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Introducing the 2023 Pinkbike Racing Team

May 9, 2023
by Brian Park  
photo
The fruits of the team's labour in 2022: Aimi's season-best 2nd place in Snowshoe.

Words: Brian Park
Photos: Jack Tennyson & Tom Richards



Of all the things we did in 2022, the 4000+ stories we published and countless events we attended, the thing I'm most proud of is Pinkbike Racing.

Going racing is brutally expensive, and the upper echelons of our sport have become inaccessible to all but the most privileged racers. There's still little support for juniors and lower ranked riders, and racing a full season requires enormous resources.

But, thanks to Outside’s significant investment and the support of several key sponsors (thank you!) we launched Pinkbike Racing last year as a talent incubator for young riders based on their race pace and work ethic, rather than how deep their (parents’) pockets are. We don't want only the most affluent to compete in World Cup racing, so we set out to help juniors and riders on the bubble that need support to break through and build a foundation for sustainable racing careers.

We also took the opportunity to go behind the curtain of World Cup racing with a video series, to share the struggles and successes as they race at the sport's highest level, and to break through in the public eye. If you haven't seen how Season 1 went, I won't spoil it for you but go and get caught up here!





Today I'm proud to announce that we are back for Season 2 from the 2023 UCI World Cup downhill season. We're again providing the team with wages, full race support, top quality race bikes, and covering their World Cup racing expenses so they can focus on what happens between the tape.

So, without any further ado, let's meet the team.





The Riders

Photo by Jack Tennyson
Category: Elite Men
Age: 35
Hometown: Pitlochry, Scotland
Instagram: @ben_cathro
Ben Cathro

Ben 'Team Dad' Cathro should need no introduction. He'll continue in his role as the team's leader and performance coach, and will be using his technical knowledge and World Cup experience to help the rest of the team achieve their goals.

Alongside that, he'll be producing his usual mix of content for Pinkbike. And after his stellar form last year that included a 26th place at Fort William, he'll be racing a few World Cups himself to show the kids how it's done.


Photo by Jack Tennyson
Category: Junior Women (2nd year)
Age: 17
Hometown: Inverness, Scotland
Instagram: @aimi__kenyon
Aimi Kenyon

Returning for 2023, Aimi is in her final year of Juniors this year. She had impressive results in 2022, taking 3rd in Fort William and 2nd in Snowshoe, and in 2023 she's looking to build on those results.

That said, she’s recovering from a concussion, and will have to regroup before she gets back to working towards the top step.


Photo by Jack Tennyson
Category: Elite Men
Age: 25
Hometown: Clermont Ferrand, France
Instagram: @tibolaly
Thibault Laly

A last-minute addition in 2022, Thibault quickly proved himself with solid results, and capped off his season with a wild run at Red Bull Hardline. He also led by example and became a critical part of the younger riders' support systems.

This year he'll be increasing the leadership side of his role within the team, but he's still got his sights set on an Elite Top 20 result.


Photo by Tom Richards
Category: Junior Men (1st year)
Age: 16
Hometown: North Vancouver, BC
Instagram: @wyatt._.harrington
Wyatt Harrington

Wyatt Harrington is the newest member of the team. Hailing from North Vancouver, BC, he's the 2022 U17 Canada Cup and BC Cup Overall Champion.

Ben sifted through hundreds of young racers' results, and many many interviews, and came away impressed with both Wyatt's attitude and his pace. He's got a lot of raw potential, and we're excited to see him tackle the big show.


Extended Family

Pinkbike Racing is about lifting up as many young racers as we can. You'll see us supporting a young Santa-Cruz affiliated team from France as well this season. And although Jackson Connelly isn't officially on the team for 2023, he's still part of the PBR family and we'll be doing what we can to help him in his 2023 campaign.





2023 Pinkbike Racing iXS team helmet
New custom helmet graphics from iXS and Continental.

Season 2 Video Schedule

Pinkbike Racing Season 2 will be a five episode series made by the same talented team that did Season 1, releasing once a week for five weeks after the end of the season. We'll also be doing regular video diaries during the season to keep everyone up to speed.

