Haro President and CEO, Jim Ford, made this statement regarding the departure of the 2003 Downhill World Champion and NORBA downhill champion, "Greg is both a great person and a great athlete, but we choose not to match an offer presented to Greg to ride for Honda in 2004."
"Although the financial terms of the offer were significant, money wasn't the real issue. Greg and I talked and after hearing his desire to work with Honda on this project, I felt that it was best for both of us to end the relationship on a positive note."
Greg, who raced only one season for the Haro Lee Dungarees Mountain Bike Team, after moving from the Arai Global team in 02, was quick to praise the team that assisted him to his World Championship title, "Obviously this was a difficult decision for me after having had such a great year with the Haro team and all they have done for me. I have been very fortunate in my career already, and I am very much indebted to all at Haro for their support and genuine loyalty this year".
Currently, Haro has no plans to replace Minnaar and will instead rely on Australian team-mate Mick Hannah to pick up where Greg left off in downhill and 4X competition.
The Haro Team enjoyed its best season ever in 2003 thanks to Minnaar's accomplishments and another NORBA title in Short-Track won by Canadian Seamus McGrath.
Greg will be moving to Japanese based Honda, a new team and new bike to the World circuit. Honda certainly isn't short of funds, and it's good to see some big companies getting involved in downhilling once again, especially with such an innovative product as the RN01.
We expect to see a lot more rider/team movements in the upcoming weeks, so keep checking back.