The Hotta story: how monocoques and bullishness won Olympic gold in 2000

Lotus might have kickstarted the carbon monocoque revolution in 1992, but it was Devon-based Hotta that carried Chris Boardman to two Tour de France prologue victories in 1997 and 1998, finally winning Olympic gold in Sydney with Jason Queally. CW talks to Hotta founder Simon Aske for the story of 'the other 1990s British superbike'

Hotta Jason Queally 2000
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the days before Britain was good at cycling, the mainstream media used to try to find an interesting angle for its rare successes, usually focusing on the bike rather than the rider. If it wasn’t a bike made by a F1 constructor or sports car manufacturer then it would have to be one made from a washing machine. In the case of Jason Queally’s gold medal-winning ride in the kilometre time trial at Sydney 2000, it was a bike made in a garage. According to the Daily Telegraph, Queally’s Hotta racing bicycle was made by one man, Chris Field, a "freelance designer from the village of Galmpton in Devon, who had to clear his garage to make space for the project."

However, the mainstream media either didn't know or glossed over the fact that it was not a humble beginnings but a humble endings backstory: this was Hotta’s last hurrah, and Field was anything but a plucky amateur, despite the Telegraph quoting him as saying: "We've won the gold with a bike put together, bulldog style, in a garage."

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Simon Smythe

Simon Smythe is a hugely experienced cycling tech writer, who has been writing for Cycling Weekly since 2003. Until recently he was our senior tech writer. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.