... but please don't say they were the inspiration and bikes would not be where they are today if they had not been around....
"History is just one bleedin thing after another"
Our modern technologies are founded on the incremental steps taken by our forbears.
On the other hand I believe that the mountain bike was "an idea waiting to happen," and if Repack pioneers hadn't starting racing off-road somebody else would have. The Cupertino Riders, the French VCCP, Geoff Apps and John Finley Scott etc, could have caught the imagination of the cycling entrepreneurs, but they didn't. But it was only a matter of time before somebody did.
The point is that individual pioneers can profoundly effect the direction that a technology or sport takes and so accelerate progress significantly. It took ages for the mountain bike world to realise that the geometry of the Schwinn Excelsior was not optimal. But Charlie Cunningham was one of the first to reinvent mountain-bike geometry.
I recall that his ideas were extremely influential.
And resulted in the creation of an alternative style of sloping top tubed, fat tube, short wheelbase mountain bikes as championed by Cannondale and numerous others. It was this style of fat tubed bike that superseded the Ritchey style bikes worldwide.
You can argue that Cunningham's ideas would have eventually been arrived at independently by others. And that 30 years on this bike has been superseded in many areas. But this is a lightweight and as such will climb faster than many modern machines. The Repackers may have invented downhill but did Charlie make uphill practical?