Nothing ever lasts forever, so they say, but this one lasted a long, long time. However the time has come for Animal and the Athertons to go in new directions.
Just had word from Steve Kitchen, Animal Sponsorship manager, and the original Team Animal main man. After almost 10 years the Athertons are to part company with Animal. Here’s the story from Steve:
The story started back in 2002, the Athertons were juniors on Muddy Fox bikes and had big potential.
They were talented, raw, unpredictable and we loved them. From these early days we have seen Dan, Gee and Rachel develop with huge steps to be one of the sports most successful teams of all time. One thing hasn’t changed though, they ride their bikes with a single minded determination, skill and commitment that will keep them at the top sport for many years to come.
The Animal design team have proudly designed the team riding kit, trucks and look and have entered each season with a fresh and distinctive feel to the team. These photos celebrate the last 9 years of Animal and the Athertons and bring back some fantastic memories.
Animal have been racing downhill bikes since 1994, the start of the original Animal team. A team that went on to include some of the best riders the sport has seen. Steve Geall, Tim Ponting, Greg Minnaar, Martyn Ashton and many more fantastic riders who all have played a part in helping to build the sport. The Athertons will confirm their apparel plans early in 2012. For Animal, we will take a break from team support. It’s hard to replace these guys. Instead we will focus on supporting individual youth riders, after all, that’s how it all started with the Athertons...
Thank you, Dan, Gee, Rachel, Simon A, TM Dan Brown and the rest of the team.
Steve Kitchin Animal
Some words from the team...
I remember my first big race was The Cheddar Challenge back in 99, and the one thing I remember from the event was saying to dad that I really would love to ride for The Animal PlayStation team, three years on and we found ourselves signing up for our first year with Animal...in the 9 years we have ridden for Animal it has never once felt like a sponsorship deal, it has always felt like a Partnership. Steve Kitchin has always made us feel like part of the family and Animal have constantly been a fresh and extremely supportive company to be involved with, thank you.
My time with Animal has been one I will always look back on with good memories, I remember going to Animal HQ when I was just about to go away on my first photo shoot, and being so stoked that I could pick out all these cool clothes. The guys there have been a lot of fun to work with and helped us roll up to the World Cup circuit in the coolest looking kit each year, with the bike and race truck looking just as smart. The support has been 100% for all these years and I wish them all the luck in the world with their future plans, Cheers guys...here's to a good 9 years.
"What can I say about our 9 years with Animal...I remember being 15, being in Canada, taking a helicopter up to take photos on my bike and then one of the photos appearing on a notebook in WH Smith! That sums them up, unconditional support and belief. I tried to pay them back for that with as much World Cup success as I could. Animal have taken us from 3 kids, to one of the most polished professional looking teams out there, and for that we are immensely grateful...Thanks Guys, going to miss you :-)