MOUNTAIN BIKE HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES 2021 INDUCTEES
Meet your new 2021 Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Inductees!
PRESS RELEASE (EDITED)
An international cast of six luminaries, each of whom left an indelible mark upon our sport in the arenas of competition, technology, and journalism. Our 2021 inductees are Rachel Atherton, Darren Berrecloth, Radek Burkat, Dave Cullinan, Dave Kelly & Rob McSkimming.
Meet the Hall of Fame’s Newest Members
Rachel started riding bikes when she was a very young child, following her older brothers Dan and Gee to the dirt jumps in their village with her pet rabbit in a basket – until Gee told her that he saw a snake!
She started racing BMX at 8 and made the switch to mountain biking aged 11 on a bike that Dan had built her from an old BMX frame.
Rachel Atherton’s amazing career includes holding six World Championships (one junior, five elite), six Downhill World Cup Series Overalls, and 39 World Cups as well as two European Championships and ten National titles.
“Rachel has dominated Women’s Downhill throughout the last decade. 2016 saw her take mountain biking’s first-ever “Perfect Season” with 7 wins out of 7 World Cup rounds as well as the World Championships. Victory at Lourdes in 2017 made it 2 full years undefeated with 14 consecutive World Cup wins.”
Off the track, Rachel has been heavily involved in the development and launch of Atherton Bikes. In true Atherton style, the family is championing a manufacturing technique new to the MTB industry, “doing things our own way” is a strong mantra as they strive to progress the sport – and 3 World Cup wins in the brand’s first season demonstrated that they are getting it right (2 wins for Rachel and one for her protégé Mille Johnset).
Darren Berrecloth’s innovative riding style and professional business acumen brought freeriding to the masses and helped elevate freeride competition to international status.
“Bearclaw” grew up in North Vancouver at the foot of the mountains where Canada’s pioneer freeriders were altering the perception of what was humanly possible astride a mountain bike. Darren, however, was dead set on becoming a BMX freestyle pro until, on a lark, he joined some friends (on his BMX bike) for indoctrination to the North Shore’s now-famous freeride trail network.
Darren bought a mountain bike and quickly became a local legend. His stylized riding appeared in a number of early freeriding movies, but Darren really put a stamp on the sport during early freeriding competitions when he started mixing BMX tricks into his runs. His pro-riding career spanned the pioneer era, the establishment of the FMBA World Tour, and the inception of freeriding’s crown jewel, the Red Bull Rampage.
Radek Burkat emigrated with his family from Poland, so most of his early years were spent scrambling to learn a new language, navigating the Canadian school system, and assimilating into a culture that must have seemed like the Wild West. Radek emerged from that experience as a gifted computer systems engineer who had recently discovered freeriding. It was a transformative experience. In his words: “I had tried a number of sports and I had hobby interests, but I was never passionate about anything, really, until I found mountain biking. Why wasn’t everybody doing this?” This was the inspiration that led Radek to create pinkbike.com.
….But Radek was not finished. “Without trails,” he often said. “There is no mountain biking.” Radek teamed up with Trevor May, who had developed a trail mapping application called Trail Forks. They reimagined the app to allow riders to share, discover and link trails together. Builders and users could post new trails, updates, and conditions, and there’s an emergency assistance feature. Trail Forks was relaunched as a free app in 2014 and by 2021, it had accrued six million users and exceeded 350,000 trails.
It sounds cliché. In fact, it sounds so cliché to almost come across as sounding trite… but Dave Cullinan gave his heart to the sport of mountain biking. And not just once.
For Dave Cullinan, It all started in the late ’80s when the BMX rider burst onto the dual slalom and downhill racing scene with a level of confidence, style, and determination that immediately put him on the race-winning radar.
With a growing tally of NORBA National wins under his belt, it was Dave’s unthinkable performance at the 1992 World Championships in Bromont, Canada that his showstopping style hit a new high. As one racer after another rode up and over a massive ramp jump, “Cully” instead leaped over the structure to go on and win the rainbow jersey.
Unfortunately, on a downhill practice run at the 1993 World Championships in Metabief, France, Dave suffered an injury that would have consequential effects not just on his professional career, but his life. Unbeknownst to him at the time, he’d torn his aorta and it wasn’t until months later when the injury caught up with him resulting in an emergency run to the hospital for open-heart surgery.
Despite bouncing back and forth from the races to the hospital to undergo a series of additional heart surgeries, “Cully” never lost his passion and enthusiasm for the sport. He continued racing and winning.
Race historians, as well as World Champions like Leigh Donovan and Brian Lopes, credit Cullinan as the pioneer rider who not only blazed the trail for so many other BMX riders to follow, but also for the role he played in evolving much of the suspension, pedal, and drivetrain technology enjoyed by so many mountain bikers today.
