by Trish Albert
Macon, Ga. – Georgia Cross continues to experience typical fall weather, sunny and a high in the lower 70s. Rain earlier in the week did not touch Central City Park in Macon, Georgia.
It was flat, fast, dry, and a little dusty. The course was made up of a number of technical turns to break up the flats. There were four possible dismounts: a sand pit, a set of telephone poles, two barriers, and the river levee, although most rode at least two of them. A beer garden was set up on the side of the course allowing those attending to buy an adult beverage to benefit charity as part of Macon Octoberfest. There was also a trolley running to Octoberfest for those that wanted to check out the rest of the festivities.
In the Masters 35+ category, the dismounts proved key to the win according to Eric Smith (Guardian Auto). Riders who bunny hopped the telephone poles were going faster than those who ran them. On the first lap Daryl Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts) and Smith bunny hopped the poles and went from seventh and eighth position to the front of the pack. It also created a small gap.
Smith said, “We rode together for a couple of laps until Daryl faded a bit. I was a little worried about going it alone on such a flat, fast, windy track with long drafting sections but I think the three skill features on the track helped me to maintain the gap. By adding three skill features and some fast corners it made for a great test of fitness and finesse.” Smith held on for the win with Grayson Tudor (Round Here Racing) in second and David Hicks (L5 Flyers) in third.
In the Masters 45+ race Alan Burton (Toyota Forklifts) led the group from the pavement to grass. He remained on the front until the start of lap two when unattached rider Tim Shank took the lead. At that point Burton, Shank and Dub Smith (Toyota Forklifts) formed a small brakeaway with Lamar Mauney (Toyota Forklifts), following solo ahead of the field. Mauney was unable to close the gap and lead trio continued on with teammates Burton and Smith collaborating to try to dispatch “Tallahassee Tim” Shank.
After tenaciously neutralizing previous attacks and initiating a few of his own, Shank made a small mistake exiting the sand on lap five. Burton took advantage of it and accelerated. Only Smith was able to stay with him. For the next two laps the duo continued distancing themselves from Shank with Smith taking the victory. Shank and Mauney took third and fourth, respectively.
The Junior’s fields were very small. Many of our youngsters that also race road and track decided to rest this weekend in anticipation of the double weekends coming up. Three Frazier Cycling riders lined up for the Junior 15-18 race. The trio crossed the finish line in the following order: Parker Haney, Madeline Haney, and Blake Wilson.
Only two riders contested the Juniors Under 14 race. In this race, there is a large difference in ability between the 14-year-old riders and the youngest riders. Davis Branyon (Frazier Cycling) was twice as tall as Reece Latham (Junior Flyers). Davis caught many of the Cat 4 women and held on for the win. Latham held his own taking second. In the Women’s Cat 4 race Sophia Broadwell (Junior Flyers) won. Unattached rider Victoria Haney was second, and Lisa Bongiorno (Frazier Cycling) was third.
The Men’s Cat 3 field saw a nice amount of entries. Mclean Harris (Smyrna Bikes) took his second win in as many weeks. Following Harris was Calvin Cheung (College Park Bicycles) and Grayson Tudor (Round Here Racing).
The Women’s 1/2/3 race had eight riders vying for the $500 first place prize money. The pack had hoped Lisa Randall (Sorella Cycling) was tired having raced a six-hour solo mountain bike race before. Randall went off the front from the gun and was never seen again. By the third lap Kim Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts) and Elizabeth Lee (LG Factory) were working together to chase. Randall caught half the men’s field and held on for the big payday. Lee and Sawyer rounded out the podium.
The Cat 4 Men’s field was fast from the start. Blake Bridges (Northstar) and Ethan Sealy (The Bike Store) established an early gap. James Hendershott (Georgia Collate) and Alex Newton (Faster Mustache) began to chase. Category 4 racing is about getting experience and learning race tactics. Newton, not knowing the third place rider was in front of him at a key moment said in a post race interview, “Had I of known, I would of tried to go with the eventual third place winner when he attacked on the last lap for a possible spot on the podium, but I just didn’t have it in me. I countered soon after the only hill, which most were riding, coming around [Scott Morris (Village Volkswagen)] to secure fourth place by putting in little digs where I could on the last sections of tape.”
The large cash purse brought out local big guns in the Pro/1/2 Men’s race. The flat course kept the top five racers including Tim Barrett (EPVA), Thomas Turner (Team Jamis), and Nate Sibley (Atlanta Cycling) together for the first two and a half laps. Unfortunately, Sibley took a nasty fall and cracked his fibula on the third lap. At this point front group began to break apart. Turner and Nicholas VanWinkle (Litespeed-BMW) were pretty close for a few laps until “Red Beard” Turner shifted into a harder gear and pulled away holding on for the win. Frank Travieso (Smart Stop) took second, and VanWinkle was third.
In the single speed race, it was a pretty even start and everyone seemed to have similar gears. The field went through the first corner ten wide when “Crash” Harris punched it going into the ball field. “Mustache” Barrett and David “Gluten” Marbut (Toyata Forklifts) gave chase. Harris held on and hit the gas. Marbut caught Barrett with one lap to go finishing second. Barrett was third.