Robin Seymour bowing out after 20th MTB title: “I want to do something different now”

Posted on: July 22nd, 2014

Two time Olympian Robin Seymour takes the national cross country mountainbike title for a record 20th time in Killarney (Photo: Sean Rowe)



By Gerard Cromwell

Robin Seymour added to his legendary off-road status with an unprecedented 20th national cross country mountainbike championship win in Killarney at the weekend.

The 43-year-old Wicklow man finished just over a minute clear of local hero Sean Prendiville (Killarney) with Graham Boyd of McConvey Cycles taking bronze ahead of Cuchulainn’s Ray O’Shaughnessy.

“It’s no different really from the 18th or 19th but I suppose winning the 20th one is a big milestone, so I’m delighted obviously,” the winner told stickybottle.

Although Ryan Sherlock skipped the event to concentrate on the road in Belgium and national cyclo-cross champion Roger Aiken missed the pre-entry deadline, Seymour didn’t have it all his own way early on as Prendiville and then O’Shaughnessy pushed him hard on the opening lap.

Prendiville’s good start was cheered on by the locals but Seymour came around him halfway through the first lap and never really looked back.

“In most other races I kind of wait and see and warm myself into it,” said the Team WORC rider.

“But for the national championships I do tend to just go for it, to stay out of trouble as much as anything else.

“Sean had taken off from the start and was very strong. I overtook him before the first real narrowing of the course and got a bit of a gap on the first lap, not much. But it extended a bit on the second lap and I slowly pulled away from him.

“Ray started very strong and was really going for it. He was chasing me really hard on the first lap or two but got stuck in a battle with Sean and ultimately blew his lights and ended up without a medal at all.”


Competing on home turf, Sean Prendiville was a very popular silver medalist in the elite men’s event (Photo: Sean Rowe)


Once the experienced Seymour opened a gap on the battling duo, he concentrated on getting around the rest of the course safely to claim his 20th title.

“Once I got to the end of the third lap I kind of backed off a bit to look after the bike.

“It was a very tricky course with lots of corners and roots and stuff so while it wasn’t too difficult to ride on, it was very easy to make a mistake on.”

Despite a good start to the season, a DNF at the European Marathon Mountainbike Championships last month meant Seymour went into the event a bit more concerned with his form than usual.

“After the Gorey Three Day I was riding really well in the middle of May but then I had a terrible June. I won the National Points Series in the middle of June a week before the Europeans in Ballyhoura, but I never really recovered from that.

“I wasn’t strong enough to hold onto the front group in the Europeans and with six or seven weeks to go to the nationals you’re slow to take a week off to recover. You’re afraid to do that and you muddle through.

“I’m always really nervous before the national championships, more than any other race. There’s so much pressure, particularly if you’re sort of the favourite for it.



“You have everything to lose and certainly there are more people chasing you all the time.

“It only takes a silly fall or a mechanical like an unshipped chain or a puncture and it can all go pear-shaped, so you’ve got to ride to look after the bike a bit.”

Having set the bar high with a record 20 national mountainbike titles, Seymour is considering bowing out and trying something different next season.

“Ten years ago, when I was riding semi-professional in the UK, I was pretty much untouchable here because I was riding at such a high level and completely dedicated to it.

“But it’s a lot different now at 43 years of age, working long hours and cutting the grass at the weekend.

“I think I’d like to do something a little different. Having the championships in July has always stopped me from doing stuff abroad so maybe it’s time to go do something else.

“It’s a good way to go out. It would be ridiculous now at this stage to go on and try and further the record but I have to win the cyclo-cross championships another time before I hang up my wheels. I’ve only 18 of those.”



National XC Mountainbike Championships

Sunday, July 20th: Killarney

Elite Men’s Race Brief Results

  1. Robin Seymour (Team WORC) 1:36:50
  2. Sean Prendiville (Killarney) 1:37:59
  3. Graham Boyd (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) 1:39:57
  4. Ray O’Shaughnessy (Cuchulainn) 1:41:41
  5. Barry Kellett (Dromara) 1:45:06
  6. Colm Mullen (Team WORC) 1:53:16


(We’ll have full results of all races later)