The second round of the British Cycling XC Series was all set for success. Martin Gujan and Martin Gluth had flown to the UK on Friday and travelled to the course at Newnham Park in Plymouth. The World Cup course of pre 2000 was a big it with the riders who loved the technical elements and really looked forward to racing in the UK. Furthermore, Martin and Martin were both showing some great form following their results in South Africa and some really positive training.
Unfortunately things went wrong rather quickly. Before the race had even left the arena both our boys were cursed with bad luck. Martin Gluth’s chain broke, leaving him with no choice but to start running to the pits, and Martin Gujan broke a spoke which resulted in the flat rear tyre. Gujan recalled,
“I kept on going with the flat. I was riding in last position when I saw my team member Martin Gluth running with a broken chain. He was so kind to give me his rear wheel that I could keep on going.”
With this wonderful display of sportsmanship, Gujan was able to begin his chase. And what a chase it was! Making his way through almost the entire Elite field, and posting the fastest lap times in the second half of the race, Guschi clawed his way back to within a whisker of the podium but eventually had to settle for sixth. In a field of this quality, sixth is a respectable result in its own right, but after a mechanical that saw him dead last before he’d even left the arena, this was quite a remarkable ride from Martin.
The younger Martin also rode a magnificent comeback. With a snapped chain and Guschi’s flat rear wheel, Martin ran about 1.5km to the pits. By this point he was not only at the back of the Elite field but also behind the Junior and Master categories, too. With a new chain and wheel, Martin began the task of riding himself back into the race. Weaving through the traffic and powering past his competitors, he managed to climb all the way up to 19th position by the end of the race. It was a somewhat heroic performance, on all accounts. He reflected,
“From the second lap until the finish I managed to ride top 3 lap times even though I was held up in traffic the whole race. That’s the positive thing I can take with me: my shape is good!”
Races like can be hard to mentally digest.
Two in-form riders. Two mechanicals in the opening seconds of the race.
However, despite the frustrations, we can draw upon the positives: an amazing gesture and wonderful example of team spirit with Martin Gluth giving Martin Gujan his wheel, and then a magnificent fight-back from both riders
Top athletes and top guys!
As ever, the team are extremely proud of our riders. When the bad luck demons strike, heroes fight back!