Laura Van Gilder has extra incentive to defend her MAC crown. © Anthony Skorochod

Plus Financial Incentives for Amateur Women

The Champion System MAC Cyclocross Series has announced a radical increase of the Women’s prizes at every event of this year’s 11-race series. Effective immediately, starting with the UCI Nittany Lion Cross in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, on September 11, every race in the Champion System MAC Series will pay equal prize money to the top three Elite women as to the top three Elite men. Series director Mike Hebe also announced cash incentives for amateur women racing in the Category 3/4 division. “As a series, I feel that we definitely respect the effort that the Elite Women put forth,” said Hebe. “Any way that we can help to offset a disparity in prize money is a good thing. We’re thrilled to be able to make this work not just for one or two days at any given venue, but throughout the season for all 11 races of our series,” he added.

“This is an experiment for 2010 that we hope can springboard equal pay and bigger women’s fields into the future.”

According to the official statement, the Elite Women’s division at Champions System MAC races must now pay at least $494 for the win at the Series’ nine UCI-sanctioned races (nearly double the UCI standard). At MAC’s two domestic USAC-sanctioned races, the previously announced women’s top prize of $250 will remain, but will now be supplemented by complete parity with the men’s purse through all 13 paying positions. The prize money increase is the result of a recent collaboration between MAC series leadership and members of the Mid-Atlantic racing community.

As part of the same announcement, Hebe also revealed that “gambler’s” primes have been added to the Amateur women’s races at every stop of this year’s Champion System MAC Series. “This prime will award $25 to the first 45+ Woman AND $25 to the first Cat 3/4 Woman to hit the bell lap,” explained Hebe. “This prime is not to award a race winner. It is to entice someone to make a decision about racing. Beginner classes need to hone their tactical skills and this can do that. If there is a group, this is a great chance to attack, or counter the person who went for the prime.”

Hebe also announced a one-time incentive of $50 to the highest-ranking Category 3 Woman who “races up” and enters the Elite race at the second non-UCI race of the season at Fair Hill, Maryland. The course at Fair Hill is located just west of the University of Delaware, the alma mater of a certain Katie Compton, who rode extensively at Fair Hill and was MAC’s first women’s champion. “Fair Hill is late enough in the season that, hopefully, this will entice someone to challenge herself and use that race for experience and their Cat 3/4 drop race,” said Hebe, referring to the best-10-of-11 scoring system used by the Champion System MAC Series this year.

The addition of these prizes marks an exciting update to MAC’s history of both depth and breadth in women’s races. In addition to Compton and Georgia Gould, who both won MAC championships early in their careers, last year’s series champion Laura van Gilder, who intends to defend her title, and runner-up Maureen Bruno Roy both went on to represent the United States at the 2010 Cyclocross World Championships. For more information on Champion System MAC Series races, see