PHILIPSBURG—French-side club Association Sportif de Marigot (ASM) was back in the headlines after three of their top riders stamped their authority on Sunday’s race one of the Friendly Island Cycling Championship series to win the Elite category.
The power of youth never looked so good. In a similar ASM flashback to last year Reni Arrondell, Dyclai Nagau Grell and Amacin Kayl’s ring of steel was impenetrable. They were among six riders from ASM who broke away early to take the lead and among the challengers were Max Jansen from Curacao and Travis McGarry but there was no stopping the blue train and in the end no lung-busting sprint was needed, the gap big enough for Amacin Kayl to cross the line first, followed by Dyclai Nagau Grell in second and Reni Arrondell third.
With 64 participants, from Anguilla, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Curacao, and visiting riders from the USA and Canada, and a good crowd of spectators, the first race ticked all the right boxes. The race start was on the Pondfill with the course going up to the Carrefour roundabout and back down onto the Pondfill and down to the Sundial School roundabout.
Youth 12 -16 and Masters A did eight laps, Elites 10 laps, and Masters B and females six laps. The very competitive 12-16 category saw Wilson Sanon (JCO) break away from the pack and maintain his lead all the way to a well-deserved solo win. Yusuf Destouches (ASM) was second and Patricio “Blade” Carty’s son Jahkim was third. Blade was rumoured to be participating but decided to concentrate on coaching his young proteges from the Sandy Ground VCSG Club.
Nicole Erato (Pain Cave) showed just what a powerful rider she is to win the women’s category. Not only did she win but she clocked a time of 4:30 on the downhill segment from Carrefour to the sundial roundabout, giving her a fifth-place ranking. No one has yet broken the speed record for this segment set by Wilfred Chittick in 2016. A US$200 prize is up for grabs if anyone does. Isabelle Adams was second in this category and Dayana Mota (Chain Breakers) third.
Not far off for that speed segment on Sunday were Olivier Martin (4:02), Max Jansen (4:04) and Travis McGarry (4:08).
Masters A saw the triumphant return of Dean Hodge (Tri Sport Tigers), seemingly out to pasture for most of the year but who came roaring back into contention to win the category, relegating old foes Mark Maidwell (Mo Trouble) into second place and Otis Paines in third.
Masters B was another large and very competitive category. Riders were keeping a wary eye on the amazing Ralph Bredl (64) who regularly punishes far younger rivals but it was not to be for Ralph who settled for fifth place. The win went to Mo Trouble’s Joseph Holaman with second place going to the 1984 Canadian cycling champion Andrew Hanson (61). George Farrel came in third.
The first three riders in each category received trophies and cash prizes and gifts from Tri Sport.
“All the riders were safe, we had no major incidents,” said organiser Antonio Aventurin. “We had excellent support from the police and the motorcycle riders who watched out for the cyclists. We want to show our appreciation to all the volunteers, to Tri Sport, Neutral News which filmed the race, and to the public who came out. We had a fantastic crowd.”
The next race in the five-race series is on February 23 in Simpson Bay.