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Team Race Bikes is a relatively new racing management company based out of Mondragon, France. The goal of companies like these is to provide racers with financial and technical stability while they race, at a small cost. With a background in business, team managers deal with speedway and racetrack operations, venue logistics, team management, sponsorship, product promotions, managing race team personnel, media and event management, public relations, and revenue enhancements and branding.
Within one year, Team Race Bikes has become a force to be reckoned with in the French Top-Twin and Superbike racing categories thanks to Ann Gire and Jean-Luc Defour, the owner and team manager, respectively, have poured their hearts and souls into this team. Ann Gire studied Global Communications at the American University of Paris, where she learned market development, worldwide distribution and export sales growth.Meanwhile, Jean-Luc Defour developed extensive experience in financial management and mechanical operations after years of work in the field. Team Race Bikes brings this racing experience to their racers by offering “a job done well, at a fair price.”
Despite their youthfulness, Team Race Bikes has assembled a fine team to support their drivers. They have Peter Clark, the Ducati engineer from New Zealand, and Eric Delcamp of Delcamp Energies, who keep shock absorbers up and running, to name a few. It is absolutely necessary to have a strong camp in order to be successful. Without a constantly functioning bike, drivers cannot hope to be a force to be reckoned with in such a tight competition. On the track, bikes often break down, whether due to tire wear or weather disruptions, and a good team mechanic must be prepared. These road side aides must race against the clock to get the driver going without losing too much time. If the driver cannot get back on the track, he must forfeit.
Team Race Bikes currently has three regulars on the track: Alain Rimbaud (#), Lionel Ancelin (#30), and Stephan Cancela (#). At 29 years old, Rimbaud is their youngest driver, and began competing merely 3 years ago. Regardless, in 2009 his talent put him on the map, when he finished 10th overall in the O3Z race. This season, at the first race in Le Mans, France, he went from 34th to 19th to 12th place within one weekend, an incredible improvement. His improvement is greatly anticipated this season.
Since his debut in 2002, Lionel Ancelin, 35, has grown exponentially. In 2009 he won The Golden Bowl in the Open category and achieved excellent results in the Top Twin Challenge in 2010. This year, after a devastating mechanical and financial failure last year, he has returned to competition under the Team Race Bikes banner, placing podium at every race he has completed. On the Nogaro race track in May, Ancelin won his second Cup victory in France. Ancelin takes great pride in his motorcycle, which he depends wholly on for his continued success.
“I am very satisfied with the second victory and the great performance of my Ducati 1198S. The bike has excellent handling, grip, and traction. It is an incisive, aggressive, and elitist motorcycle which demands a lot to drive it. It is a real racing machine and fabulous to ride. I am currently second in the championship and will continue to give my utmost to win the title.”
The final racer, Stephane Cancela, 43, considers the bike a passion, a lifestyle, and a childhood dream come true. Since his competitive debut in 1999, Stephane has participated in the Ducati Club de France, internships with the BMC, and Pro-Twin and Top-Twin competitions. Cancela consistently holds his own in the competition, and recently reaced 8th place on his Ducati 1098R.
Team Race Bikes took the smart but risky move of entering directly into the highest level of French motorcycle racing championships. Hence, should they succeed, they only stand to move further within the realm of championship, gaining higher status nationally and eventually moving into the international arena.
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Image Courtesy: Team Race Bikes