The entire series will be available for free on Pinkbike via Outside Watch and YouTube.

And while I'm announcing things, the third season of How To Bike is in production now and features the Pinkbike Racing Team, so stay tuned for that.





2023 Pinkbike Racing
Absolute beast of a bike. I apologize in advance for not mandating pink bikes and kits. Maybe something for Worlds?

Partners

We were incredibly fortunate last year to have strong supporters who believed in the team's mission from the start. A team that isn't focused only on getting the most results for the least money is a rare thing in this sport, and we couldn't have made this project work without partners who get it.

I'm happy to announce that for 2023 almost all of our partners have returned, in addition to some new ones. We're incredibly grateful to these sponsors who have embraced this project and the goal of the team. Pinkbike Racing's 2023 partners are:

Continental - Tires
Santa Cruz - Frames
Five Ten - Shoes
Shimano - Drivetrain & brakes
DHaRCO - Custom kits
iXS - Helmets, protection, & goggles
Deity - Cockpit & saddle
Reserve - Wheels
Manitou - Suspension
Cushcore - Tire inserts
Stan's NoTubes - Sealant
Outside - Support
2023 Pinkbike Racing sponsors





Thank You!

Most teams understandably want to maximize results and minimize cost, so they want to keep their younger riders as long as possible to reap the benefits of their investments. Because of how Pinkbike Racing is set up, we can approach sports marketing differently—we need to set Wyatt up for success going into his second year in Juniors, we need to see how Thibault's career evolves in a team leadership position, and we want to find Aimi the right factory team for 2024.

My personal goals for this season are for the experience to set each rider up for stronger careers in the sport, and that the global mountain bike community can come along for the ride.

Last year we massively appreciated all the support from the fans and audience. You bought a ton of team replica race kits, and lots of you have reached out to ask how you can help. There are still some women's kits available, and we'll look at doing another run of clothes (and maybe t-shirts?) this year, with proceeds going to the team again. I can't thank you all enough!

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124 Comments
  • 166 1
 That bike looks mean with the manitou fork
  • 25 4
 Looks awesome until you need to put a front mudguard on it - see Ben's Ft William bike from this weekend. A problem with all upside down forks.
  • 40 3
 @AyJayDoubleyou: The moto-style mudguard is absolutely sick
  • 11 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: always wondered this since seeing intend's Edge fork and mudguard - why couldnt there be a mudguard attached to those protectors of each stanchion. those pieces and the mudguard essentially become one piece. legs on either side jut out a tad towards the front of the wheel, go up, in, and then mudguard wraps the wheel like any normal fork's does, moving with the wheel as the fork compresses and rebounds. Am I crazy? or missing something?
  • 3 0
 @two-plank: Basically the DVO fork? Maybe it was patented. The dual arch lowers were a Magura thing that they first had on their 2004 Thor fork but because the stanchion protectors aren't fork lowers, DVO didn't have to deal with that patent. But if Manitou wants to connect both stanchion guards of their USD fork, they may run into patent issues with DVO.
  • 4 0
 @vinay: Or maybe attaching a fender to the lower stanchion guards makes for a flexy-mounted, more complicated solution than the Moto-style guard. Also adds to the sprung weight of the system.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: its only a patent issue if they try to sell it I think. I'm sure DVO would be willing to license it
  • 3 0
 @rbarbier12: yeah go full moto: mullit, handguards, numberplate
  • 3 0
 Manitou and Shimano just like in 1999 like a marriage made in a Drop In Bus
  • 1 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: unsprung weight though, bro
  • 1 0
 @two-plank: One exists like you'redescribing, I've got one for my previous generation Dorado. It's a bit noisy because the weight of the center fender piece causes some rattle, but you can damp that with some soft velcro I the right places.
  • 2 0
 Who's racing on the GD v3.1?
  • 2 1
 That looks like a Fox shock tho.
  • 3 0
 @megatryn: it is/was.

