While Harley-Davidson usually conjures up images of leather-bound bikers cruising down the open highway, this winter the company’s image will evoke Lycra speed suits and snow.
Deeley Harley-Davidson, the exclusive Canadian distributor of Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycles, accessories and clothing, signed Whistler’s Mike Janyk to a two-year deal to be the skier’s head gear sponsor — a prime location previously occupied by Whistler. Janyk will wear the Buell Motorcycles logo, which is fitting for Buell’s line of touring and race bikes.
The deal is for cash, although Janyk is hoping that a motorcycle might be in he cards as well.
“Maybe if I start winning some World Cups then I’ll start to test the waters for a bike,” he joked “but until then work on my licence so I’m ready.”
Janyk said the sponsorship came about through another sponsor who referred him to Don James at Deeley Harley-Davidson.
“After meeting with them I learned more about the history of Deeley and of Harley-Davidson, and I really liked the passion and dedication which Don and the company have for their product and business — it was right on line with my passion and dedication for my sport of ski racing. It felt like such a great fit and thankfully everything came together just before the season started.”
Janyk, 26, had a breakthrough season in 2006-07, starting off with a silver medal in slalom at Beaver Creek. He cracked the top-10 five more times that season, including a fourth place finish in Germany, and ended the season ranked seventh overall.
Last season Janyk missed races and struggled with a back injury, which he has since rehabilitated. It’s not entirely pain-free, but he says the injury has healed.
“My back is doing great right now, I’ve had a few times where it doesn’t feel so great, as per any injury, but as my physios and doctors say my disk problem in healed and I only need to focus on skiing — which is so much better than what I was doing last year.”
As a result of missed events last year Janyk dropped to around 60 th in the world slalom rankings. His bid to return to the podium will get a boost when his start position improves.
Janyk was 24 th after his first World Cup run of the season at Levi, Finland, then went off course on his second run to end the day with a DNF.
He followed up with back-to-back wins in the Nor-Am slalom races in Winter Park this past weekend.
Janyk says he doesn’t have a strategy for the season.
“I don’t really have a strategy for my skiing to get back to where I was two years ago, but more goals on how I see the season working out,” he said. “I won’t be holding back at all during my races as the season is so tight that you need to go all out all the time, but I know that with my later start number and the rougher conditions (later in the race) I won’t be as likely to post the fastest runs as I did in the past.
“That said, once you get into the second run of the race you never know what can happen. My goal is to first get back into the top-15, then seriously start to go for the podium. Actually, I’ve already accomplished my first goal of the season, which was to win the opening Nor-Ams of the year… In doing so I’ve lowered my world ranking from around 60 th to about 30 th to 35th, which will give me a better start in World Cups. I’m off to a good start and I’m hoping I can build on this success and finish with another great year.”