They showed off their new Top Fuel race bike this week, along with their 2010 team kit, ahead of their first outing at this weekend’s Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California.
Team director Martin Whiteley said: “So much work has gone in over the off-season with the bikes, the upgrading of our team vehicles, and a bunch of other cool stuff, that it’s almost a feeling of relief to get on the road and start the season.
“All of the riders have very specific goals we’ll be helping them to achieve and with the arrival of Emily and Neko, we have a very full programme ahead of us. The new bikes look amazing, and together with the new kits and the testing we’ve been doing with Fox Racing Shox, as well some other surprises we have for the fans, it should be an amazing season.”
The squad are aiming to knock the Santa Cruz Syndicate off the top spot in the World Cup teams classification, after coming eighth in their debut season. Rising US star Mulally joins Tracy Moseley (GBr), Justin Leov (NZl) and Andrew Neethling (RSA) aboard the race-proven Session 88 bike.
Former World Cup champion Moseley said: “It’s been a pretty harsh winter in the UK but I’ve been working as hard as ever. I’m looking forward to repeating my win at Sea Otter from last year, as well as doing the dual slalom. The World Cup promises to be the most competitive for a long time in women’s downhill, with a new world champ in Emmeline Ragot, Sabrina [Jonnier] always a tough competitor and the return of Rachel [Atherton] to the mix. Can’t wait!”
Leov, who came eighth overall in last year’s World Cup, said: “I’ve been working hard in the off-season, but I’m all about racing. Getting back with the team at camp and seeing all the new gear just gets me amped for the race season ahead. I’m looking forward to hitting the tracks again and hopefully some more podiums this year.”
Neethling said he was “ripped and raring to go!” despite racing less in the off-season than he’d planned “mainly due to earthquakes and such”, while Mulally said he was looking forward to his first ever World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia.
Fresh from two stage victories at the Absa Cape Epic, Swiss brothers Mathias and Lukas Flueckiger joined their new team-mate Emily Batty for the first time at the team camp in Arizona last week. Both Mathias and Batty have the under-23 world title as a major goal for 2010, while Lukas wants to finish top five overall in the World Cup.
“For me, having two World Cup podiums last year was a great start on this new team,” said Lukas. “But we’ve learned a lot and the engineers have done some great work over winter, and we’re excited by the developments we’ve seen at camp, so I’d really like to get my first World Cup win this year.”
Batty said joining the team was a “dream come true” and she was excited about racing in the new colours this weekend at Monterey, while Mathias said he was looking forward to the Champery World Cup round in Switzerland.
“That’s for two reasons,” he said. “One is because that’s where Luk and I made history as brothers on the podium last year, in front of our family and friends … but also because from Champery onwards, I become a full-time racer having completed my studies and other work.”