With so many questions still remaining, 2023 will likely look a lot different than what we’re all used to. Our recent article on racing rumors offered some of what to expect, Including a long-discussed runner-up union, a smaller final stadium at the World Cup, no commentary from Rob Warner on those World Cup Finals, and a significant increase in registration fees for teams at the factory level. There’s no doubt these titles will make for a completely different season next year, but they’re not the only rumors we’ve heard…
Here’s some gossip, from racing news to business dealings. As always, these are good sources Just rumorswith varying degrees of confidence. We’ve reached out to everyone involved for comment and will update this article as we learn more.
Red Bull Hardline Series in 2023
condition: Unconfirmed, but possible
The World Cup will always be great, but have you seen Hardline this year? One of the toughest races ever, this year’s Red Bull Hardline riders face multiple 90-foot jumps, massive rhythmic sections, monster-sized dips, and some of the roughest, steepest tracks set between the track strip. If World Cup downhill racing is the Formula One race of our sport, the Hardline is more like a cross between the King of the Hammers and WRC, or more like Rampage being a makeshift race but there are also a few hundred trees that you really want to avoid.
Just imagine if there was a Hardline next year…
We’ve heard whispers about exactly that, and given that Red Bull is no longer involved in that other world-traveling series, it sure seems like a bit of a logical rumor. With so few World Cup races per season and the annoyingly long gaps between many of them, one could easily argue that there is room for another top-score series. Especially if it’s different enough from the base, which is definitely Hardline. While the World Cup has more restrictions and sees more traffic, Red Bull does not need to play by the same rules. Would Val di Sole be intimidating for the average rider to drop off, let alone a racer? Of course, but the size of the Hardline gaps makes them an entirely different challenge, and there’s no doubt that an entire series filled with them would attract a lot of attention. And what if Rob Warner was the commentator?
Unsurprisingly, Red Bull did not want to comment at this point, but we’ll see what happens in the future.
Pon Investing in OneUp
condition: Unconfirmed, but possible
In 2013, a small Canadian company called OneUp launched its first product, a range-scaling gear for 10-speed drivetrains. That green cog was so important, and since then OneUp has gone on to make a bunch of other products that also make a lot of sense, from the favorite mini pump to highly adjustable dropper shafts, some hidden tools, and a whole host of other things sold straight from the website. their own. Smart products sold at reasonable prices are a strategy that has made the brand stand out as a rider’s favourite. Recently, several sources indicated that the small brand Squamish has taken some investment dollars from not-too-small Pon Holdings to help it keep up with demand.
Who is Heck Boon? The bicycle arm of the Dutch conglomerate is called Pon.Bike It currently owns Santa Cruz, Focus and Cervelo as well as Cannondale, Schwinn and a host of other brands, making it one of the largest bicycle companies in the world.
Sam Richards, owner and founder of OneUp, said when I reached out for comment:OneUp is a small, privately owned Canadian company headquartered in Squamish, British Columbia. We do not discuss our financial details publicly. A lot has changed in the past nine years, but our focus and motivation remain the same. We started as three engineers making the parts we wanted for our bikes. Chris, John and I still run OneUp, I’m still at Squamish, and I’m still making the parts we want for our bikes. But we now have a great team of sixteen additional riders helping us. We are excited to share our latest ingredients with you soon.“
Pon for their part, gets a lot of credit within the industry for not messing around with a good thing when they bought Santa Cruz. If Pon or anyone else has an interest in OneUp, we hope that will simply translate into a larger inventory of smarter, more affordable products.
Polygon World Cup Team DH
Indonesian brand Polygon has been in the World Cup Series for the past eight years as the main sponsor and tire supplier for the Polygon UR team, but that expired last year And there is currently no such thing as a 2022 Polygon downhill bike. What they have, however, is Brand new enduro bike that uses six strap suspension designand Brand new enduro racing team It consists of Matt Stuttard, Brady Stone and Dan Wolfe.
