South African racers Max Knox and Jock Green will form the foundation of the Decca Ghost mountain bike racing team that was launched in Johannesburg, South Africa during the weekend.
Decca Ghost is a South African registered team but will follow an international strategy in 2012, in order to boost the awareness of the international brands associated with the team - including Belgium-based Decca performance cycle clothing, German-based Ghost-Bikes and Taiwan-based Bryton Sport GPS.
Despite only being 24 years old, Knox is one of the world's leading marathon racers. His achievements include four stage wins with teammate and current marathon world champion Christoph Sauser at the recent Cape Pioneer Trek stage race in South Africa. Knox has also won stages at the BC Bike Race in Canada as well as other South African stage events and is a multiple-time winner of the Barberton Classic, one of South Africa's premier marathon events.
"My main focus for 2012 is the South African National Marathon Series, which starts off with the first round of the UCI's new Marathon World Cup in Sabie, South Africa in February. This is one of my favourite races as I live in Sabie and do most of my training there," said Knox.
Green is a former South African national road race champion who raced professionally for the Barloworld team. He made the transition to mountain bike racing two years ago and although still improving, has been a regular podium challenger in marathon and stage racing events, which are popular in South Africa. Green will also shift his focus this year and compete in duathlon and trail running events and has his eyes set on winning the 2012 Otter Africa Trail Run amongst other events.
The Decca Ghost team will be managed by Jason Theunissen of Ballistic Bike Trading, an established distributor of bicycles and accessories in Southern Africa, including the Ghost, Bryton and Decca brands.
"We have achieved great success in professional road racing both in South Africa and abroad over the past two years and have now targeted the growing discipline of mountain biking," said Decca's Quinton van Loggerenburg.
"In addition to the Decca Ghost team, we will also be supporting the Milka Trek team of Dutch former Olympic and World Champion, Bart Brentjens. We have an amazing new fabric that actually repels mud and look forward to showcasing that on some star riders at major international mountain bike events."
Ghost-Bikes, a German brand, has achieved international success in Olympic cross country racing over the past few years, but is now making a push at marathon racing success through its support of Team Decca Ghost. In 2011, Knox won more than 80 percent of the races he started, mostly on a 26-inch Ghost, but will now compete on Ghost's new 29-inch models when relevant.
"Max is one of the few riders able to remain competitive on all courses on a 26-inch bike so we're excited about the arrival of the new 29er, which should remove any disadvantage on the less hilly, less technical race routes," said Theunissen.
Team Decca Ghost will also be sponsored by Continental tyres, SRAM components and the Fury Motor Group, which is a Chevrolet, Isuzu, Opel, VW, Suzuki, Toyota, Honda, Ford and Mazda vehicle brand dealership group in South Africa.