It’s not often that new, relatively small teams launch with two national champions on their roster. But that’s exactly what Pittstop Racing is doing. The new Bromont, Que.-based team boasts both Laurie Arseneault and Zorak Paillé as it rolls into the 2023 race season.
Behind the new team is another Bromont, Que. mountain biker, Rebecca Beaumont. When Arseneault was left without a team at the end of 2023, Beaumont realized it was time to act on a dream of creating her own team.
“I immediately said I was going to do everything I could to make it work. I always wanted to have my own team one day, but I didn’t think it would be in 2023,” Beaumont says. “It started from a desire to help. I think it’s sad that there’s not enough support in the industry that athletes can continue their careers.”
Pittstop Racing: a small team with big dreams
Pittstop racing is new, but Arseneault and Paillé roll into the 2023 season with experience, Arseneault is the Canadian elite women’s XCC national champion and Paillé earned the maple leaf jersey in junior men’s XCC and XCO, and ambition. As part of a smaller program, they will be turning to each other for support.
“I really enjoy the belonging feeling you get when you’re part of smaller program. This one is a special one for sure. We are all very passionate people and highly motivated to lift each other up,” Arseneault says of her new team. “Rebecca is doing such a wonderful job as a manager. She really inspires me. It’s easy to talk with her and bring ideas to the table. It’s also extremely motivating to have Zorak as a teammate, he has a beautiful energy and he’s very talented.”
For Paillé, the opportunity to team up with Arseneault is a bonus as he graduates from the junior ranks to take on the under-23 World Cup events.
“It’s a big bonus having Laurie by my side for my first year on the World Cup circuit. She has been on the circuit for a couple of years so it’s going to be nice to have someone who’s already got experience travelling around the world for racing,” Paille says, adding that Beaumont’s bringing her own history to the table, as well. “Rebecca also has a lot of experience racing at a high level to so it’s going to be nice having her knowledge.”
The step from junior to under-23 can be a big one. Paillé’s debut in u23 comes with some added pressure after winning Canadian junior XCO and XCC championships in 2022.
“For sure it’s scary…
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