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European junior downhill champ Kerr signs with 23 Degrees

Bernard Kerr (Great Britain)

Bernard Kerr (Great Britain) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

The European junior downhill champion Bernard Kerr signed a multi-year deal with 23 Degrees Sports Management, a Spanish company managing athletes. The 18-year-old, who is also the junior British National Champion, is moving into the elite ranks for the first time in 2010.

Riding for the Norco World Team, Kerr had an impressive 2009 season. In addition to his European and British titles, he excelled at racing technical tracks in the World Cup. He was the fastest junior at the Schladming round and scored the best junior result of 2009 World Cup racing with an 11th in qualifying at Maribor.

Unfortunately a crash in the final then prevented Kerr from capitalizing on the qualifier, but he gained a lot of attention with that ride. Despite this crash and other mechanical issues at other rounds, he finished second overall in the Junior World Cup series.

The young rider from Surrey also races four cross. He's a two-time junior national four cross champion, and he backed those titles up with his first ever World Cup semi-final in Mont-Sainte-Anne earlier this year.

Kerr was fifth in the junior downhill at the World Championships in Australia in September.

"Next year I plan to ride again for the Norco World Team," said Kerr. "Fionn (Griffiths) thankfully picked me up this year and got me on track. I was having all sorts of issues with equipment, and moving into a proper team made all the difference. I'm excited to join up with 23 Degrees because I know that I am still learning and there's a bunch that I can learn from being managed by Martin and his company. I'm really excited about next year!"

"I was very impressed by Bernard's character and skill, and after watching him on the World Cup circuit this year I knew he would be someone that would fit in well with our group of clients," said Martin Whitely, founder of 23 Degrees Sport Management. "His ride for next year is sorted, thanks to Fionn, who's an ex-client of ours, and we have been very proud to see her build that team. I'll be mainly focusing on developing Bernard's co-sponsor portfolio, developing his international media and fan base, and giving advice where I can on improving his results so that he's knocking on that top ten door even more in the future."

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.