Nck VanWinkle, left, edges out Thomas Turner for the Elite Men's win. © Trish Albert

Nick VanWinkle, left, edges out Thomas Turner for the Elite Men’s win. © Trish Albert

by Trish Albert

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The Savannah Superprestige is the double race weekend that all Georgia Cyclocross racers look forward to. This year it was also part of the Southeastern Cyclocross Superseries, which is a seven race series across four states.

Saturday’s course was the shorter of two day’s courses as it eliminated going around the pond and through the woods. Riders were kept closer to the racetrack to avoid being in complete darkness after sunset. Lights were set up on the back of the course, illuminating the steps and a small hill. As always, riders loved the flat terrain, and the Halloween decorated flyover was included. Racing Saturday started at 1:15 p.m. with the Cat 5 field and ended under the lights with the Single Speed race at 7:00 p.m.

The Masters 35+ race saw a strong field. Ian Prunier (Smryna Bicycles) took the win over Brady Rogers (Litespeed-BMW). Daryl Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts) came in just behind them for third. In the Masters 45+ race, Sonni Dyer (ABRC) took off early in the race. Alan Burton and Dub Smith, Toyota Forklift teammates, worked together but could not catch him. They sprinted each other for second with Burton pipping Smith at the line.

A small field of Women’s Cat 4 and Juniors racers lined up for the start of the staggered race. In the Women’s Cat 4 field Jennifer Rossignol (Sorella Cycling) opened up an early gap, which she would hold until the end. Lisa Bongiorno (Fraizer Cycling) was second, and Rhys Mays (ATH CX) was third. In the Juniors race, North Carolina rider Anthony Bailey (Piney Flats Bicycles/Dean Endurance CX T) caught the entire Women’s field except for Rossignol on his way to the win. Leon Waine (Junior Flyers) was second and his teammate and brother Troy Waine finished third.

In the Men’s Cat 3 race, Mclean Harris (Smyrna Bicycles) took his first win of the weekend. Jake Andrews (Macon CX Team) and Wesley Burruss (Outspokin Bicycles) rounded out the podium.

In the Women’s 1/2/3 race, series leader Lisa Randall (Sorella Cycling) was absent opening up the race for another rider to win. On the first lap, Kim Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts) and Elizabeth Lee (LG Factory) opened a large gap on the rest of the field then proceeded to played cat and mouse for the next 35 minutes. It came down to a sprint with Lee beating Sawyer at the line. Floridian Katherine Adams (GearLink Racing) was third.

In the Men’s Cat 4 race, unattached rider Ben Braxley took the hole shot and pulled away on the first lap.  A group of two, and then four to five riders worked together to try to reel him back in, coming within about four bike lengths.  He was able to stay off the front and finished first with a 10 second gap. Scott Morris (Village Volkswagon) took second, and Yoni Pollack (Bikeways) got third.

The Pro/1/2 Men’s race looked more like a crit than a cyclocross race with a large group staying together for the first several laps. On the dismounts, the roadies would fall off slightly but catch back up on the flats. Eventually, Thomas Turner (Team Jamis) and Nick VanWinkle (Litespeed-BWM) pulled away as they worked together.

Neither had an advantage on the other one and came into the final turn with even wheels. VanWinkle proved the cunning roadie and waited until just the right second to unleash his sprint. The official’s camera and two photographers got the shot of VanWinkle winning by one inch. Spectators erupted with applause and cowbells at such an exciting finish. Frank Trevieso (Smart Stop) took third.

A green grape bunch was one of the costumes on hand at Savannah Superprestige. © Trish Albert

A green grape bunch was one of the costumes on hand at Savannah Superprestige. © Trish Albert

The always fun to watch single speed race was even better with several riders in costume. Seen were a green grape, a rockin’ redneck (complete with mullet and his wife Amy’s bike shorts), a Christmas tree and  a sombrero helmet. Even with the fun, there was a race to ride.  Harris won his second race of the day and 14-year-old Mikey Waine (Junior Flyers) beat up on the old guys to take second. Michael James (Prima Tapps) was third.