DAVE KELLY AND ROB McSKIMMING
If a place could be inducted into the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame, it ought to be Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
Two men, however, warrant particular recognition for Whistler Mountain Bike Park’s launch, and they are Dave Kelly and Rob McSkimming.
Since opening in 1999, Whistler Mountain Bike Park has served as a hothouse for global mountain bike culture, concentrating so much energy in one place that it launched countless athletic careers, generated previously unknown lines of business, influenced trail building techniques and standards, spun off an events arm, Crankworx, and a consulting business, Gravity Logic, and catalyzed the development of mountain bike tourism.
The success of Whistler Mountain Bike Park belongs to the entire culture of mountain biking – every single rider has contributed to its growth and significance.
Two men, however, found themselves at an inflection point in 1999, and warrant particular recognition for Whistler Mountain Bike Park’s launch, success, and the subsequent growth of bike parks around the world. They are true bike park pioneers, Dave Kelly and Rob McSkimming.
Restarting the Hall of Fame’s Live Induction Celebrations
Restrictions related to the Covid-19 epidemic forced the Hall of Fame to postpone our annual Induction celebration at the Marin Museum of Bicycling in 2020 & 2021. Those who have attended an induction there would agree that Fairfax, California and the Museum venue itself combine for a perfect location, where fans and families meet, mingle and ride with our new inductees, along with a number of the sport’s elders who also have been honored by the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. We will be combining last year’s, this year’s and those inductees we plan to honor in 2022 at an incredible multi-year celebration weekend October 7-9, 2022. Please join us then! Follow this link to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Inductees page for updates and details as our plans take shape for next year’s induction ceremony. Subscribe to our mailing list to receive all our emails and newsletters.
Some Fundamental Changes…
Most mountain bikers are familiar with the Julien Absalons and Rachel Athertons of the world. It’s a safe bet, however, that many of us know much less about Tym Manley, Radek Burkat and Jason McRoy – and might question how they came to be honored in lieu of more popular, higher-profile personalities who have also made contributions to our sport.
Good question. Addressing it underscores the mission of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, and speaks to some important changes we’ve made to the selection process in order to ensure that we don’t overlook men and women whose contributions and influence far exceeded their notoriety.
Public voting is no longer used to determine which nominees will be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Instead, a selection committee reviews all nominations and, after consulting with sources within the mountain bike industry and sport, selects the most eligible candidates for induction. A change made to ensure that those among us who altered the course of our sport, sometimes from behind the spotlight, are not passed over.
Meet the Hall of Fame Nomination and Selection Committee
Who makes these decisions? Our all-volunteer Hall of Fame Nomination and Selection Committee is assembled from journalists, industry insiders, and athletes, some of whom are HOF inductees themselves. The committee has been in place for a number of years, working in the background as a review board and think tank. Nomination and Selection volunteers also reach out to influential people within the industry and sport to help make informed decisions and further widen the selection process. In case you were wondering, our committee members (in no particular order) are:
Otis Guy: Pioneer mountain bike builder, retired firefighter, paramedic, and director of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Otis was inducted in 1993 and is driven to uphold the MBHOF as an internationally relevant and honorable institution.
Steve Blick: This HOF inductee was born and raised in Northern California during the mountain bike boom of the ’80s. With an amazing career of bike racing & industry involvement, “Blick” brings 25 plus years of experience and passion for the sport to help people fall in love with Mountain Biking.
Richard Cunningham: Pioneer mountain bike builder, designer, editor, and journalist from the USA, who has been an advocate for the sport, almost from its inception. Cunningham was inducted into the MBHOF in 1995.
Zapata Espinoza: “Zap” was the first journo’ inducted into the MBHOF (although Charlie Kelly argues the point), biased towards Mexican food, racers, and all the old guys who laid the foundation of the sport with passion, humor, intelligence, and, who also have the best stories to tell.
Glen Jacobs: Hailing from the rainforests of Northern Australia, Jacobs designs World Championship, World Cup, Olympic, and EWS racing venues, and was the UCI’s first full-time track builder. His company, World Trail, has developed venues in 20 countries. Jacobs was inducted in 2015.
Anka Martin: from South Africa, now living in New Zealand and Europe, Martin is a Juliana Bicycles racer and ambassador, “spreading passion and love of bicycles around the world.” The owner of Soul Trails, Martin hosts culturally immersive bike and yoga adventures and is co-owner of NZ Enduro Race.
Hans Rey: The Swiss/American was born in Germany and lives in Laguna Beach, California. Hans is a HOF inductee, freeride pioneer, trials champion, adventurer, founder of the Wheels 4 Life charity, a bike industry and tourism consultant, and a long-time pro rider for companies like GT Bicycles, Adidas and others. Hans has starred in films, TV specials, and has been on over 450 magazine covers.
To read the longer versions of these 2021 Hall of Fame inductees’ biographies and learn more about the Hall of Fame and the past inductees, follow this link: https://mmbhof.org/mtn-bike-hall-of-fame/inductees/