In the lead up to the 10th Brompton World Championship Final we will be looking at the winners, losers and anything in between from the last 10 years in a series of exclusive features!
In our second issue we have an exclusive interview with BWC founder, Koos Kroon. He started the championship in 2006 in Barcelona and has been influential in its growth as global event.
What was your first Brompton experience and how did this lead to you selling our product?
Before moving to Barcelona I worked at The Netherlands Photo Archive Foundation in Rotterdam. Here I became close friends with Martijn van den Broek who was using a Brompton. There was also Wim Vroom, former director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and a member of the board, who was taking his Brompton all over the world. In March 2001 I opened my bike shop in Barcelona with the first 10 Bromptons that were sold in Spain.
How did the BWC come about?
One day a man walked into the shop telling me he had organized the first Table Football World Championships. Perre Farré was an ex-professional cyclist and journalist and he asked if I would be interested in organizing a Brompton World Championship. I didn't like the idea of people racing Bromptons in lycra so we added the dress code; suit and tie and strictly NO lycra.
What was the first event like?
We had almost a hundred participants in 2006 and it was great fun. The people loved it and the press picked it up very well. The following year we doubled the number of participants and I told Brompton they should take over and bring the event to England.
Can you describe the growth of the BWC across the world in the last 10 years?
The growth of the event shows that the Brompton owners are like one big family. They love to come together and talk about their bikes. I see new faces every year but also many familiar ones. In March this year I had the chance to race at the Japanese Championships in Tokyo and it was great. I met lovely people and I saw some really nice tuning. I have raced in every BWC from the beginning in 2006 and it has been personally very rewarding to see this event becoming so big.
What tips can you give those competing in the competitions this year?
If you want to win the race you need to train hard. The distance is rather difficult; it's just too long to go full speed all the time, especially at Goodwood with the wind. And if you are not thinking of winning the race just try to as fast as you can or try to win the best dressed or folding competition. It will great this year to be racing in the city of London.
What is your best memory of the BWC?
There are two moments, first the day Will B-A (CEO at Brompton) picked me up with my Brompton and we flew together in his plane from London to Goodwood. The weather was terrible when we landed and I was very happy to touch the ground safely. It was great and I'm happy Will convinced me to come to the BWC that year. The second moment was the year (2009) that Roberto Heras raced at Blenheim Palace for the second time and he won by 0.27 seconds before Michael Hutchinson. Roberto Heras is very famous in Spain and it was very special to have him in our team.