As part of its ongoing race sponsorship program, Raleigh America Incorporated has announced its sponsorship of the Raleigh Factory Racing Team. The new look Raleigh squad made its debut at the NORBA NMBS # 1 in Fontana, CA last weekend.
Previous title sponsor Biogen-Idec pulled its support for the program at a late hour due to a change in marketing focus, which forced the bicycle manufacturer to find creative ways to continue racing. “It’s hard to take such a financial hit when plans for the season are nearly finalized, but fortunately for us the core group of athletes are extremely loyal to Raleigh, and we are able to keep almost everyone on board,” said Norm Krisher, Raleigh’s marketing coordinator.
Pro riders Eric Jones, Bart Gillespie, Sally Warner, and Susy Abbene will be returning for the 2006 season, while top amateur riders Linde Smith and Roger Gillespie round out the roster. These riders have posted some impressive results in the past two seasons, including Eric Jones’ fourth place finish in the 2004 US National Mountain Bike Championships and MTB stage win at the 2004 Iron Horse Classic. Bart Gillespie has posted numerous top-twenty NORBA finishes and a top-ten result in the 2004 US Elite National Cyclocross Championship. Sally Warner won gold at the 2004 Masters World’s Championships and has posted several top-twenty NORBA finishes. Susy Abbene won the 2005 Utah State Mountain bike championship and posted an 18th place NORBA XC finish as a first year pro.
Team Raleigh riders will participate in 2006 NORBA National Mountain Bike Series and numerous road, mountain and cyclocross events throughout the year.