They were back running an Ohlins rear shock at the fort bill national the weekend just gone.
  • 1 0
 Motorcycles with USD forks have been using axel mounted mud or stone guards for years to protect radiators. I think its more the fork manufacturers are awaiting a third party mudguard manufacturer to do it for them.
  • 4 0
 @megatryn: Manotou does not make a coil rear shock at the moment, hope they will do so in the future!
  • 2 0
 Why aren't the running the Mara shock or is it too enduro focused? Does this sponsorship mean Manitou are bringing out a new dh shock?
  • 4 0
 @ctd07: Either that, or they just don't bother to develop something without bringing anything new to the table. I can imagine in the rear shock market it is much harder if you don't sign a lot of OEM deals. For the end consumer it is much easier to replace the stock fork with an aftermarket model than to do that with a rear shock. Either you need to build in a lot of adjustability (like Cane Creek does) or you need to offer custom tunes. For a company as big as Hayes/Manitou, that is just a bit too much of a hassle.

All this said, I don't get the obsession with same brand front and rear suspension in the first place. It may help a bike product manager to land better OEM deals but I don't see why it would matter one bit for the rider. People were riding the Fox Vanilla rear shock well before Fox released their 40 DH fork. People have also been riding the Romic and 5th element shocks who never made front forks.
  • 6 0
 Manitou makes awesome forks right now. I've turned into a fan boy. I really wish they'd do a coil shock again too.
  • 1 0
 @cougar797: i always loved my Manitou forks back in the day. It was my 1st real 5" fork that felt great ..... we'll until the elastomers deformed and that would take about a month so I learned how to replace them. My Psylo had 43 increments of travel adjustment via a 24" flathead screwdriver used from top inside down.
  • 1 0
 @mammal: the plastic is to hard in my opinion. But what I did was wrap a bit of self amalgamating tape on the legs just above seals and it's pretty quiet now
  • 2 0
 @briain: Yep, I did the same with the soft-side velcro tape, and it wasn't too bad.
  • 6 0
 @madmon: I love my new dorado on the dh bike. I have been really luke warm on some of the modern trail fork options so picked I picked up a mezzer when i saw a new one on sale for 50% off. I will say it outperforms anything I've ridden recently as well including a very aftermarketed zeb I'm now selling to cover cost of my mezzer.
  • 2 0
 @cougar797: I haven't ridden either of those forks, but I have friends who love them. My recent experiences are on a 160mm Mattoc and 27.5 version of the Dorado (last model). Both are/were outstanding performers.
  • 4 0
 @mammal: I honestly think its the combination of far superior air spring lack of friction and useable ramp, better factory bushing tolerance, and hydraulic bottom out. Its simple obvious quality suspension building rather then gimmicky marketing crap.
  • 2 0
 @cougar797: Their dampers for the top models are also generally VERY good too, that makes a difference. But yeah, the IRT and hydraulic bottom out kick ass.
  • 1 0
 @briain: thanks for this link! do you know if this also fits new version?
  • 1 0
 @R20ljr: I have the old version, so not 100% but I'd be surprised if it didn't it just bolts in where the stanchion guards typically go. If you want me to send measurements just DM me. Or I'm pretty sure Manitou would know
  • 4 0
 @mammal: Mezzer is the best single crown I've used and when they go on sale their hard to beat
  • 3 0
 @briain: cheers for replying. I did email Manitou and the response was that it would not fit, however there is something in development.
  • 1 0
 @R20ljr: Yeah I've yet to see a new 37mm Dorado in the wild. I'm pretty sure the upper tubes are still 44mm so thought the axle pieces would be the same
  • 60 0
 Still free content on YouTube. Love it, thank you!!
  • 8 0
 I am as stoked for more "How to Bike" as I am for the racing! Wish MTB skills videos by Ben had been available when I was a kid!
  • 58 0
 For worlds, eye-searing hot pink, with silver decals
  • 22 0
 They really need to go with the obvious color
  • 17 1
 @DizzyNinja: maybe silver wheels too.

With the Barbie movie coming out, it's simply the right time.
  • 4 0
 @DizzyNinja: they are. You just need to think Outside the box.

Cathro's yellow bike looks very much like the Outside yellow.
  • 25 0
 @lifeofloon: the team colours are originally from Outside yellow, Continental orange, and Pinkbike red. But mostly we think it looks nice.

