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As part of a renewed push into gravity events, Specialized has signed 16-year-old Californian Kyle Strait to a season-long contract to race national and international events.
Strait, the 2003 NORBA’s junior 4X national series champion is expected to ride the company’s new Demo 9 in downhill races and a selection of free ride events in the coming year. Strait has an option to continue riding the company’s bikes at least through 2006 “Specialized has such an amazing history,” Strait effused in a release issued Monday. “They were building a name in racing before I was born! To be at the head of their next serious venture in gravity racing is a huge thrill for me, and also humbling to be wearing the same big red logo as names like Palmer, Voreis and so many others have before me, it’s very cool.” Strait is expected to compete in a complete schedule of downhill and free ride events for 2004, including the Sea Otter Classic, Red Bull Rampage, the NORBA series and the full World Cup circuit.
The Oakley/Red Bull rider also recently had his NORBA license upgraded from junior expert to Pro Elite so he may contest the NORBA and World Cup races as an elite rider. According to UCI rules, however, he will be required to compete at U.S. nationals and the world championships as a junior, for another two years.
“Ever since I saw the Demo 9 in real life, at Interbike last October, I knew I had to ride it,” Strait said.