The SoCal Prestige Series headed deeper south to Balboa Park in San Diego for day two of another two-day race weekend. This race as in years past had its fantastic track start and finish. The remainder of the course was a great mix and the best set up that could have been done in this park.
Focus racer Laurie Tremor had the hole shot, with Ritte Racing’s Amanda Schaper in 2nd, followed by pro triathlete and Trek athlete Heather Jackson, local Rock’N'Road athlete Allison Mann and Ellen Sherrill (Bike Station) after who was strong with two wins the previous weekend. But once they settled onto the course moving out of the track Mann pulled into the lead on the first dirt section. She was barely maintaining the lead after a bobble in a loose corner. Sherrill stuck like glue to Allison’s wheel as the two opened a gap to the rest of the field. By the end of lap one the leaders headed into the twisty grass infield section and Sherrill went to the front. However, Sherrill hit the tape and Mann closed the gap back to the leader.
Sherrill briefly took the lead on lap two but Allison went around as Jackson was closing the gap on the leaders. Jackson took the lead from the two accomplished cross racers and led for another one and one-half laps, strategically attacking on the technical dirt section, and was able to create a gap to Ellen, who was soon passed by an on the throttle Heather. The three maintained an even gap for the remainder of the race as Allison sat up to enjoy her “Paris-Roubaix” style velodrome win, with Heather second, followed by Ellen, Christina, Megan and Amanda.
Sunday was more of the same as Steve Tilford set the pace around the track and pushing the pace through the first lap. It was not as many fireworks as the previous day with crashes and flats but again Chris Jackson (Rambuski Law) flatted, unfortunately on lap one and was off the front group.
The group maintained together well and rode around exchanging the lead especially through the twisty power grass section. Again, halfway through Tilford was out of the race from an unfortunate chain issue. Many other riders were having issues as the fast lead pace was making them smash through the loose rock section. Brandon Gritters (Rock N Road) realized later he had cracked both rims with two to three laps to go.
With one lap to go, John Bailey (Bailey Bikes) attacked and Gritters responded. The two dropped the previous days winner Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Focus) as Bailey was hungry for redemption from Saturday’s ride. Then Bailey crashed and Gritters was able to sneak away to solo in for the win.
The rest of the field came in close behind and Prenzlow grabbed second after passing Bailey from after his crash. Bailey was third and teammate John Behrens was fourth, and Gary Douville who popped the front group with a few laps to go held on to finish fifth.
Next week the series settles down with a single race weekend at the always-fun Eldorado Park event in Long Beach, California.
For more information go to: www.socalcross.org