Jim McFarlane: the man behind Endura Racing

Inspired (as I often am) by Matt on the Inner Ring, I thought I’d focus on one of the figures behind the finance and administration of Scottish Cycling: Endura Director Jim McFarlane. His clothing company has funded a full Continental Pro race team for the past two seasons.

Image © Joolze Dymond – thanks for permission

From the Endura press info:

Endura Ltd was founded in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1992 by a keen club cyclist (Jim McFarlane) after his return to Scotland from a 14-month stay in Sydney. Whilst living in Australia Jim had been entering the cycle portion of team triathlon events and, at one such event, had his kit stolen causing him to have to browse for a complete set of replacement kit.

After a great deal of disappointment as to what was on offer he decided that upon his return to Scotland he would attempt to produce cycle clothing that was focused on function and longevity without cutting corners on material and construction and this is the enduring ethos that still permeates throughout Endura today.

Image © Joolze Dymond – thanks for permission

At a press and media conference in January, McFarlane was rightly proud of the team’s 2010 achievements, but was keen to express that the team needs to continue to push forward, stating, “Today is another big day for us. We have gone from a predominantly UK team, to an international set-up. The team will be undertaking a much bigger European programme this year and with the addition of experienced Grand Tour riders such as Iker (Camano) and Paul (Voss) we hope to once again make significant steps in our quest for international success, and of course greater recognition for the Endura Equipe brand.

Of course we want to also make our mark domestically, and our UK rider line-up for 2011 is super-strong – especially with us bringing in riders like Dave Clarke. In 2010 we wanted to be in the top 3 teams in the UK and I think that Cycling Weekly ranked us at two. But for sure we want to improve at ‘home’, and we certainly will be aiming to be the best team in UK pro racing scene by the end of 2011.”

Speaking more broadly about the Endura brand, he added, “As a company Endura now has a broad base of international sales, with markets such as Spain and France now significant. The team is a great vehicle for us to continue to develop in these regions, and to reach further afield.”

It’s great to see that a cycling company based in Scotland is using a pro team as a marketing tool. Normally it’s larger international companies that stump up the cash but here the brand itself is looking to expand the top of the range Equipe brand into the European market.

In the past I have mused about how the expansion and progression of the team has affected the Scottish riders- in 2010 there were several but now only Evan Oliphant and Callum Wilkinson are on the squad, but this has been addressed with the creation of the Pedal Power / Endura development team, which focuses on development of young local riders.

There is an interesting interview on Veloresults from 2009, where Jim talks about the ethos behind the brand, and there seems to be a long-term, sustainable philosophy that also underpins the road teams.

There’s a great article by Brian Palmer on the washing machine post, properly researched and written, unlike my cobbled together effort above! He has taken the time to do interviews with Jim himself, team manager Brian Smith and riders such as Evan Oliphant and Dave Clarke.

I also did apost in November for the Endura 2011 launch.