The two-year long deal between the bike maker and the car maker is to come to an end in January. Budget cuts are given as the reason. UK importer Paligap says it is negotiating with other out-of-the-bike-industry companies to become co-sponsors

Team Kona no longer powered by Ford

Russell Carty, manager of the Kona Ford Focus team, said:

"Ford Focus has been the title sponsor of the Kona Mountain Team for two very successful years, but all good things must come to an end. Ford are currently going through a lot of changes within their organisation due to CEO Jack Nasser leaving and the September 11th terrorist attacks.

"This has meant massive budget cuts in all areas and as a result, Ford cannot re-new their contract with Kona for next season."

Andy Barrett, a Ford brand, said:

"We constantly review our business activities in line with our financial targets. We have also been rationalising our European sponsorship activities from 2001 to focus on a small number of major patronages. We haven’t taken any of these decisions lightly, but regrettably have had to withdraw our support for Team Kona in line with these reviews."

Paligap director David Lane said: "We feel that Kona having a race presence not only in the UK but at World Cup events is very important in building the brand recognition even further and we are currently negotiating with other out of industry sponsors to take over

the title sponsorship."

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