Local legal firm backs Pilley’s international campaign
PROFESSIONAL mountain bike rider Morgan Pilley has had plenty of sponsors in his team, but none quite like this.
Pilley signed off on the final documents to make his partnership with MJO Legal official on Wednesday afternoon, marking the first time the Yamba product has had a sponsor from the Clarence Valley.
MJO Legal partners Paul O'Connor and Peter James were both on hand for the landmark sponsorship, which will help Pilley continue to compete on the International MTB circuit.
"For me, this is a major boost. It pretty much secures my season," Pilley said. "This one is a lot more personal for me as I'll be representing the Clarence Valley every time I race."
The association between the three goes further than just a sponsorship, with James and O'Connor popping up throughout Pilley's life.
James coached Pilley when he played hockey in Grafton, while O'Connor is a regular sight on the local cycling scene.
"We're keen to be associated with Morgan and also see him as a sportsperson from the Clarence Valley who has fulfilled his potential on the world stage," James said.
"I coached Morgan when he was younger and he always was a dedicated sportsperson.
"He is a worthy example of the best sport can offer."
It is the first time MJO Legal has sponsored an athlete, and its brand will tour internationally when Pilley returns to his Italian base next week.
He will be straight into racing as soon as he lands, but that might not be the end of his worries.
Pilley was cut by his team just before he returned to Yamba in November, and with teams finalising their budgets in August-September, he could end up riding independently this season.
"There are quite a few Italian sponsors pulling their money out of the sport," Pilley said. "It's pretty tight at the moment.
"I've been emailing teams and speaking to a few, trying to find somewhere since. It'll be all right and I should be settled with a team by the time I get back over."