And yeah, definitely going to look into a pink/silver/glitter barf option for Worlds. Smile
  • 26 0
 @brianpark: the entire team has to dye their hair pink
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: I do agree as well. I also think it looks nice and classy.
  • 50 0
 Team: Wow.
Sponsors: Wow.
Kit: Wow.
  • 11 0
 If the kit is as gorgeous as the helmet, I might be interested in finally buying some Dharco stuff!
  • 30 0
 Owen Wilson: Wow
  • 38 0
 Let's Go! Was rad last year, really great PB is doing this.
  • 19 0
 Interesting move to Manitou, I wonder what happened with Öhlins? Either way I’m stoked for everyone involved and I can’t wait to continue to watch Aimi race!!
  • 11 0
 I was wondering that too. Would also be interesting to know why they run Manitou forks but Öhlins or Fox shocks.
  • 5 8
 One answer: "Contracts". Simple as that
  • 7 1
 @Muscovir: i think i read somewhere that manitou don't make a shock which is the right size for their bikes
  • 4 0
 @edparry: They do but its an air shock, I think Gamut Racing are running it, but it would be interesting to see if they bring out a coil or more downhill-oriented air shock
  • 2 0
 @edparry: That's what I thought, but their website says the Mara Pro shock is available in 250x75mm. There's also another DH racing team that runs full Manitou suspension - the Gamux Factory team. So availability shouldn't be an issue.
  • 7 2
 @Muscovir: I would just paint the Ohlins coil black and put a manitou decal set in it
  • 4 0
 I have heard they will be running the best coil available on race day.
  • 1 0
 Agreed very interesting. Last year Ben said all his knowledge of Fox had to go out the window for the move to Öhlins. He’ll have to do the same again? And start from scratch unless he gets some great factory support?

I’m looking forward to it and good luck guys.
  • 1 0
 @notsosikmik: Oh now that's big news for those best guys.
  • 17 0
 Remembering when pb racing videos just about made me cry last season. Excited for more amazing content from this team!
  • 13 0
 I'm going to put my money in Aimi winning the Wold Champs in her home soil.
  • 1 0
 Fingers crossed. I know she's had a concussion, but she was 10s back at the BDS on Sunday. She will be under a huge amount of pressure and expectation (as well as from herself) as well.
  • 13 0
 Love that helmet!!
  • 12 0
 Congrats Wyatt! Amazing buddy! Good luck on your season!!!
  • 8 0
 Thanks PB and other sponsors for acknowledging the resources needed to compete on the WC. I am excited to see how this team does, especially the young lad from North Van.
  • 7 0
 Very excited to see PBR return for another year! Hope you guys have a fantastic season Smile
  • 4 0
 LOVE the PB Racing jersey my ladies scored for me last year, so baller - everyone asks about it. Too bad I can't claim 1/2 the speed of skill of the least rider on the team, but it looks super effin' stylish. How about a 2023 version to add to the collection?

