In 2013 Martin Maes caused a sensation in the World Of Enduro.
When 16 year old Martin signed for GT Factory Racing in December 2012 he was a virtual unknown. But in the inaugural Enduro World Series he took 6 out of 7 junior wins by incredible margins. His final 4100 points against Aurelien Demailly’s 1780 makes that point with force. But it’s also worth noticing that he would have placed in the top 10 overall in 5 out of
those 7 races, “ an all–too Atherton trait of being up and punching with the times of the Elite riders with youth still very much on his side.”
Martin has been riding bikes since he was five years old with the encouragement of his older brother Tom and his father Patric Maes, an ex-racer who won the 1991 European Dual Slalom Championship and has no less than twenty three Belgian Championships to his credit (in BMX,
Downhill, Dual Slalom and Trial. Much has been made of Maes’s maturity but Martin modestly points out that he has been competing for over 10 years (he won his first cross country competition at Nandrin in Belgium in 2003 aged just six) and has always ridden with a group of older riders based around his dad’s free-riding school.
Martin’s first major title was the European 4X Championships at Winterberg in 2010. In 2012 he burst onto the emerging Enduro
scene with a 5th place overall at the Superenduro of Nations at Sauze d’Oulz, (just one place behind Dan Atherton) and a 4th in the sequel event at Valloire. This was no mean feat for a 15 year old boy who laid waste to some of the toughest and most experienced adult riders on the circuit.
It’s important to remember that Martin is barely old enough to even race the juniors– he has two full seasons left in that category. He is also unusual in that he isn’t a
seasoned Downhill rider who has remodelled himself – Enduro is his chosen discipline, In fact given the raw speed that this boy generates, taking several special stages faster than any of the Men’s Elite, it may well be that we see him take on some World Cup downhill racing in the future.
Martin’s super aggressive and loose style has paid dividends with some exceptionally quick times, but Enduro is not only about speed; stamina and tactics are vital.
Martin gives a lot of credit for his success to the GT Factory team, especially his friend and mentor Dan Atherton and mechanic Matteo for consistently pointing him in the right direction. But Team Coach Alan Milway points out that Martin is also a natural athlete who trains with commitment , getting fitter and stronger every week.
When he isn’t riding his bike or training, Martin is hanging out with his girlfriend, skiing, snowboarding or quad-biking.
For 2014 he will have the choice of two great bikes, The GT Force which served him so well in 2013 or the new GT Sanction developed with Dan Atherton. Martin is already hugely motivated to start the next season; he’s taking nothing for granted saying that “every season is different” but with results like 2013 coming along while he is still growing and learning “it could be that we are already looking at one of the most dominant riders of the next generation”
- 2013 Overall Junior World Champion Enduro World Series
- 2013 EWS Jnr Round 1, Punta Ala 1st
- 2013 EWS Jnr Round 2, Val d’Allos 1st
- 2013 EWS Jnr Round 3, Les deux Alpes 2nd
- 2013 EWS Jnr Round 4, Winter Park 1st
- 2013 EWS Jnr Round 5, Whistler 1st
- 2013 EWS Jnr Round 6, Val d’Isere 1st
- 2013 EWS Jnr Round 7, Finale Ligure 1st
- 2013 Mountain of Hell 2nd
- 2012 Enduro “Hautes Vosges” – La Bresse 6th
- 2012 Mountain of Hell, Les Deux Alpes 13th
- 2012 Enduro of Nations, Saulx d’Oulx 5th
- 2012 Enduro of Nations, Valloire 4th
- 2012 Roc Enduro (Roc d’Azur) 3rd
- 2010 4X European Race (15/17), Winterberg 1st