Gripped Films and Kenda have joined forces to sponsor the American GFK Racing team for 2008. The team is all about promoting a healthy lifestyle of racing through training and competition with friends. Team members will race mountain bike, road and some triathlon events on the East Coast.
Gripped Films produced both Off Road to Athens, a documentary about the US Olympic Team Selection process for 2004, and 24 Solo which captured Chris Eatough's epic battle with Australian Craig Gordon at the 2006 24 Hours of Adrenaline Solo World Championships in Conyers, Georgia.
"The race team is more of a fun thing," said Gripped Films Producer Ken Bell to Cyclingnews. "There are about half a dozen guys who can race the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in under 10 hours. It's not like an East Coast Trek Factory Team. It's that we met all these people in the industry doing these films. The main thing is to have a place we can come together as a group of riders all wearing the same jersey."
Cameraman and movie star Nick Alexander and director Jason Berry travelled to the Banff Mountain Film Festival in November with 24 Solo and screened it a packed house. "Just making the festival was an honor," said Bell. The film came close to winning the "People's Choice Award" and will be on tour with the Banff film festival, visiting over 200 cities world wide. 24 Solo also recently won the "Director's Choice" award at a film festival in Florida.
The team's top riders will likely be David Olson and Shawn Mahal, but the team's goal will be to win bragging rights in a regional team competition featuring four or five key races like the Shenandoah Mountain 100, the Massanutten Hoo Ha and the 24 hours of Big Bear.