Four time UCI World Champion (and winner of almost every kind of bike race you can think of) Brian Lopes has partnered with Ibis Cycles to launch a U.S. domestic enduro racing team. Other sponsors will include DVO Suspension, G-Form Protection, WTB Tires and Saddles, ODI Grips, Wolf Tooth Components, Fox Racing, and Dynaplug.
From 2008-2013 Lopes was an Ibis sponsored athlete. Now he returns in a new role as a team manager. The new squad is focused on contesting the California Enduro Series, as well as some of the Enduro World Series Continental events. The roster includes Evan Geankoplis, 26, winner of the 2016 CES and 2017 runner-up; Essence Barton, 25, 2nd Overall in the CES in 2016 and 2017; former U18 CES champion Paul Serra, 18; and Lili Heim, 17.
“[Ibis President] Tom Morgan] and I were talking, and he said that he was interested in starting a domestic racing team to compliment their EWS team,” explained Lopes. “But he didn’t have the bandwidth the manage both teams and Ibis. I’ve been working with athletes as a coach for a few years now and thought that it would be a way to share my experience with some younger riders and reconnect with Ibis.”
“We didn’t stop being friends when he stopped riding for Ibis,” added Morgan. “We’ve always stayed in touch and when the opportunity to work together again came up it just made so much sense. Working with our EWS team over the past few years has made it clear that we needed some way to search for and develop younger riders, and I don’t think there’s anyone who could better prepare young rider for the rigors of racing at the highest level than Brian.”
Asked about riding for Ibis under the guidance of Lopes, Geankoplis said: “I’ve worked at an Ibis dealer for over 5 years, and since the beginning of working with and riding Ibis has been a dream of mine. And I couldn’t imagine having a better team manger than Brian Lopes. The guy has as much or more experience than anyone in the sport and is always there for us.”
The team has already made its presence felt with Geankoplis winning the DVO Winter Gravity Series Enduro at Bootleg Canyon, Barton taking 2nd in the Women’s Pro Enduro at the Sea Otter Classic, and Heim winning the U18 Sea Otter enduro race. Look for them to continue slaying the field starting with CES #1 at Toro Park on May 26th.
To learn more about the bikes the team will be riding, head over to www.ibiscycles.com.