National Championships Round-Up

For the team the National Championships began one month ago with Martin Gluth. The German Champs were a major goal of the season for Martin where he hoped for a top 5 position. It wasn’t to be on the day, with Martin not quite able to stick with the moves and follow the wheels he hoped to. However, amongst a class field, his seventh place finish was still to be proud of. 

Max GNC 9

The official National Championships weekend started for us in Israel with reigning Champion, Shlomi. After illness forced him out of racing and off training for a couple of weeks, this year’s title was harder to come by. Shlomi is incredibly proud of his Blue and White Israeli Champion’s kit and he was ready to give it absolutely everything to be able to wear it for another year. His passion paid off and we won our first National title as Novus OMX Pro Team.

Shlomi nat champs

With spirits high in the team, next day it was time for Cherie to take on the South African Championships. It was a great shame that injury stopped Mariske from riding and trying to defend a title that has been hers for the last two years, however it was a great delight to see Cherie step up into the limelight, take the title and keep those gold and green stripes in the team. For someone who is still so new to elite racing, and who suffered horribly with the nerves that came with expectation, Cherie delivered a perfect performance. Five days later it might just be starting to sink in!

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Two races, two jerseys. Number three of the weekend was going to be a tougher ask. Martin Gujan lined up with not only the best riders in Switzerland, but many of the best riders in the World. The fast course and furious pace left Guschi suffering in the early stages of the race. As others capitulated in the later laps, Guschi could find his rhythm again and he rode to a strong seventh place finish.

Gujan

Isla was unfortunately not able to race in the U23 British Champs as she is still recovering from a crash three weeks ago that left her with a broken collarbone and fractured vertebrae. She would have for sure been a title contender.

So, two seventh places and two titles: Not bad! We are thrilled to retain two National Champion’s jerseys within the team and will showcase them with pride for the next year.

#weareOMX

World Cup #3 Lenzerheide

The third round of the UCI World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, delivered a stunning venue, great racing and season’s best results for the team.

Guschi jump

 

However, the trip didn’t get off to the greatest of starts. Firstly, Mariske crashed and sustained an ankle injury during training for the South Africa Cup the previous week and therefore did not make the trip to Switzerland. With Shlomi not scheduled to race in Lenzerheide we were down to four riders. Four then became three when Isla took a dramatic fall during practice on Saturday which resulted in a broken collarbone and a compression fracture in her vertebrae. Thankfully despite being fairly serious injuries, there doesn’t appear to be any complications at this stage for either of the girls. Mariske is looking to be back on the bike in a month, whereas for Isla it will be near to three months before she is back riding anything more than a turbo trainer. Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported Mariske and Isla and kept their spirits as high as can be expected. They are fighters and they will be back! Best wishes girls.

 
Now, back to the racing. For Cherie, Martin and Martin, the show had to go on.
The course in Lenzerheide was a hit with all the riders. Twisting, climbing, jumping and descending its way around the lower slopes of the big mountains, the track required a mixture of technical prowess, explosive strength and strong climbing. Roots, dust and three drop offs were the big players on this largely natural course.
Sunday was very hot and dry, just as it had been all week. The call-up boxes were awash with iced water and umbrellas as everyone did their best to keep cool. Cool and calm. The Elite Women’s start time was approaching fast.
Cherie rolled out onto the grid and at 1115 the starter’s gun fired, signalling the flat-out sprint into the first sections of singletrack. Unfortunately Cherie got caught behind a crash at the first technical section and lost a lot of time. With some skilful scooting and scuffling along she managed to get going again. There were places to made up. The battle was on.

CV 1
Still a relative newbie to the sport, and especially to World Cup racing, Cherie knew she had yet to find the aggression and determination to fight for her position and for the best possible results. In Lenzerheide that push to the limits and drive for the finish began to really show. Accelerating out of every corner; attacking to catch the riders ahead; holding the line. It all paid off handsomely as Cherie picked her way past rider after rider, digging deep and finding the belief. The reward was huge boost in confidence and a fine 36th position.

Cherie always talks about progressing step-by-step. This was a big step!
With just enough time to grab an ice-cream, it was onto the men’s race. The scorching sun was high, and so were expectations for a thrilling race.

mens start

 

Martin Gujan made a great start, sprinting up towards the top 20, but a crash in front of him held him up. With time lost and his rhythm disrupted, Guschi dropped back to around 70th position and with that he had a hell of a mission to get back towards the front of the race. Over the opening couple of laps both Martins were riding in a similar position, not where they wanted to be but both moving up through the field. It was too hot to panic so they played it cool.

Whilst others punctured, made mistakes and suffered from the high pace and heat, Guschi and Martin were looking well in control. Taking on plenty of fluids, plus taking cooled water from the team staff in the pits to throw over themselves, the boys were able to keep the heat from breaking them.

With a home crowd behind him, Guschi really started to find his legs and work his way up through the field. Living only half an hour away, he knew the terrain and was well-adapted to the altitude and conditions. Riding the Silverback SBC 1.0 full-suspension helped him float over the roots and keep the power on. With the hammer down he was on the up, charging through the field in the final two laps to claim a superb 28th position by the finish.

Guschi climb

Martin Gluth was also riding fantastically well. A technically gifted rider, he was smooth and strong where it mattered. Never one to finish a race with anything left in the tank, Martin was giving it absolutely everything to post his best possible result. From a start number of 63, he moved up to 46th – his best ever Elite World Cup XCO result and a very impressive ride from the young gun.

max tongue finishCovered in dust and sweat and water, our riders had given it everything.

We celebrated with a small drinks reception at the team tent with fans and friends of Guschi. After a cold beer it was time to pack away and begin our respective journeys home. Until next time…

#weareOMX

guschi autograph