By Tammy Ebersole
The 2003 Vergegear.com Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Championship Serieswrapped up with racing action at Blue Diamond Park ‘Cross in New Castle,Delaware. This first time venue scored a big thumbs -up from both Mid-Atlantic’crossers and spectators as it was one of the most interesting and diversecourses this season. The host team, First State Velo Sport, made greatuse of the BMX-moto-cross Park terrain while still keeping the course “cross-friendly”.
That said, good technical skills were still a must for the day.
With the sound of moto-cross bikes in the background, the elite womencharged off the line, led by Sarah Uhl (Saturn). When the pack hit thefirst left turn off the pavement, chaos broke loose mid-field as severalriders got tangled when the course narrowed.
That distraction mid-field allowed the leaders to open up gaps immediately.Uhl opened up the early lead she had established but Amber Itle (Wissahickon)still had Uhl in sight and was working hard to bring her back. Behind Itle,a group of riders battled back and forth for the majority of the race.Contained within that group was Erica Miller (Wissahickon), Megan Render(Snow Valley), Deidre Winfield (Extreme Racing) and current Vergegear.comseries leader, Betsy Schauer (Fort-GPOA). Schauer eventually broke awayfrom the group but not without a fight from Render. Render kept the raceclose but was unable to overtake Schauer. Uhl, the 2003 Vergegear.com SeriesChampion in the U-23 category held on to take the win. Itle soled in forsecond and Schauer took third. Schauer’s third place finish locked up herpoints lead and made her the 2003 Elite Women’s Champion. Render took fourthplace and Winfield finished fifth.
In the elite men’s race, it was Glen Turner (Mainline Cycling) thattook the hole shot off the line. Turner had a huge gap coming off the roadbut his recent string of bad luck continued as he snapped his chain soonafter he left the pavement.
With Turner gone, the field stayed together for the first half of thelap then it was Les Leach (Wissahickon) who took a flyer off the front.Leach’s lead held for a lap or two but he was eventually reeled back bya group that had formed behind him. Within that group was Leach’s teammate,Mike Yozell who was the next to attack.
Yozell broke free and opened up a gap that he held until he was caughtand passed by Ryan Leech (Fort-GPOA). With Leech clear, Yozell went backto the group behind and worked in support of teammate Joe Reynolds. BesidesTurner’s previously mentioned string of mechanicals, Reynolds must be nextin terms of bad luck as he has also had a few tough weeks. The worst beinga flat on the final lap at Raccoon ‘Cross one week ago that denied hima chance in the final sprint for the win. With Yozell looking to bringReynolds up to Leech, Reynolds’ chances were looking good until a riderattempting to pass on the inside of a tight corner locked bars with Yozelland took him down. With that Yozell was out.
Springing free from the pack was cyclo-cross new-comer and top mountainbike rider, Greg Marini (Bike Doctor). Marini slowly closed the gap toLeech and made contact at the start of the bell lap. As Leech and Mariniheaded out onto the course for the last lap, Marini got in front of Leechand it appeared for a moment that Marini was capable of leaving Leech behind.
Leech found another gear and closed the distance to Marini’s wheel.As the riders headed out to the back section of the course, Marini wasstill leading. When they came back in sight, he was still leading but asthey hit the run-up for the final time, Leech hit the top first. Leechwas first down the descent and first to hit the road for the final stretchto the finish. Marini was not ready to give up and took the fight all theway to the line. It was Leech crossing first with Marini a very close second.Third place was won by Greg Wittwer (LSV-Trek) in a sprint over Reynoldswho claimed fourth. Kyle Wamsley (Fuji) rounded out the top five.
Eric Schlauch (Somerset Wheelmen) dominated the Masters’ 35+ class totake the win and the Vergegear.com Series title. Schlauch and Rob Hacker(Lite Bites) were tied for the lead coming into the last race but Hackerwas a no-show due to illness and that made the day a little easier forSchlauch.
With the final points being tallied, look for announcement of all the2003 Vergegear.com Mid-Atlantic Series winners this coming week.
Blue Diamond Cross Results
1. Sarah Uhl (Saturn)
2. Amber Itle (Wissahickon)
3. Betsy Schauer (Fort-GPOA)
4. Megan Render (Snow Valley)
5. Deidre Winfield (Extreme Racing)
6. Erica Miller (Wissahickon)
7. Sami Fournier (Velo Bella)
8. Lisa Most (Wissahickon)
9. Donna Anderson (Evolution Racing)
10. Tammy Ebersole (Evolution Racing-IF)
11. Tracy Lea (Fuji)
12. Erica Aller (Fuji)
13. Bonnie Stoeckl (Evolution Racing)
14. Kristine Church (Univ. of CO)Men
1. Ryan Leech (Fort-GPOA)
2. Greg Marini (Bike Doctor)
3. Greg Wittwer (LSV-Trek)
4. Joe Reynolds (Wissahickon)
5. Kyle Wamsley (Fuji)
6. Gunnar Shogren (Fort-GPOA)
7. Bobby Lea (Fuji)
8. Les Leach (Wissahickon)
9. Greg Ferguson (Fort-GPOA)
10. Kris Auer (LSV-Trek)
11. Bill Elliston (Ideal Tile)
12. Joey Thompson (Balance Bar-Devo)
13. Joe Alachoyan (Ideal Tile)
14. Joe Picillo (Evolution Racing)
15. Jonathan Hansen (Snow Valley)For full results or additional series information, please go to www.monkeyhillcs.com