MAC Points tighten up. ‘Cross racers head to Fair Hill Maryland, just outside Newark Delaware, on November 7 for what many believe could be the most pivotal day in MAC’s 2009 Championship Chase. The Wayne Scott Memorial Xross @ Fair Hill will be the first MAC race of the year where the Elite races will be sanctioned by USA Cycling, rather than UCI. Ironically, that status makes the race even more important within the scope of the MAC season championship because it’s the first opportunity for the points hunters to go head-to-head without the distraction of visiting riders.
“With the New Jersey Weekend drawing riders in search of UCI points, and Whitmore’s Super Cross Cup also being part of the NACT, Fair Hill becomes the most important race on the calendar for the local Elites,” says MAC Director Mike Hebe. “This is the race where Ryan Dewald, Wes Schempf or Andy Wulfkuhle need a win if they are looking to win the series. Also, Arley Kemmerer, Kristin Gavin and Nikki Thiemann need big races to try to get the last podium spot from the C3 stranglehold.”
In a reversal of the irony, though, the rider that may stand to benefit most at Fair Hill is actually an international. Swiss U23 star Valentin Scherz is spending this season racing in America and improving his English fluency, and he has made it known that chasing MAC points is very high on his list of objectives. Though his travel arrangements prevented him from competing at MAC’s opening weekend, he has been a threat at every race he’s attended, and he won Sunday’s mudfest at the Cat and Kitten HPCX. Scherz confirmed his intention of chasing the MAC Championship by being one of the first entries for Fair Hill; signaling, perhaps, that if any American rider wants to win the MAC Championship, they’ll have to go through Valentin first.
This week’s MAC race at the Fair Hill Equestrian Center will be a barnyard battle that will see the riders actually racing through the barns at Fair Hills’ Fairgrounds. Though Fair Hill is actually in Maryland, it’s proximity to Newark Delaware (home of the University of Delaware), makes it a prime venue for Delaware-based mountain bike and cyclocross riders and clubs. The system of mountain bike trails maintained by the Delaware Trail Spinners is considered one of the best cross-country systems east of the Mississippi River. The Wayne Scott Memorial Xross is being presented by two other groups with Delaware roots: First State Velo Sport and the duplicitously-named Delaware Cross Coalition of Delaware. The course at Fair Hill is a punchy one, with no major elevation changes but many accelerations and some difficult technical sections. (More info at BikeReg.com)
The MAC points battles have tightened heading into this weekend’s, and all signs point toward a major reshuffle following the race. Mo Bruno-Roy and Adam Myerson lead MAC’s Elite points championships. As the promoter of the Verge New England Cycle-Smart International, Myerson can be excused for not making the drive to Maryland. And fellow New Englander Bruno-Roy is trying to defend a points lead in both the MAC and New England Series standings and has elected to stay closer to home.
With former MAC champion Davide Frattini unlikely to attend the minimum of seven races this year, in part because of his impending wedding, it is a real opportunity for Mid-Atlantic riders Ryan Dewald and defending champion Wes Schempf to move up in the Elite Men’s standings. But they’ll have to deal with yet another international rider in Scherz, who could rocket up the standings later in the season when riders start dropping races in the best 7 out of 10 races format.
Bruno-Roy’s narrow points lead is in danger not only from defending champ Laura Van Gilder, who is currently in second place on the points table, but also Van Gilder’s teammate Dee Dee Winfield. Kristin Gavin and Arley Kemmerer lurk just behind.
Team C3-Athletes aiming for quad-double in MABRAcross. . The BikeReg.com MABRAcross series continues on Sunday November 8 with the Tacchino Ciclocross. The event moves to a new venue this year: Rosaryville State Park in Upper Marlboro Maryland, near Andrews Air Force Base. Like all BikeReg.com MABRAcross races, the race will have an excellent course, organization and competition. It will also have the “Suitcase of Sausage”.
The Suitcase of Sausage is, literally, a suitcase filled with sausage used to provide spontaneous mid-pack prime prizes throughout the day. Lead promoter Jim McNeely sees the Suitcase of Sausage not as a mere gimmick, but also as an allegory. “You see racing in Europe with this huge fan base of smoking, drinking, sausage-and-frites-eating and gin-swilling fans, and you realize it’s more of a mass appeal sport like NASCAR. We tend to take Euro sports and try to convert them into competitive brie & chardonnay eating. Nothing against brie & chardonnay, which taste wonderful when accompanied by sausage, but these sausage primes are a hit with everybody, racers and fans alike. It’s about racing and living with gusto.” In addition to heating up the competition among the mid-pack racers, the suitcase of sausage will offer kosher and vegetarian sausage alternatives, for those racers who want to live high off the hog, without eating any of it.
Of course, there are also rewards for finishing in the front of the pack. The Elite racers will be competing for $1,400 in cash, with fully-equal prize money for men and women. They can even use that money to purchase sausage, frites and beer at the race. (More info over at BikeReg.com)
Team C3-Athletes ‘s Wes Schempf, who won both the BikeReg.com MABRAcross and MAC championships last year, is counting on the weekend to propel him toward repeats in both series and to repeat as winner of Tacchino. Schempf currently has the BikeReg.com MABRAcross points lead and is in a strong position in the neighboring MAC series. On the Women’s side, the team’s new recruit, Lenore Pipes, currently leads the point standings with Elizabeth Harlow trying to make it a 1-2 for “the Dark Side”.
Other teams are standing in their way however. Adventures for the Cure’s Adam Driscoll, Alan North America’s Dave Weaver and the Haymarket Bicycles duo of Joe Dombrowski and Jared Nieters are all within striking distance of the points lead in the Men’s division. Meanwhile, Jennifer Maxwell of ATAC Sportswear/The Bike Rack and Hub Racing’s Arley Kemmerer account for three victories of the season’s four races and are in a strong position once dropped races come into the picture.
BikeReg.com MABRAcross Masters racing sees a completely different story with no one team dominating the championship. Dave Fuentes, by virtue of his two race wins, currently holds the points lead in the Elite 35+ division for sponsor Battley Harley Davidson. Kelly Benefits Strategies/LSV’s Bernie Shaio holds a narrow lead in the 45+ standings ahead of Randy Root (Evolution Cycling Club) and Ron Huebner (Potomac Velo Club).