Friday the 13th: Irish legend Robin Seymour still shows no signs of stopping at the age of 52

Friday the 13th: Irish legend Robin Seymour still shows no signs of stopping at the age of 52

Niels Bastians
Friday, October 20, 2023 at 6:13 pm

interview Every Friday at 1:13pm in our winter section “Friday the 13th” you can read an interview with a crossover or cyclocross racer who finished 13th in one of the previous weeks. This ranges from junior girls to elite men, and from C2-cross to world championships. What’s the story? This week the number thirteen is on the Edge Cross in Clonmel, Ireland: 52-year-old Irishman Robin Seymour.

We’ll admit it right away: The reason we chose Robin Seymour is because of his amazing age. You’d expect a 52-year-old to be in the Amateur or Masters, not in an Irish C2 cross-over with 22-year-old Jeanty Michels as the winner. But Seymour has to be the Irishman with the greatest passion for cyclo-cross in the country, a true legend in his homeland by the way. What do you want when you have eighteen (!) national titles in cyclo-cross and twenty titles in mountain biking to your name?

“I usually basically go through the Masters,” laughs Seymour. “I just ride what’s on the calendar here. The last season I rode everything as an elite has to be 2013. I’ve now reached a point in my life where I don’t do anything in the sport anymore. I just do what I love. Of course I have to Sometimes I have to be careful not to get doubled by riders who aren’t even half my age, but that’s part of it. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone like Jeanty Michels come along to race here? The Irish riders will be shocked at the difference in standard, but I have nothing but admiration “I could have been his father (laughs).”

This also applies to the young Irishman who accompanied him. “It was a lovely day with Irish boys. Do they know who I am? Naturally. Well, definitely riders from the Dublin area. Not that something like that matters much during the show, because they’re all doing their best to get over me. But apart from that, I do everything I can to advise young riders, help them and take them along while they explore. I haven’t built up much experience to do anything with it now.

Doubled in digim
Whether or not there’s a gap in our knowledge of the Circle Junction we’ll leave open, but we’ve never heard of Seymour. However, it has been around for a long time. Their first Irish title dates back to 1990, and in the next 21 years they have only been beaten three times on home soil. “I don’t think you know me, because in the few competitions I played in Belgium, I was often found at the back (laughs). In 2008 and 2009, I traveled to Diegem with an Irish friend, during Sven Ness’s best years. Then he tried to finish “On the same lap. But in all honesty: riding among these people was the highlight of my career.”

Seymour plays in a European Masters jersey

“If you grew up in Belgium, like you, you might find something like this normal. But that’s not all. We don’t have beer tents on the cross. Not to mention the fans standing in meter-and-a-half-thick lines all over the arena. Thousands of people were waiting to cheer me on and it was My friend is honestly very strange. People made an effort to look for my name on the list of participants and personally encourage me every time I passed by. And this is in a country I’ve never been to before (laughs). It can’t be compared to anything else, but we don’t have anything like it in Ireland.

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Irish cyclocross scene
In his country, Seymour has always been one of the best off-road riders of his generation. “I was actually better at cross-country mountain biking. I have three Olympics to my name in that discipline, where I finished about half way across the field. I was good at that. Then cyclo-cross suited me very well in my early days. Also don’t forget that There was no fun cyclocross scene in Ireland at that time. Cross country always lags behind mountain biking due to its Olympic nature. But in the meantime, cyclocross is my favorite discipline!

Seymour was one of the founders of the Irish sport of cyclo-cross. “When I started racing in the late 1980s, there was interest in Irish cyclocross, but at a very low level. In the 1990s, whatever was left of the Irish cyclocross scene completely died out. You couldn’t even talk about a real scene anymore, because competitions were held sporadically.” “I really had to take matters into my own hands to promote cyclocross. We have our own.” Racing series It was founded around Dublin with a number of others, which has been going for over ten years. At first no one had a cross bike here, except some people in the north, but now there is a real community with different clubs. This in turn created a nice snowball effect for the rest of the country.

“Not that I want to put all those feathers in my cap, of course. Irish cyclo-cross has managed to grow again alongside American and British sports. In England, cyclo-cross is a sport for Working man class. In America it has become a kind of trendy boutique sport. This international character has made cyclocross attractive again, and this has extended to Ireland. Now we can say we have a great road cycling scene in Ireland, with a few national races every weekend, and sometimes three on the same weekend in different counties. “We are far behind Great Britain, but I am still proud of the work we have done.”

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The highlight was the Dublin World Cup Tour, which made its debut in December last year. Fem van Empel and Wout van Aert were the Irish Dream winners. Seymour himself wasn’t on the score sheet, but he thought it was good. “8,000 spectators is a fantastic thing for an Irish sporting event. And we can do better. I’ve already heard from several people that they didn’t come last year because they didn’t know what to expect from such a cyclocross. After all the positive feedback from people who were There, many fans now want to be in. Young riders can also benefit from this, although it will take even national champion Dean Harvey – just 20 years old and a Trinity Racing team rider – to do everything in his power to avoid double the Cup the world.

The World Cup in Dublin was a success – Photo: Cor Vos

It keeps moving forward
It’s all very noble, all the work Seymour does for Irish cyclo-cross. But it also raises questions: Why so much passion? How did he end up in this mainly Flemish and Dutch specialist sport? “I was a technician myself. My father was especially so In motorcycles And motorsport competitions. As a teenager, I was completely fine with it, but when insurance premiums became higher, the sport more or less stopped at the end of the 1980s. At that time I started cycling myself. Not that I was very strong, but I was fascinated by the technical side of the sport. That’s why I quickly focused on mountain biking and cyclocross.

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“I also continued working in a bike shop. I have a degree in engineering, but I preferred not to pursue that. Simply because I didn’t love it anymore. I enjoy cycling and working on those bikes much more. Of course I would also like to become a professional cyclist.” “But that wasn’t possible in Ireland in my time. You would then have to find a French or Belgian team, and that would only work if you were extremely talented. I certainly didn’t get rich through my sport, but that wasn’t the goal. I always loved Doing that and that hasn’t changed in 52 years.

Seymour isn’t thinking about stopping racing anytime soon. Even in 2023 we still find it in 15 to 20 hybridizations per year. “I have to keep pushing myself through competition. Otherwise I’m more likely to give up and say ‘Oh, it’s raining outside, I’m not going to train this time.’” Of course, it becomes increasingly difficult to reach a certain level as you get older, especially when you work Forty hours a week, but I think it’s important to keep fit anyway. I’ll always keep working out alongside my work, so I prefer to combine it with some competition. Fortunately I’ve always been lucky with injuries, because when you have to deal with them in “At that age, you can lose your momentum and it’s over quickly.”

Good luck this weekend men and women. Let the best win. And remember: thirteen is not always an unlucky number!


Robin Seymour profile

name: Robin Seymour
Land: Science i.e Ireland
age: 52 years old
Categories: Elite/Masters Men
a team: Wicklow Off-Road Club
Favorite cross: Dejem. The atmosphere there was incredible.
If I were not a passenger I would: As it stands now: I will still work full time at a bike shop.
Career Objective: Everyone is trying to convince me to go to the Masters World Cup in Hamburg. I don’t really know yet. Last year, I became European champion in Namur, and I don’t know if anything can top that. Seeing the Irish flag and hearing the national anthem is a great feeling, especially when you beat the Belgians in your own country (laughs).

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