[Press Release] – Two-time EWS world champion Richie Rude returns with a freshly-minted three-year deal with the renowned Yeti / FOX Factory Enduro team, leading the squad as he enters his 12th year in Turq.
Rude is joined by Scottish phenom Bex Baraona, who will be returning for her second season aboard the Factory race team, and Polish rider Sławomir Łukasik, who rode away from last season with an impressive 6th place finish overall. With the abundance of podium and top ten results from all three riders, the Yeti / FOX Factory team is poised for success.
Following a strong second place overall series finish last season, Rude is hungrier than ever to compete for top spot in 2023. The veteran started 2022 on a tear with two wins and a second-place finish before a mechanical in Whistler took him off the podium. Rude was on back on track with another win at Burke, but a crash at Sugarloaf had him nursing a shoulder injury for the remaining rounds, where he amazingly was still able to pull off two top ten finishes to secure his second place overall. Amid all the EWS action, the American also picked up a U.S. National Championship victory.
“I’m looking forward to the 2023 EDR season to back 2022 up with another great year with the Yeti / FOX Factory team. After a strong year, it’ll be great to continue the momentum aboard the SB160, plus Sławomir! Back to Tasmania for the first two rounds, with some time at Jared’s house, just like old times!” — Richie Rude
Bex Baraona is back for her second season on the Factory team. Baraona’s hard work and consistency in 2022 resulted in a career best season for the rider, finishing in forth place overall. Throughout the season, Baraona pulled off two second place finishes, one on her home turf at Tweed Valley and the other at Sugarloaf. Both results showcased her ability to keep focused and clam in technical, picky terrain. With her skill and determination, Bex is a force to be reckoned with.
“Well if last year was anything to go by, we are in for a treat in 2023! Looking forward to getting racing underway in Tasmania soon.”— Bex Barona
30-year-old Sławomir Łukasik has spent most his life between the tape and has managed to pull off some impressive results, including sixth in the overall EWS rankings last season, all without the support of a full factory ride. This left Yeti team manager Damion Smith wondering what he could accomplish under the tutelage one of the most legendary programs in racing. With his steely grit and strong riding, Łukasik is sure to turn heads in the upcoming season.
“I’m really happy to join Yeti/ FOX Factory Team! It’s a great opportunity for me to reach the top level of racing and become a better rider in the upcoming years. Looking forward to all the hard work with such an experienced crew and learning from them.”— Slawomir Lukasik
Yeti / Shimano EP Racing heads into the 2023 UCI EDR-E series with veteran racer Mick Hannah, who will pilot the Yeti 160E for his second electrically-charged season. The team welcomes Ryan Gilchrist, who’s promising results as a junior landed him with a pro contract under the turquoise tent. The Shimano EP Race program will enjoy full factory support throughout the season.
“It feels good to be heading into 2023 with an eBike season under my belt. It’s also exciting to have e-bikes brought into the World Cup! I’m looking forward to having everyone together at the races!” — Mick Hannah
“I am incredibly proud to be a part of the Yeti / Shimano EP Racing Team for 2023. The legacies of my teammates and staff are mind-blowing so joining a family with such a strong history of domination is a dream come true and I can’t wait to race bikes all over the world in 2023.” — Ryan Gilchrist
The Yeti / FOX Factory and Shimano EP programs are supported by Lead Mechanic, Shaun Hughes, Factory Team Mechanics Mark Hild and Alex Present, Shimano EP Team Mechanic Matt Opperman, and Race Team Manager, Damion Smith. Jared Graves continues his legacy with Yeti by serving as mentor and Performance Coach, and Amanda Bergeron serves as assistant manager.
“We’re extremely excited about our roster and sponsor partnerships heading into the 2023 season. I’m confident that we have one of the most competitive programs on the circuit, and am looking forward to being back in the UCI World Cup pits” — Damion Smith, Team Manager
Along with the Factory team, Yeti is also proud to continue supporting national and international development teams. This year, Yeti is doubling down on its commitment to groom up-and-comers around the world. Details of these programs will be covered in an upcoming announcement.
FOX Factory continues its longtime commitment as co-title sponsor of the Yeti / FOX Factory Team. In addition to FOX, the team would like to recognize Maxxis, Shimano, DT Swiss, and Giro, each for their decade or more of support.
The full list of Yeti / FOX race team sponsors for 2023 include: FOX Factory, Maxxis, Shimano, DT Swiss, Giro, OneUp Components, CushCore, 7iDP, Toyota, Orange Seal, Motorex, Thule, Smith Optics, Chris King, Garmin, Skratch Labs and Occam Design. Shimano EP athletes are running Pro cockpits and Lazer helmets.
Photos: Dave Trumpore