NACT concludes in Southampton
Johnson, Elliott lead NACT series heading into final weekend.
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By Fred Dreier
The 2009 North American Cyclocross Trophy series comes to a close this weekend in the posh Hamptons area of Long Island, New York. Southampton Youth Services Park, a large swath of green built atop a former landfill, hosts the Whitmore Landscaping Super Cross Cup on Saturday and Sunday. Both races hold UCI C2 status.
The weekend is organized by the Hampton Velo Club, which has hosted cyclocross races at the park — called SYS by locals — for the past five years.
“It’s a really challenging lap — there’s about 300 feet of elevation gain each lap,” said Myles Romanow, the course designer and director of the club. “We have the luxury of having a lot of land to use, and we use it all.”
Romanow said the twisting course includes two major hills — a smaller bump called “Methane Hill” and much larger incline called “The Eliminator.” He also said the 3.1 kilometer course stretches the UCI length limit to its maximum.
“We do that on purpose,” Romanow said. “But the laps are so fast it’s not even funny.”
The Hamptons races draw smaller amateur fields than last weekend’s Mercer Cup in New Jersey, the third weekend of racing for the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross. Romanow expects between 400-500 total riders to register for each day of racing.
As of presstime, the men’s elite UCI field had 33 riders registered. The women’s elite field had just 20.
But there will be plenty of horsepower at the front end of the pro fields. The weekend’s highlight is another battle between Kona-FSA rider Ryan Trebon and the Canondale-Cyclocrossworld.com trio of Tim Johnson, Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll.
Trebon and Johnson split last weekend’s U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross weekend in Mercer County, New Jersey, with Trebon winning Saturday’s race and Johnson taking the victory on Sunday.
Johnson, Powers and Driscoll come into the weekend occupying the top three rungs in the NACT standings. Johnson missed the first two races of the NACT — he crashed and suffered a shoulder injury at the September 19 Star Crossed race in Portland, Oregon. But the Massachusetts native has rebounded, winning three of the series six ensuing races, including the October 31 and November 1 races in Boulder, Colorado.
Powers is making his return to racing following a week of illness that kept him out of the New Jersey round of the USGP.
Trebon has been all but absent on the NACT this year, instead turning his focus onto the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series. But the lanky Kona rider has won at Southampton before — he and Todd Wells each took wins in 2008. Johnson missed those races due to a knee injury.
Wells (Specialized) will not be in Southampton this year, nor will usual heavy hitters Geoff Kabusgh (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) or Trebon’s teammate Barry Wicks.
But the Giant duo of Adam Craig and Carl Decker will be present, as will Chris Jones (Champion Systems) and World Cup mountain biker Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes).
Many of the continent’s top female ’crossers are taking a pass on the weekend, however the races could boil down to a battle between Luna’s Georgia Gould, Sram-Primus Mootry rider Amy Dombroski, Giant’s Kelli Emmett and World Cup mountain biker Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes). Canadian Natasha Elliott (Louis Garneau), who leads the series, is another danger woman who could challenge for the win.
But the X-factor present in the women’s field is former Canadian national champion and USGP series winner Lyne Bessette. Bessette formally retired from bicycle racing in 2006, but has regularly jumped into elite cyclocross races since then.
Stay tuned to www.velonews.com for news and updates from the Whitmore Landscaping Super Cross Cup weekend.
Current NACT Standings
1. Tim Johnson, Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com, 305 points
2. Jeremy Powers, Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com, 234
3. Jamey Driscoll, Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com, 229
4. Jonathan Page, Planet Bike, 190
5. Andy Jacques-Maynes, California Giant Strawberry, 103
1. Natasha Elliott (Can), Louis Garneau, 240 points
2. Susan Butler, Monavie-Cannondale, 145
3. Alison Dunlap, Luna, 130
4. Katie Compton, Planet Bike, 120
5. Amy Dombroski, Sram-Primus Mootry, 88