It's not as if GT Factory Racing has a shallow pool of talent mucking about on their race team. Marc Beaumont? All three Athertons? GT already has an impressive collection of riders flying their team colors. Apparently, however, the company is taking the long view of things, something made abundantly clear by their announcement today that they'd signed two of the fastest, young gravity riders in Europe.
Taylor Vernon of South Wales will join the world's fastest downhill race team to train alongside Gee Atherton, Rachel Atherton, and Marc Beaumont, while Martin Maes from Belgium will join Dan Atherton on the enduro team.
"Taylor was first brought to our attention last year and we've seen him post some solid results in the under 16 sections this past season," said Dan Brown, Team Director. "The team is on a roll right now with Rachel's World Cup win, fastest team overall title and Gee taking podiums in every race. It feels like the right time for us to start to bring on some new young riders and we think that Taylor has the potential to become a major force on the World Cup scene."16-year-old Vernon will be racing on a GT Fury as he works to dominate the Junior World Cups and World Championships.
"Words can't describe how stoked I am to be joining Dan, Gee, Rachel, and Marc on GT Factory Racing," said Vernon. "I'm so excited about racing at the International and World Cup level and know that I could not ask for a better or more experienced team of people to teach me all there is to know."
On the enduro side, 15-year-old Martin Maes turned heads when he took 5th place overall at the Superenduro of Nations at Sauze d'Oulz. He will be riding a GT Force and focusing on the Enduro World Series.
"Nobody could quite believe it," said Dan Atherton. "There isn't a junior category in superenduro so this 15-year-old boy is just wasting some of the toughest and most experienced adult riders on the circuit.
We are really excited about the Enduro World Series in 2013 and I'm stoked to have a new teammate with this much potential."
"This opportunity feels like a dream come true," said Maes. "I have the greatest admiration for Rachel, Dan, Gee and Marc and will be so happy to ride with them."
Taylor Vernon // 2012 results – U16
British Downhill Series Round 1-Combe Sydenham 3rd place
British Downhill Series Round 2-Fort William 6th place
British Downhill Series round 3-Glencoe 2nd place
British Downhill Series Round 4-Caersws 1st place
British Downhill Series Round 5- Bringewood 1st place
British Downhill Series Round 6-Llangollen 1st place
British Downhill Series Overall 1st Place
Extreme DH Summer Series-Llangollen 1st place
IXS Downhill Round 2- Innerleithen 1st place
IXS Downhill Round 6-Chatel 4th Place
Welsh Champs-Moelfre 2nd place
National Champion-Moelfre 1st place
Martin Maes // 2012 Results
Enduro "hautes vosges" – La Bresse 6th
Mountain of Hell, Les Deux Alpes 13th
Enduro of Nations, Saulx d'Oulx 5th
Enduro of Nations, Valloire 4th
Roc Enduro (Roc d'Azur) 3rd
4X European Race (15/17 years), Winterberg 1st