Master Racers navigate the the barriers under the moon in the Munson Park Night-Cross. © Andrea Tucker 2009/www.tuckerbikes.com

Master facers navigate the the barriers under the moon in the Munson Park Night-Cross. © Andrea Tucker

by Matthew Ashley, photos by Andrea Tucker

Michigan’s cyclocross scene was treated to a beautiful night of racing in Monroe, MI on Saturday night. Tailwind Enterprises hosted it’s first ever ‘cross race under the stars at Munson park in General Custer’s hometown. This course consists of a massive sledding hill surrounded by soccer fields and is always home to strong winds and temperamental weather. Things were no different on this evening, winds were whipping all night long and the embrocation treatment started early for a lot of racers.

The first riders to attempt to slay the Munson Monster were the C-racers. There was an impressive 60 riders in this field which is large for any c – race field in Michigan. After a hard fought 30 minutes Ryan McKinnie (Two Wheel Tango) took the 39 and under race and Brian Goocher from the historical Jack’s Bicycle shop took the 40 + race. Jacks Bicycles was also the bike shop sponsor for this race and has been in business for an impressive 73 years.

Drakes Coffee racer Andy Brown racing at sunset in the B race. © Andrea Tucker 2009/www.tuckerbikes.com

Drakes Coffee racer Andy Brown racing at sunset in the B race. © Andrea Tucker

As the sun began to set and the stars were beginning to shine the B – race was just beginning. Again there were an impressive amount of riders in this race and everybody had there sights on the top step. After 45 minutes of pure suffering it was Terrence Metz (Wolverine/Roaring Mouse) that had bragging rights until the next race.

Race number three was the Elite women and Master’s mens races. By this time of night the full moon was on display and the riders from previous races were enjoying the homemade chili and surely putting down a few beers. The Wolverine cycling team threw their muscle around in the 35+ race and put Patrick Russell and Simon Bailey in the two top positions. Rounding out the top three was Team Giant’s Terry Ritter.

The 45 + race saw Mark Wolowiec (Flying Rhino Cycling Club) aka the man that doesn’t age, come away with a close win in front of Andy Klumb (Drakes Coffee). Finishing off the podium was another perpetual young guy Joe Brown who was the course designer for the race and was also riding for the Flying Rhino Cycling Club.

There were no surprises in the Elite womens race. Anne Schwartz (Flying Rhino Cycling) showed who owns this field in Michigan with yet another impressive win. Anne was able to also drop a lot of the Master’s men in the field as well and looks well on her way to another great season. Kelly Paterson (Wolverine/American Cycle & Fitness) took home second place honors on the night and also took over second place in the series.

The final race of the evening was of course the Elite men. Michigan has a very strong elite field with last seasons USGP Master’s Champ Michael Wissink (Specialized), Jeff Weinert (Wolverine/American Cycle & Fitness) who is 3rd in the USGP Master’s standings right now, and Jonathan Card (Jack’s Bicycles/Saturn of Toledo) who is also in the top ten of the USGP standings. The race started off very fast with Jeff Weinert taking the hole shot and leading the field through the first few turns. Midway through the first lap Matthew Ashley (Flying Rhino Cycling) made a mad dash off the front getting an instant gap but was reeled back in by Michael Wissink and the rest of the field by the end of lap one. Lap two saw Ashley leading into a tight turn just before the pit entrance and go down taking out Wissink and most of the field. Wissink was able to recover and rejoin the front of the race. For the next few laps riders took turns attacking the field until Wissink was able to get away on lap 4 leaving Tim Saari (Essex Brass), Vince Roberge (Trails Edge), and Jeff Weinert fighting for the left overs. The race would finish off in that order with Mark Parmelee (Cycletherapy) taking the fifth and final money spot.

Overall, it was a fantastic night of racing, with an exceptional course design that allowed riders to stay off their brakes and just lay it down. The next race in the Tailwind series is at Lower Huron Metro Park in Belleville, MI. This course will be a bit different from the high speed course of Munson Park. For more info on the Tailwind Series check out www.tailwind.net, and for more race photos go to www.tuckerbikes.com. See you at the next one.

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