A couple of months ago I was at home and my Dad gave gave me a handful of old photos I took back in the ninties. Among the personal photos, there were quite a few from the three Grunding World Cup races held in Budapest. I’m yet to find photos from the very first race in 1995, but in a series of three posts, I’ll show the photos I took in 1997, 1998, plus my first ever World Cup abroad in Kaprun in 2001.
Going through the photos I remembered how excited we were to have the biggest show in mountain biking in Budapest, having all the riders we’ve only seen in the magazines come to Budapest! After the elation of the race in 1995, the second race in 1997 was even more exciting.
The course of the race remained similar to the original course from ’95 and those who lived in Budapest rode the WC course as often as possible, pretending that we were Frischknecht or Martinez.
To be honest, I can’t remember much from the race, apart from the fact that they climbed the ‘Terminator’ climb at a blistering pace. The ‘Terminator’ was the hardest climb in that area and us, mere mortals could only climb it on the granny ring, and even then only just, so seeing the pros storm up there on the middle ring five or six times seemed utterly unreal.
The other thing I remember is the camera I used. It was my Dad’s Zenit E, an old and outdated Russian SLR from the early seventies. Obviously, it lacked any kind of modern features like autofocus and the light metering was also a bit awkward, you had to take you eyes off the viewfinder and check a gauge on the top of the camera to see how much light there was. All in all, it was hard work but at the time it was good enough.
These are scanned photos and I didn’t do any kind of digital enhancement, so apologies if the colours are odd here and there and some of them are slightly blurry or otherwise compromised.
This was the famous David ‘Tinker’ Juarez’s bike, hung in front of the team truck. Note the high end Avid Arch Rival brake, Avid’s answer to the then-new Shimano V-brakes.
All the big names of the time in front row: Paola Pezzo (1), Alison Sydor (2) and Lesley Tomlinson (3). Tomlinson’s bike was equipped with a Marzocchi Bomber, a strong alternative to Rock Shox’s Judy. If I remember correctly, the Bombers were said to be smoother but heavier than the Judys.
And they’re off! Here you can also see Alison Dunlap (4), a then up and coming rider.
Alison Sydor powers up on the Terminator
One of my favourite riders, Chantal Daucourt.
Alison Sydor again.
Paola Pezzo halfway on the Terminator climb. This was a strong year for her, she’d won the Olympics in the previous year and she went on to win the overall World Cup title in that year.
I remember, it was a mad dash from the ‘Terminator’ climb to this climb but I managed to catch the front of the race.
I like this shot of Paola Pezzo, though it’s a shame its orientation is portrait and not landscape.
The post-race press conference with winner Alison Dunlap (r), Nadia De Negri (m) and Paola Pezzo (l)
Alison Dunlap in front of the GT team truck.
My hero, Thomas Frischknecht warms up for the race. It seems that bar ends were still fashionable at the time.
The start line-up of the elite men’s race: Jerome Chiotti (2), Rune Hoydahl (5), and Cadel Evans (1) and Kirk Molday (6). In the background, you can see Michael Rasmussen, Nick Craig and Jan Oostergaard.
Then current World Champion, Jerome Chiotti. In 2000 he admitted to using EPO which consequently resulted in him losing his World Champion title. It was awarded retrospectively to Thomas Frischknecht, but he was quite upset, understandably, as Chiotti’s feat denied him of standing on the top of the podium and of wearing the rainbow jersey the next year.
Cadel Evans powers up on the ‘Terminator’ climb on his Diamondback bike.
Jan Ostergaard wasn’t a well known rider but us, Hungarians, remembered him well enough as he was the winner of the first World Cup race in 1995.
Miguel Martinez rides his rigid (!) bike. Note the Spinergy wheels – they used to be super cool and super expensive.
Frischi on the ‘Terminator’. Note that he was using a double chainset, years before any other rider.
The winner was Christophe Dupouey. Sadly, he commited suicide in 2009.
The podium with Cadel Evans (l), Christophe Dupouey (m) and Miguel Martinez (r)
Another podium shot. The guy in the hi-vis vest is Dave Erickson, the organiser of the race, an American who lived in Hungary for a couple of years and he managed to pull everything together for a World Cup race in a country that wasn’t even on the map in off-road cycling.
Cadel Evans retained the leader’s jersey.
And here are some embarrassing photos of me and my favourite riders. Me and Miguel Martinez. The big questions is why didn’t anybody tell me at the time that my haircut was simply unacceptable?
Me and Norwegian Rune Hoydahl and Dane Lennie Kristensen
Me and my favourite female rider, Alison Sydor.
Me and Bart Brentjens
A signed fan card from Brit David Baker.