probably ride in anything and it won't effect his performance. Let's see what he actually chooses to do. Glad to see he's getting the support he deserves now. Go Knoedel dumplings with Wiener Schnitzel!!
  • 4 0
 I'm curious how this deal is going to work out for the Denim Destroyer.
  • 16 0
 Probably signing a double contract, he will be riding and cooking for the team too...! Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @pepper8: A double denim contract, maybe with Status Quo as a co-sponsor.
  • 3 0
 best news this year I thought he may have joined trummer on yt but this is sick news
  • 3 0
 Is it my imagination or did Noga Korem say she was leaving GT, but this says she's staying with the team!!!
  • 2 0
 Does this mean he no longer have to race with a phone in his pocket in case there's a dumpling emergency halfway through his run?
  • 2 0
 My friend had a GT in the late 80s and threw pretty mean whips in jeans on our backyard tabletop. Just sayin'

Kids these days and their "originality" - geez
  • 2 0
 Not all photos are taken by Boris! Images of Ethan are taken by Brett Shelfer. @time_capture_photographer on instagram, pink bike please correct this you should know
  • 4 0
 Double Denim FTW!
  • 3 0
 No more privateer prizes for you now!
  • 2 0
 Surely they must make a version with big pockets. For the mobile phone of course =)
  • 3 0
 No ones going to say anything about the cows?
  • 3 0
 they are cute!
  • 1 0
 Its a pretty awesome picture for your sponsored coming out party. DD seems to be a cool fella who doesn't take his public image too seriously. Too many "serious" mountain bikers on the trail these days.
  • 1 0
 dont forget palmer raced in Jean's as did missy giove on afew of there out of retirement races but to see it at this level of racing is part of his persona go denim destroyer
  • 3 0
 I see a denim painted GT in the future
  • 2 0
 This dude with true factory level support and suspension... man I look forward some podiums. Never stop wearing jeans man.
  • 2 0
 A star denim mtb pants???
Cost a bit more than legit MX pants????
Go get f”#*~d
  • 2 0
 Yeah!!! That's good news!
  • 2 0
 Levi’s Strauss to be the new marquee sponsor to gt factory racing
  • 1 0
 Thor mx use to make bike specific Denim copy moto pants with zip off lower legs . I ve had them since 2009 .
  • 1 0
 I am so happy for Denim Destroyer he is a good boy and I am already for him next season!!
  • 2 0
 Best of luck Ethan!!! Your dad is very rightly a proud man!
  • 2 0
 Jean T factory racing!
  • 1 1
 I wonder how he Wranglerd that deal & if they will Levi some sort of penality for not wearing team bottoms?
  • 1 0
 Two thoroughly deserving riders!
  • 1 0
 Is he listening Lana Del Rey when he ride ?
  • 2 0
 Levi's where robbed
  • 2 0
 Big up GT!
  • 1 0
 Love how he has his mobile phone in his pocket on a race run ????
  • 1 0
 Will he run a food truck on the world cup circuit?
  • 1 0
 He needs some nice selvege jeans
  • 1 0
 really seems to be milking this fame
  • 1 0
 I've always ridden in jeans. Really comfortable and no biggie...
  • 1 0
 Well Deserved
  • 1 0
 69!!!!!!
  • 1 3
 GT Destroyer?
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