BUT MORE SO - who's gonna mechanic this year? I think Henry said he's not?
  • 6 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13 Ben has an ad for a mechanic posted on Instagram if you want to apply
  • 2 0
 @BananaSlug415: I'm sure they'll find the baller mechanic for the job...seems like a sweet but also trying gig
  • 10 0
 The PBR jerseys add a few watts, it's just science. And yeah we're looking into another round of kit for sale this year. Henry's now got his plate full running the video team in Squamish, so in addition to Pete we're on the hunt for a second mechanic. Ben mentioned he's got a frontrunner, so we'll see what they're like!
  • 7 0
 Last season was lovely to follow, thanks for continuing the race team!
  • 7 1
 Y’all should get an enduro ten and XC team too
  • 4 0
 F- ya!! Took you guys long enough to announce this. I thought for sure you scrapped the program, so happy to find out otherwise!
  • 4 0
 Very exited to see how that Manitou performs!!! Hopefully they can come up with a coil shock soon!!
  • 5 0
 Please make some hoodies! Thanks!
  • 5 0
 Hopefully Leona landed a ride for 2023. Such a nice story from 2022.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. Maybe she is a part of the French team @brianpark spoke of.
  • 4 0
 I'd sponsor this team if my brand made bike stuff. Guaranteed coverage, implied endorsement and good vibes
  • 4 0
 No elite women? Would be sweet to help one more lady make it to world cups!! Fingers crossed for next year .
  • 1 0
 I enjoy this content more than almost anything else on PB. The videos show the good/bad/ugly and really make you feel like you're in it. Really stoked for the riders this year, will be looking forward to each episode. Let's gooooooo!!
  • 2 0
 I was hoping Bodhi Kuhn would be part of the PB team, but apparently he's going to be riding for Trek. Psyched for Ben and his teammates to have an awesome WC season.
  • 12 0
 Bohdi is SO fast, and he's got a great ride at Trek. We wanted Wyatt to add a first year junior and give them more time to develop on the team.
  • 6 0
 @brianpark: We'll be rooting for Wyatt, of course.
  • 5 0
 Let’s go Cathro!
  • 4 0
 This is a great thing especially having Ben on the team. Congrats PB
  • 2 1
 Ben *is* the team.
  • 3 0
 I was hoping you would be fielding an all Ben Cathro team. Every category. Every age division.
  • 2 1
 My bikes all Yellow, even the tyre logos.... So I stuck some Red bars on it!!!! Lets all play Yellow bike when we see one at the races, first to punch the closest person wins..... whats the worst that could happen.
  • 2 0
 So sick, love this and hope to see Pinkbike racing grow going forward. Also yes, where tf are the pink bikes?
  • 1 0
 Good luck for the season , looking forward to see how the team perform this season. Great to see the team supporting and developing ridersto progress in the sport
  • 2 0
 Awesome team, so fun to follow! Why are the bikes still yellow and not pink? Smile
  • 3 0
 manitou is making a comeback
  • 1 0
 I thought that Sleeper.Co had signed to be with the Trek Factory Team this season. Have they the resources to work with two teams?
  • 1 0
 why no off season videos? I am very excited for Cathro and team to start racing! Put out more content, off season trading, rides, tech from the pinkbike race team.
  • 3 0
 T-shirts fundraiser!
  • 1 0
 The real question is, are these riders good at making funny faces and hand gestures?
  • 1 0
 Would be so sick to see you guys come to a Dow hill southeast race! Just ask Miranda Miller if it’s worth it…
  • 1 0
 Is the front rotor smaller than the rear on that bike or is it an optical illusion with that beast fork?
  • 2 0
 Helmet design is awesome. Bike looks fast.
  • 1 0
 What rear shock are they running?
  • 4 2
 Looks like they are sponsored by Manitou for forks and the shock choice is open to whatever the rider prefers
  • 6 2
 It looks like the ultra reliable Manitou X2 ! Joke aside, hopefully Manitou will step up and provide them with a proto gravity shock to complement their gravity Forks. Also it is hard to understand why you would pick a Fox shock when given the choice to chose.
  • 8 0
 @Balgaroth: probably because the x2 is a great option for a dh air shock if you’re able to get it serviced at every WC. The vivid isn't out yet and I doubt any smaller brands have the kind of race side support fox and rs have.
  • 4 0
 @Balgaroth: Hopefully Manitou, if developing a DH air shock option, decides to use a self-regulating negative chamber. If it's a straight-up coil instead, great.
  • 1 1
 @mammal: fingers crossed it is a coil !
  • 2 1
 Will there be DH fantasy this year?
  • 1 0
 The best of luck to PBR! Bring it on Ben
  • 1 0
 Ben ‘Ringo Star’ Cathro, first pic
  • 1 0
 How come this wasn't announced in January like all the other teams?
  • 2 2
 Didn't know there were other members besides Aimi.
  • 1 0
 ..
  • 1 0
 No Manitou shock?
  • 2 2
 Can't wait to put them in my fantasy team? Right??
  • 2 2
 Aren't mechanics also part of the team....?
  • 1 2
 Cant believe you forgot the mechanics
  • 3 6
 Where is Ben's front mudguard... L☻L !?
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