Who would have predicted that the biggest downhill racing news of the year would come in the off-season. Sam Hill move from Specialized to Team CRC/Nuke Proof and Aaron Gwin moved from Trek to Specialized to take his place. It’s akin to Lewis Hamilton switching teams in Formula 1 racing. Well of course it’s not in the same salary scale but the we are in the phoenix of downill racing as we have huge athlete brands once again. More than a decade ago, during the rise of downhill racing, we had stars like Shaun Palmer and Missy Giove. We could not wait for their latest results or antics.
Now downhill racing has evolved into a world sport and the new figures have arrived and they have a different demeanor and riding style. Riders like Hill, Minaar, Peat and Gwin hurtle down greasy and rocky mountains around the world as we are left in awe with their art of flight and change of direction. The key is many of us are engaged again in the sport even just a spectator. Mountain biking is a participation sport so it takes a lot for us to sit/stand and watch someone else do it. But we care once again about what these superhuman riders do and that is great for the sport.
Sam Hill seems like a reserved and insightful guy who is low-key off the bike but is absolutely raucous and stunning to watch on the bike. We are lucky to have him and this crew of downhillers competing in 2013. Adored by thousands around the world and renowned for his inimitable riding style, Sam Hill changed the face of gravity riding since his emergence on the race scene.