On the heels of two years of mountain biking national championships, Granby Ranch's SolVista bike park officials are hoping to gain the town's title sponsorship for the next big race in the Granby area.
During budget talks on Nov. 23, town board members directed the town staff to research where in the budget $25,000 could be drawn to create a prize purse that could attract to Granby the "best of the best" in the racing world during the spring shoulder season.
"The National Championships the last couple of years has put Granby on the map," said SolVista Bike Park Director Matt Thompson. "The bike park is seeking and hoping to promote and create bigger types of events in order to attract a broader range of people and get our name out there and draw more people to Granby.
"We need a purse so that we can attract world-renowned, world-class riders to come to Granby, and that will bring the amateurs," he added. "The purse can have a drastic impact on the amount of people that come to a regional race or a national race."
The SolVista bike park crew is organizing a Memorial Day Weekend downhill stage race loosely dubbed the "Triple Dip," in which riders would race in stages on three separate race tracks at the mountain.
SolVista is looking to continue the momentum it created from two seasons worth of National Championships, during which the bike park made a name for itself among the racing community. An early season race would take advantage of SolVista's lower elevation in the Rockies, setting it apart from other venues in the region that would still be under snow, Thompson said.
So far, the SolVista crew has secured the production sponsorship of Red Bull, and also has RockShox and Teva on the line to have presence and to bring professional racers. It is also the hope of race organizers to attract industry and national media to the event.
"We just need some help from the town to help kick off the bike park," Thompson told trustees. "A purse of $25,000 will instantaneously put this race on the map, no questions asked."
Thompson said a large purse created from the town's support could draw as many as 500 competitors. The purse could mark the difference between a smaller regional event and one that is "plainly at the top of everyone's racing calendar."
For the chance to bring more tourism into the downtown, town board members seemed hooked by the idea.
"The town was able to enjoy record-setting tax revenue the last couple of Julys," Thompson said in an interview. "The real variable in that was us hosting the national championships."
Thompson pledged to board members that SolVista is committed to creating ways to bring activity to the downtown during its future biking events, such as staging registration downtown, perhaps hosting an invitational pro race in town, or maybe a kids bike clinic in the park.
"My personal goal is to see my guys get more involved, particularly with the young people and get them excited about mountain biking," Thompson said. "We've got a real gem there right up the road, I just think we need to get to know one another a lot more."
Granby Mayor Jynnifer Pierro called the possible town expenditure "a leap of faith," but ultimately supported the title sponsorship.
"I would like to see a signature event in Granby," Town Trustee Deb Shaw concurred, yet earlier in the meeting she had expressed concern about the town dipping into its unexpected $800,000 windfall in misplaced sales tax uncovered by a state audit.
In a vote to direct town staff to explore where the money would come from in the budget, Trustee Greg Guthridge was the dissenting voice in a 5-1 vote (Trustee Greg Mordini was absent from the meeting).