A West Virginia-based team competing in state, regional and national US races will bear the celebrity’s name. He's been backing the team for three years but now his name is up front and in lights.

US MTB race team gets sponsorship deal from…Jon Bon Jovi

Team director, Steve Thaxton, said the sponsorship just recently became official. Thaxton has been a personal trainer to Bon Jovi for the last 10 years, regularly touring with the megastar.

“This is the third straight year Jon has backed my team. Because his support has grown each year, we’ve not only been able to race our competitive state circuit, but we’ve also sent select team members to all national races,” said Thaxton.

“We plan to do the same in 2004.”

Last season – when the team was named West Virginia/Bon Jovi – three members competed in world championships.

“Jon supports the team first and foremost because he knows of my incredible passion for mountain biking,” said Thaxton. “

To have three of 12 team members race in 2003 world championships is an excellent ratio, to say the least.”

Though not all sponsors are finalized, those confirmed for 2004 are Cannondale, Ritchey, Kenda Tyres, Worldwide Chiropractic and Sports Medicine, International Talent Booking of London, and Charleston, WV based businesses Maple Creative and Charleston Bicycle Center.

“We’re still in discussions with other potential sponsors and our roster is almost set. In the off-season, we got plenty of resumes when it became known that Bon Jovi will continue his sponsorship and it’s probable that we’ll add one non-West Virginia pro who will make runs at national podiums,” said Thaxton, who requires team members to do trail maintenance as part of their team membership.

In other news...

Belgian start-up Gofluo raises €1 million to accelerate future growth

Gofluo has raised €1 million to accelerate company growth and expand to the US, France …