Monster Energy / Specialized

Specialized announced today a much anticipated decision to sponsor Team Monster Energy in 2009—home to two of the most notorious faces in downhill racing, 2X World DH Champion Sam Hill and 2006 Junior World Cup DH Champion Brendan Fairclough.

Next season, the two-man team will ride the Specialized Demo 8—the same race rig trusted by Decline Team America—known for its generous travel, patented FSR suspension, durable chassis and killer good looks. In the pre-season, Sam and Brendan will also train on the Stumpjumper FSR, Specialized's premier XC Trail bike, along with the 4X-winning SX and P3.

Known as downhill's man to beat, Australian Sam Hill is a 2X World DH Champion, the 2007 World Cup DH Series winner and a World Cup podium veteran, not to mention the Australian MTB Cyclist of the Year, 2004-2007. Sam has been an unforgiving competitor since he started collecting wins internationally in the U19 category, gaining more notoriety every year for being both hellishly fast and methodical about his strategy on the race course.

Sam had this to say about his decision to switch to Specialized in 2009:

“I wanted to ride for Specialized because we share the same goal and that's to win races—they are really capable when it comes to building and testing new products and striving to be the best," he said. "I had a good feeling about all the people there, and it's cool that everyone is into riding bikes, and they are all passionate about it. I'm definitely excited about the future and what myself and Specialized can achieve together."

At just 20 years old, Teammate Brendan Fairclough is also no stranger to DH racing. As a former Junior World Cup DH Champion and 5X British National Champion, Brendan continues to move up the ranks at the World Cups, posing a threat to some of the sport's most experienced athletes.

Specialized's MTB Sports Marketing Manager Scott Sharples can't wait to get started with the new team and bring some much-needed focus back to gravity racing.

"Sam and Brendan are brilliant riders with great track records. They are a perfect match for the Specialized suspension engineering team and their top-notch innovative bikes," Sharples said. "Sam has a reputation for pushing his bike to the limit and ripping up the most demanding track like nobody else. Lucky for us, he's chosen the Specialized Demo as his weapon to win back World Championship status. With Brendan also on-board, ready to regain the podium for himself, this will be an awesome combo deal."