Americans Test Their Christmas Race Legs in Beernem, Belgium
by Tom Robertson
11 racers from the Euro Cross Camp attended a “B” race just up the road from the USA House today in the town of Beernem, Belgium. With the World Cup race tomorrow, some of racers wanted to stretch their legs a bit, while a couple of the Juniors, who can only race two races per week in Belgium, wanted to go full gas. A handful of these racers also were racing on their own bikes for the first time in Belgium, as their luggage finally started showing up after the many weather delays in Europe over the past week.
There were 40+ starters in the Junior race, with five Americans among them – Drew Dillman, Jeff Bahnson, Gunnar Bergey, Jeremiah Dyer, Bjorn Fox and Kolby Preble were all at the start. Both Dillman and Fox were in the first handful of riders in the first lap, with Dillman working his way up throughout the race. With two laps to go Dillman was in a battle for third. He talked about coming into the homestretch: “I was trying to pass on the straightaway and got elbowed off the course and into a thorn bush. I guess that I’ve experienced some pure Belgium racing.”
The U23/Elite field was 60+, and guns were blazing right out of the gate. Danny Summerhill and Ryan Iddings were front row call-ups. Mitchell Hoke was right behind them, with Joe Schmalz and Cody Kaiser the remaining Americans in the field. Iddings had a great start and was towards the front at the turn-around on the far end of the course. “I got pushed right out of the way as we turned around,” Iddings said. “Usually racing in America, when that happens, it’s a little more subtle.” Iddings rode in the first half of the field for the entire race, with Hoke eventually catching him. The duo rode the rest of the race together, dialing it back at the end to save some for the World Cup in Zolder tomorrow.
Beernem Photo Gallery by Tom Robertson:
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