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Sustained Support

A look behind the scenes of our Factory Racing Team. By Irmo Keizer.

World Cup photographer and writer Irmo Keizer is traveling with the GHOST Factory Racing Team and getting a close look behind the scenes like almost no one else. Over the race season he will share his insights with us and provides you with stories offside ordinary racing results. Take a look and enjoy.

Working in top sport

January 2018. Whilst training, Anne Terpstra breaks her ankle. The meticulously prepared schedule shattered to pieces as she finds herself battling with recovery and the infection that follows. A year and a bit later, Anne stands tall on the podium in Albstadt with her fifth place. Back with a vengeance.  

Anne: “I was able to make a comeback, despite it being a very tough time for me. The team was crucial. These people make me feel good, allow me to be myself and this builds up so much energy.”  

The top step

For the second time in a row, the GHOST Factory Team found itself on the podium in Nove Mesto. A bittersweet moment, as Nove Mesto had proved to be a high as well as a low. In the under 23 women’s race, both Marika Tovo and Lisa Pasteiner were doing well, riding within striking distance of the podium. Lisa managed to finish in 6th, a career best. Marika crashed hard, injuring her knee and taking her out for a good chunk of this season.  

Lisa: “After Albstadt I was a bit down. I had a super good season start so I knew I was fast and could go good. I was a bit unlucky as mechanicals are never nice. I was proud however, as I kept fighting, really hard. This week I recovered well. It is nice with our team, they support you and the feeling in the team was super good after Anne’s podium in Albstadt. And for Nove Mesto, I love the course. I felt good, might have not had the best start but found myself in a good position. Nove Mesto is… Nove Mesto, I love the feeling, the people, the shouting and them going crazy.”  

Race Day

As Saturday’s whirlpool of emotions settled into the Czech night, Sunday saw the women’s elite field make their way to the start of the Nove Mesto World Cup. With Barbara Benko, Sina Frei and Anne Terpstra racing. Barbara found herself struggling at the back of the field, unable to work her way up the field. A battle unfit for her shape, but reality nonetheless. Hoping to improve on her 17th place in Albstadt, she had to settle for 40th. Up front, the battle was tight with both Sina and Anne at the front. Sina’s second elite race landed her on the podium with a 4th place. Anne showed strong performance, with a 7th place in the race and edging closer to an Olympic qualification. 

Sina: “It is so different in the Elite field. It was a super hard race but I am super happy. We’re racing so close together. You have to be smart and clever, not to be out of energy in the final moments of the race. In Nove Mesto we changed positions a lot. I felt good and now my motivation for the upcoming races is even higher. These tight battles are great.” 

Barbara: “I had an off day. What is even more frustrating is that I don’t know why. I felt good, my shape is good. I will do a bloodtest the coming week. It was a bad day, but unfortunately it is part of the game. The team won the ranking again which is really cool. It is so good to see the other girls do so well. Seeing all the guys on the podium is really cool, it is one of the most incredible feelings I ever had. They are working so hard behind the scenes. First in Albstadt and again in Nove Mesto. I was just crying after my race, but still went on the podium with the team and that just felt great. That team support and having my mom and dad and my best friend in Nove Mesto means the world to me. I was riding with Emily Batty and Annie Last in the back of the field. Emily asked me “Barbara what is going on with us?” So it’s not only me who was suffering.”  

This is mountain biking

We’ve pretty much seen it all in the past weekends, and the past weeks. There’s been glory, exhilaration and celebration. Tears of joy and tears of sorrow. We find ourselves in a highly competitive scene, yet the atmosphere, comradery and support in the mountain bike scene and the Ghost Factory Racing are truly special. It is a teamspirit which goes well beyond results. It comforts and supports when riders most need it. Uwe, Andy, Sebastian, Anja and Tom, you make this possible.   

((Photos by Attention Builders // Irmo Keizer & Andreas Dobslaff))