Interview with Trek Factory Racing Team Manager Jon Rourke
years Trek Factory Racing, in itís various permutations, has established a
significant presence in the domestic mountain bike race scene. After decades of
dedication to cross country racing the list of current and former Trek team
members is a whoís-who of Americaís best riders. Names like Sue Haywood, Travis
Brown, Heather Irmiger, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Willow Koerber, Jeremiah
Bishop, and more recently Sam Schultz have all called Trek home at some point
in their career.
announcement that Sam Schultz would be leaving to ride with Sho-Air/Cannondale
in 2014 left us wondering what Trek Factory Racing has planned for the upcoming
Factory Racing team manager Jon Rourke was nice enough to bring us up to speed
on the teamís plans for the season ahead including a continued push in the
World Cup arena and increased focus on enduro.
full interview below:
MTB Race News - Can you tell us about the decision to
part ways with Sam Schultz? It sounds like it was an amicable split.
Jon Rourke - There is not much to discuss.
Racing is a business, sometimes different options and opportunities need to be
explored. We wish Sam a successful recovery from his back surgery and
return to competitive cycling.
MTB Race News - With Schultz injured
for most of 2013 Trek's domestic cross country presence was limited essentially
to Russell Finsterwald, will that continue into next season? Can you give us a
full roster for Trek's 2014 domestic MTB team?
Jon Rourke - A release detailing our 2014 squad will
MTB Race News - What does Trek have planned for it's
domestic mountain bike team in 2014? Does that plan continue to include Heather
Irmiger and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski racing enduro?
Jon Rourke - For a brand like Trek, with race
interests globally, we raced multiple domestic circuits with our athletes, from
North America to Europe/UK and Australia. And we will continue to do so
in 2014. Trek Factory Racing is not just focused [on] one domestic
series. Moving in to 2014, we also restructured the Trek MTB race
programs to include a separate Trek Factory Enduro squad that includes JHK,
Heather, Ross Schnell on the North American front, as well as an international
element spear-headed by EWS Champion Tracy Mosley.
MTB Race News - Trek has traditionally fielded one of the
larger domestic race teams in the US, with a laundry list of America's top
riders as former and current team members, are the plans to return the team to
it's former status or shift focus to European and World Cup racing?
Jon Rourke - For 2013, the focus with Trek Factory
Racing was definitely World Cups and international racing. The program
reflected that format, with a global stable of riders, as we moved away from a
North American only roster and focus.
MTB Race News - If USA Cycling and its Pro XCT series
started seeing a surge in participation and excitement would that impact Trek's
decision to allocate more funds toward a domestic cross country team?
Jon Rourke - Cycling is a globalized sport. As
mentioned, Trek Factory Racing is not just focused on one nationís series of
races. Simultaneously as a brand, Trek also supports a number of domestic
focused teams and athletes in each region or market. So we already
allocate funds in that capacity. In an ideal world, these regionalized
programs would become the feeder to the factory team.
MTB Race News - What are Trek's goals for the race team
Jon Rourke - Hopefully repeat 2013: victories and
podiums at World Cups, a few National Championships, domestic victories
globally as well as continue to be one of the top XC programs on the
planet. All while having fun doing it.
MTB Race News - What does the perfect season look like
for the 2014 Trek team?
Jon Rourke - Only thing missing was a womenís elite
World Cup victory and podium at World Championships. We are really excited
about the riders and the momentum going into 2014.
MTB Race News - What bikes will the team be racing in
Jon Rourke - Superfly SL hardtail and Superfly SL full
suspension. Both will be equipped with Shimano, FOX and Bontrager components.
Check back with
MTB Race News for the upcoming release of Trek Factory Racingís 2014 squad
along with the most in-depth reporting on American mountain bike racing.