Three riders will benefit from the assistance of the The DirtFund Vitus Privateer Programme going into a hectic 2022 race season.
Michelle Muldoon, James Whitby and Myles James are the lucky riders selected to be the standard bearers for the DirtFund Vitus Privateer Programme going into a hectic 2022 race season.
The first recipients of the new The DirtFund Vitus Privateer Programme have been announced… with a surprise thrown in for the loyal following of this real rider-committed initiative.
In addition to supporting the two riders that the partnership intended to assist from the outset, a third rider was also added after the applications had been reviewed by the team.
The purpose of the Programme is to give Privateer Enduro or DH riders the opportunity to race on the latest Vitus bikes, with Muc-Off products and Strength Factory expertise also forming part of the offering.
The three riders chosen are: Michelle Muldoon, Myles James, and James Whitby. Michelle and Myles race in Enduro, and James shreds in the in e-bike category.
Each of the riders have committed to racing their domestic national series this year, with entries to EWS and e-EWS also being included where possible.
Founder of The DirtFund Project (TDFP), Dan O’Shea, explains: ‘This is about seeing the talent out there in these phenomenal privateer riders, and then doing what we can to help them overcome the tough realities of riding without the support of a pro team.
‘This Programme gives each rider the best bikes out there, which removes this concern for them and allows them to use their resources for other aspects, such as travel and entering national and international races.’
Alex James, Brand Marketing Manager with Vitus added: ‘Everyone involved can’t wait to see what these riders are capable of on the latest bikes we have to offer. It’s going to be a great season ahead and we wish all three riders the very best for all that is to come!’
Muc-Off Brand Executive Dominic Bond explains the reasons why they’re backing the Programme: ‘This is a great opportunity to support the scene that gives us so much, at a grassroots level. You see it in nearly every other sport except disciplines of MTB. Working with the passionate pioneers at The Dirt Fund Project on this allows us an approach that is as cool as it is credible.’
The talented recipients were notified on a Zoom call with The DirtFund Project crew last week and all of them are relishing the opportunity to choose their dream Vitus rig and representing the Programme to the very best of their abilities.
Myles James is a 27 year-old Enduro racer from Hereford, UK. Myles has been racing mountain bikes for 11 years. He began racing at the mini downhill races in the Forest of Dean on a hard tail and raced himself up into the elite category in 2017, racing to some top 10 national results and an overall podium in the Pearce Downhill Series.
In 2019 Myles chose to switch to Enduro and take on a new challenge, however the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic had other ideas. When limited racing resumed in 2021 Myles managed to finish 6th in the National Enduro Series after missing the last round due to injury and 2nd at the EWS100 at the Tweed Valley EWS, securing enough points to race the main race for 2022.
His goals for 2022 are to fulfil the life-long dream of getting in the top 50 at an EWS.
Michelle lives in Co. Wicklow, Ireland and races Enduro. Her career highlights to date have been placing 11th at the 2017 Emerald Enduro EWS and winning the category at the 2018 Masters Women in Slovenia. Having ranked in the top 3 in her group domestically for the last few years, Michelle is keen to take this opportunity and further realise her potential.
Michelle works as a full-time Secondary School Physical Education teacher, as well as working in partnership with Cycling Ireland and Wicklow Sports Partnership delivering mountain bike courses to riders of all ages and ability, as well community groups and MTB clubs.
James lives in the Forest of Dean, UK. He is a two-time British Champion at Four Cross in the senior category. Always up for a laugh on and off the bikes and describes himself as someone who is ‘Super approachable – working hard to pay bills, to play hard on the bikes!’
Having now transitioned to e-Bikes, James is looking forward to pushing this new technology to the limit and replicating his Four-Cross success on the e-Bike stage.
Keep tabs on The Dirt Fund Projects’ riders on their Instagram feed here.