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Mike Jones Joins CRC/Nukeproof for 2014 Season

Talented young Welsh rider Mike Jones moves in at CRC/Nukeproof towers alongside Sam Hill and Joe Smith for the 2014 season as Matt Simmonds moves on. The team shuffling season also continues in the pits as mechanic Jacy Shumilak moves back alongside Hill.

Mike Jones (photo by Steve Jones).

After the news of Matt Simmonds moving from CRC/Nukeproof to Madison Saracen, it should come as no surprise to hear of the former’s signing of fresh talent. Just as Simmonds comes off the back of his best World Cup season to date, Mike Jones enters into the elite arena having put in some stellar results in 2013 including a top three at the Junior World Championships in South Africa and a string of top Junior World Cup finishes including wins in Andorra and Norway.

Joining CRC is a dream come true for me. Ever since I started racing it always looked like the team to be on… For 2014 I am looking to break into the top 20 in the World Cups and try and get on the podium at the National rounds. I’d like to say thanks to Nigel for giving me the opportunity for next season.

Although team manager Nigel Page will no doubt be gutted at the loss of Simmonds – Page’s influence no doubt playing its part in his success and his devotion to his riders ever-apparent – the team is clearly full of enthusiasm at the signing of Jones.

Page had this to say of the new signing:

Mike is a really talented rider and already one of the fastest young talents in our great sport. As well as having the speed and skills to step up to a world-class team he also has some good banter and I am sure he will fit in great with us! We have high hopes for Mike’s career ahead of him and we are looking forward to helping him grow and achieve his goals for the future.

Jones ripping up a Welsh hillside (photo by Steve Jones)

On Simmonds’ move to Saracen, the team had this to say:

We’re sorry to see Matt Simmonds leave us after six great years of working together. Matt had his best season to-date with the team last year, culminating with a fifth place at the World Championships in South Africa. We wish Matt all the best with his new team and for the future.

Joe Smith remains on CRC/Nukeproof as does Sam Hill and it will be good to once again see the two riders working alongside each other to better themselves and their results. Both work well with team manager Nigel Page and all enjoy “good banter” as Page put it!

I had so much fun with the team last year and am absolutely loving my Nukeproof Pulse. I think that 2014 is going to be a good season for myself and the team.

– Sam Hill 

After a solid winter of training with my new coach from Point 1 Athletic and plenty of time on my Nukeproof Pulse I’m looking to pull some really good results out of the bag and can’t wait to get stuck in at the races.

– Joe Smith

But that’s not all folks…

Another signing for the CRC/Nukeproof team comes in the form of a fresh face in the pits. Jacy Shumilak has worked with Sam Hill for the majority of his career (almost all of it bar 2013 as far as we know) as his personal mechanic, and for 2014 the American will move from the Specialized team where he spent 2013 working with Aaron Gwin and Troy Brosnan back to familiar territory, working once again with “long term friend” (CRC), Hill. The experienced mechanic will no doubt also help with the continued improvement of Smith and Jones.

I’m really excited about becoming a part of the CRC/Nukeproof program. It’s a great opportunity to work with new people, new products and be a part of a team that is advancing every year… I’m even more excited about being reunited with Sam and looking forward to our first race back together. I’d really like to thank Nigel and everyone at CRC/Nukeproof for giving me the opportunity to work with them in 2014.

– Jacy Shumilak

Anyone who follows the World Cup circuit closely will know full well that behind every great rider is an even better mechanic, some almost becoming stars in their own right. The best mechanics do far more than fix bikes with the highest level of attention to detail: they also truly understand the courses and how a different set up can work for one rider but not another, equally how different days demand different approaches and above all they know how to motivate their athletes and work alongside them. Look at Stevie Smith and the great relationship he has with mechanic Nigel Reeve or Greg Minnaar and his mechanic Jason Marsh. Shumilak was with Hill for all of his most emphatic victories and we at Dirt can’t help but speculate as to the positive effect that his move may have on Hill’s 2014 season, especially after the Aussie’s strong display of determination in 2013.

Final note: Of course this begs the question as to who will be spannering in the Specialized pits for 2014? Anyone know? Where is Team Rumours when you need it?

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