Well, possibly the worst kept secret in 2019’s #teamrumours is announced. Aaron Gwin will be racing for Intense Factory Racing, along with Jack Moir and Neko Mulally. With Gwin becoming team owner and a new manager in Gwin’s long-time trainer Todd Schumlick, the team will definitely be one to watch in 2019.
There’s hints that Jeff Steber might be developing further prototype bikes for the team, and local mechanic Daniel Paine will be following Moir around at the pits as his mechanic.
Bike and component wise, from the photos that come from the press release it looks like the M29 carbon bike, developed with help from legendary carbon wizard Cesar Rojo will continue to be raced, but with a few changes coming in, Fox suspension, TRP brakes and shifting, E.13 Wheels, ODI grips among some changes to the components from last year, following Gwin and Mulally after their move away from YT MOB.
Full details in the press release below…
January 23rd, 2019
INTENSE ANNOUNCES 2019 FACTORY RACE TEAM
INTENSE proudly announces the 2019 Intense Factory Racing (IFR) Program. The new roster includes returning IFR team member, Jack Moir (AUS), American National Champion, Neko Mulally (USA) and multi-time World Cup medalist, Aaron Gwin (USA).
“As a brand, we’ve spent the last year doing a lot of soul-searching. It became clear that what made INTENSE great in the beginning was our commitment to racing. Our biggest benefit was derived from having top riders competing in the most challenging conditions as a part of our R&D process” says INTENSE founder and CEO, Jeff Steber. “We made a promise to ourselves and to our company, that we would reclaim our spot at the top of the World Cup circuit. As soon as we did that, choosing the roster was easy.”
It’s not always as simple as choosing a roster, though. With so many teams and only a handful of riders capable of bringing home top results on any given weekend, it’s a seller’s market on the World Cup these days, and top riders have their pick of solid programs to choose from.
For Aaron Gwin, though it wasn’t a hard decision. “I’m stoked to begin this new chapter of my career with Intense Bicycles and my fellow teammates Jack and Neko. I’ve been buddies with the owner Jeff for a while and having the opportunity to work together now is super cool. We share a lot of similar passions and our love for racing and riding-developing fast bikes has been a big part of both of our lives. As a rider and team owner, I’m excited to run such a legendary race program. We’ve put together an awesome group of people and I’m looking forward to the years ahead.”
Neko Mulally was another top pick for INTENSE. Gwin and Mulally were teammates in past years and bring a solid working relationship to the team. “As an American racer, I’m excited to race for an American brand with such a strong heritage in downhill racing,” commented Mulally.
Jack Moir is an IFR veteran, and 2019 will be his fourth year with the program. At 24, Jack is the team’s youngest rider, and rose to stardom under the IFR flag when he played a pivotal role in developing the M29. In 2017, Jack spent the entire season on a different prototype at nearly every race.
“Prototyping in public isn’t for everyone” says Steber. “Anything can happen with prototype bikes. Jack’s ability to ride the bike for its strengths and really embrace the development process during the World Cup Series showed his true professionalism.”
The team will be managed by long-time trainer of Aaron Gwin, Todd Schumlick and Cathy Zinck. The duo has a long history of working with athletes and running successful race programs at both the privateer and factory racing levels. The IFR Technical Team will include John Hall for Aaron Gwin, Daniel Paine for Jack Moir and Sam Yates for Neko Mulally. Brock Van Heel has been hired as the team videographer.
“As Aaron’s trainer the past 6 years, we’ve had a chance to develop a strong relationship,” stated Schumlick. “We agree that for a race team and its riders to perform at their best, there needs to be confidence in everyone involved. For this reason, I was thrilled to come on board as Team Manager and take on this new challenge. I’m very excited to start the season. I believe the INTENSE M29 is an exceptional bike and I am eager to get the ball rolling for the 2019 season and help our team reach new levels and milestones for the INTENSE brand.”
Words & Photos: Intense Factory Racing