Athertons fill some big boots, but gains a son in the process. This year sees a marked shift in composition of two major downhill teams; the Athertons/Commencal become incorporated in to GT, whilst Marc Beaumont suddenly has to absorb the full force of Atherton Racing – he becomes part of them, they become part of that, it becomes one…well something along those lines…
From Dirt Issue 120 – Febraury 2012
Words by Steve Jones. Photos by Steve Jones.
In the world of M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions) I don’t know whether this is a reverse takeover or not, but ultimately it means GT now have two of the three strongest British male downhill riders ever, one of our leading forces in women’s downhill (now that Tracy Moseley is taking on lighter duties), and Dan Atherton will, how shall I put this…meanwhile he will be shaping a new future against the enduro clock, in the woods, and with a whole new bunch of tools. Expect to see a fully functioning DA in the clear–fell and darker parts of our conifer woods this season.
The timing is notable. It’s exactly a decade since Steve Peat moved from GT to Orange, coincidentally a time that both Marc Beaumont and Gee Atherton were still in the junior ranks engaged in a battle to work out Sam Hill’s supremacy. It’s a similar time scale since the Athertons featured on these pages for the first time, but now it’s relatively safe to say that Gee has very much taken over Peaty’s mantle as the UK’s strongest downhill racer.
The addition of Beaumont (MB) brings with it a different kind of safety – be it fused, fastened or bonded, this has to be measured against the decision of ‘Atherton’ giving way to something very much more GT than family on the surface. Will it be seen as GT or Athertons? Each brings with it a perceptible difference. With so much momentum behind the Atherton’s I think a lesser rider would struggle in the tide yet Beaumont has sufficient genetic modification to make him immune to all this – some would call it ‘Made in Shropshire’. Shoehorning MB into the team might be the wrong word, for the Athertons have hardly been short of space in the World Cup car park, MB as an inheritance on the other hand gives a more accurate description of the origins of this new team.>>
The team image will be crucial because for a decade it has often been difficult to differentiate between one of three Athertons on the hill, on a good day it’s only the ponytail that gives it away. Whatever, behind the corporate identity are four individuals hell bent on World domination. They might all have the name GT in common, but that’s as far as it goes. The future looks good for GT, hell I can just see Rachel marrying Marc and next year the team will be brought to you by the Atherton Beaumont–Browns.
Dirt visited the new team at their north Wales HQ at the end of last year>>