Budget Forklifts boss sees only reward in Bobridge and team pursuit

Jack Bobridge's move to UCI Continental outfit Budget Forklifts has resulted in more attention than is usual for the West Australian company and owner, Tim Leunig couldn't be happier.

As Bobridge led the Tour Down Under, the story of his journey from Belkin back to Australia and Budget Forklifts reached a greater awareness within world cycling. With that came the odd remark across social media about feeling the need to go and buy a forklift. But Leunig's commitment to the team and its continued growth is no laughing matter. What started as a local development team back in Perth in 2006, quickly moved to the Continental ranks two years later and now is the home of Australia's team pursuit squad as they build towards the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

"It lifted the profile of the team to have a rider of his caliber on it," Leunig admits.

Arriving in the centre of the velodrome before his attempt at the hour record, it was Leunig that Bobridge found and embraced. Regardless of the end result, you would be hard pushed to find a happier man.

"It's a different direction for us I guess, from the development of junior cycling to then form this strategic alliance with Cycling Australia and look two years ahead," Leunig explains. "If we support these guys they can not only ride with our road team but also have their time on the track and get up to speed for the Rio Olympics.

"It's certainly got a marketing side to it. It gets our name out to a corporate level that we're supporting a growing sport... We're pumping that up and promoting it because of all the benefits of it."

Over the last few seasons, Budget Forklifts has become a dominant force within the Australian National Road Series. While certainly not the best-funded, the team would have a budget that places them within the top three. And yet, at the end of the season has come the news that there is some uncertainty about Leunig's commitment to the team. Leunig assures Cyclingnews that it's only a ploy to keep the likes of team manager Cameron Watt on his toes.

"We're a loyal company, loyal to our customers and loyal to our suppliers and it's the same thing when we enter into a project like this," he grins. "We're looking at it for the long term but also a commercial basis."

If he were to analyse return on investment, just a month into the 2015 season, Leunig would probably find that he was on the way to a coming out in front.

"It's been good for the younger guys, it's attracted the other track guys to join with us and Jack's the consummate professional," Leunig says. "He's done some hard work to bring himself back up to this world class level.

"Our KPIs are basically success in not only results but also in the people," he concludes. "We look after our staff and try and develop them to their full potential, it's the same for the cycling team."

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