After a six-month selection process
, Shaun Palmer and Intense have chosen five young men who, under the guidance of one of the mountain biking's most storied action-sports competitor, will race the new M16 on the USA Cycling Pro GRT circuit. Sixteen-year-old Josh Gibb from Redmond, Washington; 16-year-old Blake Motley from San Diego, California; 18-year-old Warren Kniss from Fremont, California; 15-year-old Steven Walker from Corona, California: and Nik Nestoroff of San Marcos, California, were chosen to headline the new development team. The five racers will campaign on the recently released M16
DH machine and, reportedly, also on a newly configured Spider 27.5 for gate racing. Shaun's M16 (yes, the man is racing regularly) was on hand, custom painted in his American flag motif. The Palmer/Intense team will be racing all-white versions.
We had a chance to watch a very different Shuan Palmer in action. His words were short and positive and, while the crowd of journos and associated industry were being treated to craft beer, the inked wild man of DH was busy gettin' the job done. Overseeing the assembly of the team's race bikes and checking up on their gear selections while his new charges prepared for dual Slalom and DH practice.
|This is where our roots are. Intense invented the downhill bike. This is where we need to be.|
Intense CEO Andrew Herrick
Intense CEO Andrew Herrick was visibly proud, and while admitting that the effort to establish a team from scratch was a more daunting prospect than originally anticipated, he indicated that Intense was on track with its original plan to re-establish Intense as a downhill powerhouse. "This is where our roots are." said Herrick. "Intense invented the downhill bike. This is where we need to be."
Traditionally, the road to World Cup success in the USA has been a leap from the junior class to the pro ranks, followed by a quick progression from the USA National series races, to the relentless and much more competitive racing available in Europe and Oceania. Few juniors, however can land the support required to campaign the US national circuit, much less dream of racing World Cups. Shuan Palmer's development team promises that at least five of those prospects have a fighting chance to make that cut.
Much credit should be given to the new team's sponsors: SRAM, Maxxis, DT Swiss, Evoc, Magura, and Fox Factory for throwing in with Palmer and Intense to invest in this country's efforts to retake the top spots on the World Cup DH. All journeys begin, as they say, with the first step. Bravo!
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, @foxracingshox, @MaguraPassionPeople