“Taylor Vernon is a tough cookie, our little brother and we’re going to miss him loads.” Rachel Atherton.
Back in the day! Bieber look – a- like joins the team for his first official photoshoot in the ‘Nog
Taylor joined the team in 2013 along with Belgian superstar Martin Maes. He was barely 16 years old but he was fast, committed, cheeky and already showing considerable promise. As the very first graduate of the Atherton Academy Tay rode alongside the Athertons and Marc Beaumont for GT Factory Racing in 2013 -15 as a Junior and first year Elite then stayed on when the family moved to Trek Factory Racing in 2016.
In 2013 Tay’s career was threatened by a spectacular crash at Crankworx Giant Air DH. He damaged three vertebrae and fractured T7 causing surgeons to schedule up to two years off the bike with metalwork in place for 18 months. Tay was having none of it and just 13 months after his crash he took his first Junior World cup win.
On the way to victory – Tay takes the Windham Junior World Cup
PB: Andorra 2016
The move into Elites wasn’t easy for Taylor but his perseverance and appetite to work for success have paid dividends with the last two races of the season gaining him two consecutive personal bests with 29th in Mont St Anne and 26th in Vallnord ( despite another spectacular practice crash which broke his nose!)
“Street fighter” by Sven Martin
Taylor said” “I’ll miss these guys, it feels like I grew up here. I can’t begin to thank Brownie, Dan, Gee and Rach enough. The whole team, mechanics Pete, Joe, Will, Lloydy and Gill all looked out for me, it really is like family. I’m excited about the future but I won’t forget where I started out.
Team Director Dan Brown said “ I know that I speak on behalf of all of us when I say how much we will miss having Tay on the team but sometimes change is needed to propel a rider to the next level and for Tay that time has come. We’ve watched him mature from a gifted grom into a confident and stylish rider whose hard work on and off the bike is starting to bring in the results he deserves. We wish him the very best of luck and I’m sure we’re going to be hearing a lot more from him in 2017.
With the team – MSA 2016
Photos Sven Martin