Young Guns - Grand keeps an eye on Bahnson at Fair Hill. © Dennis Smith/dennisbike.com
by Mike CZ
Fair Hill, MD, USA: After a decade of racing at the Cecil County Fairgrounds in Fair Hill Natural Resources Management area, the Champion System MAC Series moved a couple miles to the east to new area within the 5,633 acre state park in eastern Maryland, just west of Newark, Delaware. Mid-week rain put a question mark on course conditions for the inaugural race at the new venue, but racers found a fast and dry course thanks to good draining soil and brisk breezes.
The mud-pit feature, a drainage area at the low part of the course, didn’t make the cut in the final design due to safety concerns, but the course still had plenty of challenges. The deceptively grueling arrangement of switch-backs and steady climbs from the course low point back to the start-finish area left many racers surprisingly dazed as they came off the course. Open field off-camber was the name of the game in the first part of the course with climbing and lightly wooded terrain in the later part.
The early races were slower as the best lines through the course were being established but lap times decreased as the course settled in. Smaller fields meant races strung out quickly with small groups competing in races within races. The most exciting race of the day was arguably the Elite Masters with Mike Yozell (PaValleys.com), Bill Elliston (Van Dessel Factory Team) and Troy Kimball (Westwood Velo) driving hard all race, with no hint of who was the strongest rider until Yozell attacked into the head wind on the climb towards the pit area after the barriers and then opened up a gap down past the main spectator area and back to the finish line leading Elliston and then Kimball to the line with Elliston showing excellent form to take the sprint finish for second. The strong field of Champion System MAC regulars came along in due course.
The Elite women’s field was true to the nature of the day, stringing out over the length of the course with the exception of an exciting head-to-head sprint for 7th place between Lenore Pipes and Kristine Church with Pipes inching out ahead. Overall winner was Deidre Winfield (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) followed by Kristin Gavin (Team Cystic Fibrosis) and Patty Buerkle (Haymarket Bicycles / SEAVS).
The Elite men’s field saw cat and mouse tactics from the foursome of young local rider Jeff Bahnson (Van Dessel factory Team), Olympian Bobby Lea (Van Dessel Factory Team), Anthony Grand (CYFAC/Champion System/Revolution Wheelworks) and Jared Nieters (Haymarket Bicycles/SEAVS). The four riders quickly established themselves as the selection of the day, riding away from the rest of the field from the gun. Grand, Lea and Bahnson traded pulls at the front, testing each other and each waiting for another to make a mistake. The suffering award for the day goes to Nieter, who was riding a yo-yo all day just behind the group but the string stayed intact and he managed to keep coming back and held on for fourth. The race was undecided until Bahnson pulled a “Yozell” on the final lap, attacking after the barriers and taking a clear win with the other three following close behind. Lea displayed the power that has taken him to the top of the track world, easily taking the sprint from Grand.
With the change in location came many questions, but the new venue holds promise for exciting racing in the future. Elite Masters rider Sean Mealey (Gung Ho/Spring House) called the new course, “a great mix of technical and power sections.” HUP United’s Mark Wanco probably spoke many racer’s minds when he said, “I was expecting a grass crit. I was wrong. Great course; right up there with Granogue and Rockville bridge as far as technical difficulty and a whole lot of fun.”
The Champion System MAC Series takes a week away from competition before heading north to another new venue, Long Island’s Eisenhower Park, for the two-day Whitmore’s Landscaping Super Cross Cup, the final race weekend of the 2010 season. For more information, see BikeReg.com.
|1||Jeffrey Bahnson||Van Dessel Factory Team|
|2||Bobby Lea||Van Dessel Factory Team|
|3||Anthony Grand||Cyfac-Champion System Racing Team p/b Revolution Wheelworks|
|4||Jared Nieters||Haymarket / SEAVS|
|5||Greg Wittwer||ALAN North America Cycling Team|
|6||John Minturn||AXA Equitable – CRCA|
|7||Ryan Dewald||Haymarket / SEAVS|
|8||Dave Weaver||ALAN N. America Cycling Team|
|9||Gunnar Bergey||C3 Athletes Serving Athletes|
|10||Sam Okeefe||C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes|
|11||Matt Spohn||Cyfac-Champion System Racing Team p/b Revolution Wheelworks|
|12||Mark Broadwater||C3-Athletes Serving Athletes|
|13||Zach Adams||C3-Athletes Serving Athletes|
|1||35+||Deidre||Winfield||C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes|
|2||Kristin||Gavin||Team Cystic Fibrosis|
|3||Patty||Buerkle||Haymarket / SEAVS|
|4||35+||katrina||dowidchuk||Team TBB/Deep Blue|
|5||Erin||Silliman||ALAN North America Cycling Team|
|7||Lenore||Pipes||The Wistar Institute|
|8||Kristine||Church||Human Zoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|9||35+||Lauri||Webber||Secret Henry’s Team|
|10||35+||Elizabeth||Harlow||C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes|
|11||Allyson||Tufano||NVRC/Cardio Sports Lab|
|12||Evie||Edwards||Performance Bicycle Racing|
|13||Andrea||Luebbe||Human Zoom / Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|14||Rebecca||Frederick||Kelly Benefit Strategies/LSV|
|15||U23||Bailey||Semian||Team Alliance Environmental|
|16||U23||Nina||Santiago||Highgear Cyclery/ Watchung Wheelman|