Jurgen Beneke, winner of the first ever mountain bike downhill world cup series back in 1993, will ride for Marin in 2008, the company has announced.
Beneke, 35, retired in 2000 after a career that included second placings in the world cup series in 1994 and 1997 and a NORBA championship title in 1998. He's since been making his living as a plasterer, but this year made a comeback that included second at Sea Otter and a top-20 finish at the Mont St Anne World Cup.
As well as racing US and international events for Marin, Beneke will work with Marin in the development of the company's Quake freeride bikes and Quad Link downhill rig.
It's a return 'home' for Beneke whose 1993 World Cup series was campaigned on a Marin-badged Manitou bike. On his MySpace page Beneke comments that bike, "didn't really work at all but it was super light so I could accelerate faster then most other racers".
Things have certainly changed in how well downhill bikes work, as Beneke discovered when he borrowed a modern machine from Santa Cruz in 2006 to shoot a TV commercial. "It felt like my old Schwinn [Beneke's 1996 sponsor] but better and lighter. After the commercial was done I called Juli [Furtado, racing legend and Santa Cruz up again and told her, 'I have to get a downhill bike'."