Specialized Bicycles is proud to announce Specialized Racing USA Gravity—a new mountain bike racing program featuring two of the United States’ fastest pro downhillers: veteran charger CURTIS KEENE (Santa Cruz, California), plus promising and stylish BRAD BENEDICT (Auburn, California). The North American duo will be attacking the U.S. and Canadian race scene aboard their SRAM, Chromag, and Gamut equipped Specialized Demo 8’s and Butcher & Storm tires, focusing on the Pro GRT Series, North American World Cup races, plus premiere mountain bike festivals. Curtis and Brad will be easily spotted on course in their Specialized/Troy Lee Designs kits and custom-painted Airtrix D3 helmets—SVCS colors for Keene and Bravo Condoms for Benedict. At select events, sharp-eyed race fans might also catch a glimpse of Curtis and Brad aboard prototype frames and equipment. As the duo races across the continent they will act as mentors and provide support for the amateur team GROM Racing, run by former gravity National Champion Chris Herndon.
CURTIS KEENE, a seven-year veteran of Specialized’s downhill race program, is coming off of a stellar 2010 season which includes a top-10 result in the Pro GRT National Series, and a fourth place finish in the grueling Garbanzo Downhill race at Whistler’s Crankworx Festival.
“I feel very fortunate to have had support from Specialized and SRAM over the years, and look forward to many more,” says Keene. “It’s like being a part of a family, and they make my life a lot easier! Anytime I’m out racing my bike I’m a happy kid. I’m looking forward to riding/racing in Whistler again this year. I love that place!”
BRAD BENEDICT burst onto the national race scene in 2008 with a National Championship Series pro downhill victory in Santa Ynez, California and overall Series title. In 2010, he finished fifth in downhill at the US National Championships, along with impressive showings at both World Cup events and the World Championships, and looks to build from those experiences.
“I had big moments last year, like qualifying in first at the Pro GRT in Lake Tahoe, ahead of World Champions Greg Minnaar and Steve Peat, and I also qualified 24th at a World Cup in Italy,” explains Benedict. “I spent a lot of time overseas the past two seasons, so I’m most excited to race in the U.S. I've got the best bikes, sponsors and all the support I could want, and I get to work with great people. This year I don't want to just improve on speed and be on the podium, but also get more people racing, on gravity bikes, and to the events. I'd love to show more people how much fun all these events really are and help the sport grow.”