, during the 2013 Queenstown Bike Festival, New Zealand.
, during the 2013 Queenstown Bike Festival, New Zealand.

On the eve of the first World Cup of the season, and as the Dirt Norco team enters its fourth year there are changes afoot. In come some new sponsors and new riders. Ben Reid and Dan Stanbridge have been there from the start, loyally representing all the brands and flying the flag for Dirt. This year they have added some youth and some spice. The last time we had a women rider on the Dirt team she became World Champion…no pressure then Casey! The boys take up the story.

From Dirt Issue 136 - June 2013

Words by Mike Rose. Photos by Sven Martin, Andy Lloyd and Gee Milner.

Ben Reid: It was after the dust of the 2009 season had settled when myself and Dan Stanbridge (Stanny) joined forces and started brainstorming and making plans to run the race team for Dirt Magazine. I idolized all things Dirt for years and saw this as a huge opportunity and a great project that I could really get my teeth into. I knew Stanny for a long time growing up as a junior and being able to work with him on this project was also a bonus. Prior to this I had been running my own program with the Just Reid Team and with the skills I had leant I felt this was the next step and the right direction for me.

Dan Stanbridge: Around this time in 2010 I vividly remember being at Ben's house in Ireland. I had been over there a couple of times that winter, working hard on team plans because we had just joined forces to race for, and to begin organising a new race team for Dirt Magazine.

Norco had agreed to support the team which was a great start, because the backing of a strong company of Norco's size was really important. We had about 80% of co–sponsors in place but were finishing confirming a few last minute additions to the team and working hard to get up to speed on all the new kit.

Dirt Norco race team 2013-5
Dirt Norco race team 2013-5
From the start Norco offered a chance to work with them on a completely new bike with the only goal in their mind to make the best DH bike out there with no limitations, and this was an offer we couldn't overlook.

Dan: The first of our bikes had arrived, I had a few miles under my belt on the new rig and I remember feeling a mix of excitement, getting ready to race on this new team and apprehension, trying to dot all the 'I's and cross all the 'T's in time for the first race. That day Ben was working his magic with a pair of scissors and some coloured vinyl to make sure all the graphics, from the pit banners to the stickers on the bikes, looked smart and we were too preoccupied with lists of spares for the next weekend to think about what we would be doing in three years time.

Ben: Three years later and I’m stoked that we are still running as the Dirt Norco Race Team and I’m equally as stoked that every year we get hammered for feedback on their product as the guys at Norco keep coming up with new ideas to test. Myself and Stanny race bikes because we love it and one thing we both agreed on from the start was that there wouldn't be any compromise on product whatsoever, we have both been there and had to ride seasons with product that isn't quite there…it makes for a long season of knowing your bike could be better than it is, and for me having to just make–do in this area sucks the fun right out of riding. I’m very happy with who we get to work with and believe in the product we are using 100%, otherwise these parts wouldn't be on the bikes. I’m glad we have stuck by this and are now able to present our new team mates with great equipment as well to give them the best chance in their season ahead.

Dan: I love riding and racing bikes and equally enjoy seeing other people with a similar motivation for racing have their hard work pay off at events, so Ben and I have tried to grow the team a bit each year. The addition of Duncan Riffle from the big US of A to the team last year was a big step for us. We had some great racing with Dunc. He introduced me to cold porridge for lunch...and played a great role flying the Dirt Norco Flag across the pond. However Duncan has moved on for 2013 changing his focus more towards Enduro events and building his plans for the coming year around that. So we would like to say thanks to Duncan for representing the team in 2012 and wish him well this year, but also with much excitement welcome Casey Brown, George Gannicott and Greg Callaghan to the team. >>

Click through to keep reading...

[part title="Dirt Norco Race Team 2013 | Evolution - Page 2..."]

Dirt Norco race team 2013-7
Dirt Norco race team 2013-7
Casey Brown, from BC Canada, is a very impressive young rider and is one of a hand full of girls I’ve seen that can ride a DH bike with real authority. Casey had a great first season of racing World Cup downhill last year and a podium finish at the World Cup finals in Norway showed her potential for big things, it was in fact Rachel Atherton who suggested Casey as an addition to the team and after some talks with Stanny, Dirt and all the sponsors we were able to get Casey on board.

Dan: It has always been a goal of ours to get to a position where the team could offer support to some young new talent progressing to an international level and few people qualify better in that category than Junior racer George Gannicott, already with prestigious UK National wins to his name.

Ben: Greg Callaghan trained for a full World Cup downhill season last year and after competing in some enduro events early in 2012 decided to change his plans and went on to have some great results in enduro that year instead. After a solid winter training for his goals in enduro for 2013 we are all really keen to see Greg have the season he deserves.

Dan: For me this last year has been new territory in some ways because I have been putting on a shirt and tie in the daytime to work at a new job as well as racing. I have always had other things going on in life as well as racing, from Uni when I was younger to testing and development projects and helping organise the team in recent years, so the time spent not on a bike isn't new. Working in a professional engineering job that has absolutely nothing to do with bikes however is new! Now well into my stride with the whole shirt/tie/office job kinda thing, I am pleased to discover rather than squeezing out riding as result, the separation between work and racing bikes for fun means I look forward to riding, racing and working with the Dirt Norco team that much more.

, during the 2013 Queenstown Bike Festival, New Zealand.
, during the 2013 Queenstown Bike Festival, New Zealand.
It’s a huge plus for myself and Stanny having a team of likeminded riders alongside us this year who are all capable of playing a part in the team’s results tally as well as being able to showcase these guys through different media features that we have in store. Gee Milner (from Gee Milner Media and on page 64 of this mag) will be working closely with us to release some outstanding video edits from riding locations all round the place as well team race edits, so I hope you can keep an eye on the Dirt website to follow the team’s progress this season.

Dan: I have really never been more excited to go racing. With Ben and I joined by three great new racers this year, who all share the same enthusiasm to go ride, I am looking forward to some good times to come.