With all production of top end Raleigh bikes finishing last year, one of Britains most succesful teams has had to lose the heron headbadge, and pull on jerseys for sister brand Diamond Back Racing.
This means current National Champion Nick Craig – who’s been racing solo for Diamond Back for years – now has a whole team round him for company. These include the ‘Peter Pan of XC racing’, Raleigh stalwart Barrie Clarke who competes for the last time in Raleigh colours in the National cyclo cross championships this Sunday.
Also on board are National under 23 silver medallist and previous junior champion Elliot Baxter, and downhiller Matt Farmer, making a compact but extremely competitive foursome for the 2001 season.
The dumping of top end bike manufacture and race interests is a direct reflection of Raleigh’s problems away from the race track, with a major cull going on amongst the management of the parent Derby corporation to try and control mounting debts. As well as closing their flagship top end and custom frame production workshop, the last few months have also seen them flog Sturmey Archer gears, Brooks saddles and even the very land the Raleigh factory sits on!
Whether their ‘new’ (the excecutive chairman of Derby group, Alan Finden-Crofts, actually presided over Raleigh’s previous “glory years”) management will be able to pull Raleigh out of their nose dive fast enough remains to be seen, but at least the team can breathe a bit easier for a while.