LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – In sharp contrast to the windy, balmy conditions that the Masters racers experienced in the opening heats, the first men today lined up today in a freezing flurry of snowfall. Far from frozen, however, the course had soaked up two days of rain and gave the men some hard, muddy power conditions that saw wheels locking up and bikes weighing down.
In the 65-69 category, Robert Ogren (Kenwood Racing) established an early lead, with Rick Abbott (Excel Sports Boulder), National Champion Leone Pizzini (First State Velo) and Victor Barnett (Welland Valley) making it a tight race behind. Though Ogren had daylight for the first two thirds of the race, the wheel-sucking mud – which saw riders throwing their bodies on the bike to generate enough power to ride – eventually pulled him back into the fold. On the final of three laps, Barnett made his move, pulling ahead and holding off the rest to win the World title.
Impressively, it was 70+ winner Jimmy Wagner who had the best ride of the morning, as on his way to a commanding win he nearly caught the lead group of the category below him. Though split into further categories in previous years, the 70+ group combined all ages above the mark, and due to the incredibly slow conditions and the tight racing schedule, many saw themselves pulled despite being at no risk of being lapped.