We’ve heard, however, that there may be a downhill bike yet to be seen in the works with a similar suspension design, and that although their EWS team is a factory-backed effort, they could return to the title and frame sponsor at the World Cup. Even the biggest brands sell relatively few downhill bikes, with that being a drop in the group compared to numbers from the cross-country and trail categories that are many times larger, so why bother? Downhill bikes, and those raced at the World Cup level, help sell plenty of other models, including all-new enduro bikes.
J Atherton returns to the World Cup race
He has won several World Cups, overall titles, and is a National Champion and World Champion, but getting back to racing Hardline after a nightmare crash and after more than a year could be impressive. If you haven’t seen it, Gee was filming The Knife Edge in the UK and riding a rocky streak with plenty of exposure when Things went wrong. The result was several broken bones, a punctured lung, and a two-week hospital stay after being airlifted from the mountain. This was the kind of collision that would see the average person exchanging their mountain bike for a set of putters, but Gee is clearly not the average person.
The Briton was riding hard during the Crankworx Whistler when I came across him and he told me he was planning a comeback, which was also confirmed at Nick Bentley interview with him from Hardline: “What next season looks like I’m not sure yet because we have some big filming projects planned as well. But, you know, this weekend shows that I love racing and hardcore especially because it’s a sick event. So yeah, I’m keen on that, I’m keen on getting into some World Cup finals, and yeah, we’ll see.“
Loris Verger does not ride in the 2023 voyage
After four years with the union Loris Verger Signed with Trek Factory Racing in 2021 For the ever-evolving downhill bike ride. He’s had plenty of success since then, from a handful of impressive victories at Maribor (again!) and most recently on the famous Val de Sol World Cup track by more than three seconds, but the Frenchman also had a string of tough injuries to close out of the chapter. Low side looks innocent Resulted from a crash in Mont-Sainte-Anne in the shoulder of Baume And Vergier sits down on Sunday, while Three broken bones from a crash In the French championships it prevented him from improving to fourth place in 2021. Lloris is still able to finish second in the World Cup overall standings, with his victory in the last round in Val di Sole, and will undoubtedly be even more powerful if and when he remains healthy.
Loris aims to secure first place aboard a session until 2024, as the team confirms their contract for us and puts an end to any unfounded rumours.
Less sectarian difference
Commencal has a massive competitive presence, with multiple teams spanning downhill racing and the Enduro World Series that have racked up many victories over the past few seasons. They may take a more focused approach in 2023, with a rumor that their presence will be reduced to just two teams. Currently, there are Muc-Off, 100%, Dorval and Les Orres. An inside source told us to expect it to go 100%, and that’s just speculation, but with Cécile Ravanel’s cross-country history, we can see Commencal Les Orres are still around, albeit supporting their cross-country efforts.
Ravanel works closely with Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and was recently seen riding a prototype of a Commencal cross-country bike with the world champion’s name on it. We’ve reached out for comment, but haven’t heard anything by the time of publication.
Jordan Williams in The Specialty
A few young contestants have spent the 2022 season blowing our minds, including Jackson Goldstone and Jordan Williams. Goldstone is likely to be on the V10 next year and take a nice win at Red Bull Hardline, but it was Williams who won the world championship, Plus an impressive nine-second victory in the finals held in Val di SolItaly, to conclude the year. For some perspective, Williams already set the fastest times of the day in both qualifying and racing…including the Pro men’s times. Yes, there are star signs (different times of day, different circumstances) but nevertheless, it’s not crazy to think that Williams (and Goldstone) could challenge the likes of Bruni and others to win the World Cup in 2023.
A source at the World Cup Series told us that Williams, who is contracted to the Madison Saracen Factory Race team, could ride a Specialized car in 2023 in the Gen-S development program instead of Bruni’s side on the factory team. We’ve reached out, and will let you know as soon as we hear more.