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Posted on 20 April 2016

From Tractor Driver to BWC Champion

Mark Emsley, two time Brompton World Champion shares his cycling story.

My cycling career began in a garden in my home village of Lancing, in Sussex (some argue the largest village in Sussex, but that’s a story for a different blog). My mum jokes that I’ve been cycling for as long as I could walk, which is not far from the truth. I progressed from the tractor to a BMX, which led to a mountain bike, which led to a downhill bike, which led me to meeting my inspiration for racing bikes. I went to college in Brighton and was introduced to competitive cycling by my Geography teacher, Anthony Rogers (some might recognise the name... my Brompton team mate and fellow World Champion, taking the Veteran crown in 2014.) He’d take us down to Preston Park Velodrome after lectures were out for the day, and it was here that I found my passion for bike racing.

I started racing competitive track in 2011 and on to road racing and time trialling in 2012. I began within the ranks of ‘Brighton Excelsior’ cycling club, before furthering my racing with my current sponsor ‘Team ASL360’ (the world's first stand-alone system for industrial vehicles offering the 
operator a bird's eye real-time view of the vehicle and its surroundings)      

My first Brompton World Champs was in 2013, filling a last minute spot for ‘Sleeze Club/ Tru wheels’, made up of my aforementioned teacher, and a friend from Brighton (who went on to come second, with me in third) behind the infamous Dr Hutch. It wasn’t the first time Hutch had beaten me... the first time I raced him was in a Sussex time trial, where he beat me by nearly 9 minutes!!! I was hooked from then on; I’d borrowed a Brompton for the race from a friend, and didn’t want to give it back! I loved how the small wheels gave it precise handling, and an excellent turn of speed. 

2014 I returned to Goodwood, in high spirits after a successful early start to the season, only to find out Dr Hutch was absent! (I watched him in awe at the commonwealth games time trial instead) On the Goodwood circuit my time trial ability helped, meaning I went home with my first ever World title!  

2015 in London I returned as defending champion, better yet on my own Brompton for the first time! I noticed Hutch on the start sheet, but also David Millar. What an experience! What other race can an amateur bike racer like me take on World Class athletes, shoulder to shoulder, tie to tie!? It was a super fast race, a few moves by Hutch, some great chasing by the riders from the Joseph Kuosac team, leading to a mad dash up the mall! 

Get out there, join your local cycling club, support your local events, train hard (look out for future blogs on training) and who knows I could be seeing you tearing up The Mall at this year’s at BWC2016!

You can sign up for hospitality tickets for this years Brompton World Championship Final by clicking here.

Share your Brompton with the community on Instagram: #mybrompton