Thursday, January 27, 2022
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Martin Lonie – Double Masters British Champion

"It was a bit of a relief to win the Scratch Race Champs at Newport ... I managed to win four silver medals in British Masters Championships last year."

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Two British Veterans’ Championships this year – and recently (after we did this interview) the Scottish Criterium championship on the Lochgelly circuit too? Best ‘have a word’ with that man Martin Lonie…

The basics first please, Martin: where are you from, age, married/single, profession?

“I’m from Glasgow, I’m 39 and married to Anna.

“I’m a Business Development Manager for a French render manufacturer.”

2019 has been good for you with two British Masters Championships – tell us about those.

“It was a bit of a relief to win the Scratch Race Champs at Newport. I’ve been second a few times and managed to win four silver medals in British Masters Championships last year on road and track.

“I had heaped a lot of pressure on myself to win a stripy jersey in the build-up to the race.

“I attacked a lot and spent 10-15 laps solo, I kept having little digs anytime it slowed up. I wasn’t sure about coming to the finish with Jonathan Harris who is the current World Masters Scratch and Points Race Champion.

“With five laps to go I got a little gap with James Perkins and we took full advantage.

“I knew I had it won with two laps to go and it was nice feeling when I kicked clear and had time to sit up and celebrate crossing the line.”

Martin Lonie
Martin Lonie wins alone. Photo©AMW Photography

“The Criterium Champs at Hillingdon in London was a completely different story.

“Matt Bottrill went clear with my team mate Chris MacNamara on the second lap of the race. They are both incredibly strong riders with some amazing time trial times. Chris doesn’t have much of a sprint so I knew I had to get across to them.

“I averaged 740W for a minute to catch them and struggled to recover to give them a spell.

“After I took one turn Matt attacked so I made sure I was fresh for my next turn. He attacked again and I knew if he got rid of me there was a good chance of him winning so I didn’t do another turn the full race. Matt and Chris rode a 2 up TT with me in tow.

“Chris had a go at getting away which Matt chased him down. Matt had several goes at getting away but never really got a gap.

“We were a minute clear and Chris TT-ed the last two laps with Matt on his wheel with me sat in last place.

“I left the sprint late because there was a headwind and came past Matt pretty comfortably to get my second jersey in two weeks.”

Martin Lonie
Martin Lonie on the top step of the Masters podium. Photo©AMW Photography

You rode the Junior Worlds, ‘back in the mists of time’ – tell us about that.

“Yes, in 1997; the San Sebastian worlds.

“I didn’t have a great race as a couple of laps in there was a crash on the barriers on the climb and a Columbian rider got his handlebars locked through my back wheel. He kept pulling his bars in a panic and I needed the slack to free my bike from his.

“I got close to the back of the bunch but never got back on.

“I did another lap getting cheered on by the massive crowed before I got dragged off the course to do the walk of shame back to the GB tent.”

You were with the ill-fated McCartney team for a spell, what was that like?

“It was a great learning experience. The first race we went to in February we got told just to bring socks and underwear to the airport.

“All our kit, new bike, shoes, Oakleys, helmet, leisurewear, luggage, bike bags, was at the airport waiting for us. It was like Christmas.

“The race was a UCI stage race that was televised and I remember getting a bollocking that none of us had been on TV or done anything of note in the race.

“The next stage I attacked from the flag and was six minutes clear when we hit the first mountain. I got caught on the KOM line, double punctured on the decent and couldn’t get service.

“I had to ride the last two mountains of the 170km stage in a 13 cog to find out I was called to doping control. When I came out of control the car was waiting to motor pace me to catch up with the team which had set off on a two hour training ride.

“I remember thinking ‘this this brutal’, but it soon became the norm; I’m sure we did 165 miles the first day of the Girvan.

“Another highlight was racing with TDF stage winner Max Sciandri. I had to help him and my job was chasing and sitting on David Millar. David was raging and kept losing to plot shouting and swearing at me.

“Then later on you find the guy ripping your legs off and shouting abuse at you for not coming through is full of EPO. 

“Shane Sutton was a good coach and that year I got to race in lots of places, all over Europe, America and Australia.”

Martin Lonie
Martin Lonie leading World Points Race Champion Chris Newton on Stage 2 of the Girvan 3 Day. Photo©Phil O’Connor

Tell us about your time on the continent?

“I loved racing in France. I raced for three French teams in different years, the first when I was 19.

“That was a terrible set up which saw me dropping out of more than one lead break when I couldn’t get a bottle in 35°c heat. I would give them loads of Team Scotland bottles and my French team mates would get them.

“I snapped one day when I was in the lead break of five and I got handed a milk carton with dirt and grass floating in it… they had filled it from a stream or puddle at the side of the road! By the time the bunch came past I was chasing the DS around the team car with my shoes off.

“Gregg Imlah was my team mate and he nearly fell of the bike laughing at me trying to catch the DS, who wasn’t a nice character.

“The next team – based near Lorient – was class; they looked after us really well and my Australian team mate and I kept getting great results.

“We got win bonuses, were well looked after and had a good set up, they treated us like family.

“One week after my Aussie buddy won we asked for a big TV for the house and we got it two days later. Next we asked for a satellite system and again, it arrived two days later. We didn’t ask for much else but they always took us out for meals and brought us fresh food.

“I really enjoyed it right up until I broke my arm and had to go home.”