After an 11-year-long hiatus, Maxxis Factory Racing is back. At the helm are two Canadians: Haley Smith and Andrew L’Esperance. Two enduro athletes will make up a domestic-focused enduro squad to round out the four-rider roster.
Canadians diversify their race portfolios
The Canuck pair head up the cross country squad. Both veteran racers bring a decade of experience to the new project. Smith, who represented Canada at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and L’Esperance will take on a slightly different race calendar this year. They’ll still be at World Cup events, chasing international podiums. But they’ll be mixing those ambitions with the more North American-focued scope of Maxxis Factory Racing.
Interview: Smith and L’Esperance chart a new course
More than just adding new races to their calendar, the pair will be mixing in entirely new disciplines. L’Esperance is on the roster for the LifeTime Grand Prix, mixing gravel and mountain biking. Smith will be racing everything from World Cup XCO to marathons and long-distance gravel as well.
Youth add downhill speed
On the gravity side, Coton Peterson and Sophie Allen will represent Maxxis Factory Racing on the enduro circuit. Peterson brings top results at Big Mountain Enduro series Revolution Enduro series. Allen, racing for Colorado Mesa University, has earned experience across disciplines. For 2022, she’s focused on the enduro series, building on results at Maxxis Eastern States Cup races and a top-3 overall finish in under-21 at the 2021 Big Mountain Enduro series.
The young duo will focus on the North American rounds of the Enduro World Series, EWS Qualifier events and continue racing the various U.S. domestic enduro series’.
Experience behind the scenes
Maxxis Factory Racing will be led and supported by Drew Esherick. The new team manager and lead mechanic for the four-rider squad brings experience with Stan’s NoTubes, working with the Canadian national cyclocross team and wrenching with several World Cup outfits.
“I’m super excited to work with all of our athletes this year. We’re going to go out and compete with some of the top riders in the world,” Esherick says of the new project. “This is a big change for me to be running this program. Duncan at Maxxis and Dave McLaughlin from the Clif program were both instrumental in helping to put this team together. I don’t think we’d be here without them.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to finally share the news of our new Maxxis Factory Racing team!” said Maxxis Bicycle Tire Division Assistant Manager Duncan McGuire. “Many months of work went into finding the perfect partners and the perfect athletes to launch this project with, and we can’t wait to finally see their tires hit the dirt!”
The team will, of course, roll on the full array of Maxxis tires. Between the treads, the new squad will be supported by Ibis Cycles and Stan’s NoTubes. Ibis supplies Exie cross country bikes, Hakka MX gravel rigs and Ripmo enduro race bikes.
Ibis Cycles President Tom Morgan is looking forward to the new project.
“Maxxis has been a fantastic partner for Ibis both with our EWS team and as an OE supplier for many years. When they invited us to become part of the team, I was happy to pay it back. Also, it was an opportunity to get involved again in the North American racing scene in a big way. We’re looking forward to seeing what Haley, Andrew, Sophie, and Colton can do this year.”
“Like Stan’s, Maxxis has a genuine love for racing and supporting the riding community, so we are super-excited to be a part of this team,” says Stan’s NoTubes’ creative director Chris Currie. The brand will supply wheels and tubeless sealant for all racers. “With great support from other friends in the industry, a range of events from enduro to gravel, and an incredibly talented group of riders, this is going to be a team to watch both now and in the future.”
The full list of Maxxis Factory Racing sponsors includes Maxxis Tires, Ibis Cycles, Stan’s NoTubes, Enduro Bearings, ESI Grips, Smanie, Sock Guy, Shimano, Wahoo, Fox Racing, RaceFace, Giro, 4iiii, HyperThreads, Flow Formulas, Better Bolts, Tannus Armor and Pedro’s.
Follow the new team on Instagram.