$4000 purse and dozens of prizes from Mad Alchemy Embrocation, Dugast Canada, Banjo Brothers, Jägermeister, and zone41 theater divvied up by Manitoba’s finest cyclists.
Reports began flooding in via Facebook and Twitter just after midnight on a gorgeous late-summer prairie night. DarkCross had taken the bar for a cycling event in Manitoba and sent it heavenward. With the Red River Co-op Speedway transformed into a fast and flowing 3 kilometer course that utilized every inch of the facility, a huge crowd of cow-bell toting fans, the imposing Qualico Homes Flyover, the now legendary Wallace + Wallace grandstand run-up, old school sounds from DJ Riddim, and two sets from Winnipeg’s best new rock band, The Vibrating Beds, it was a night few will soon forget. Speedway General Manager Blair Bodley echoed that enthusiasm, saying “the atmosphere was unlike anything we see during the course of the summer and if you missed it, you need to be there next year.”
Danny Bubis, President of Cat 1/2 Race sponsor Tetrem Capital Management added, “In all my years cycling in Winnipeg, never have I seen an event with that level of fan and rider participation. It was exciting for everyone.”
Racers were equally impressed with DarkCross. David Coughlin, who spent three years racing pro cyclocross in Belgium, had this to say, “In Europe the courses are spectator driven. They love fast and twisty courses with sand pits, flyovers, deep muddy run-throughs, and lanes that get close to the beer garden. In many ways, it is the fans who propel you through the race. DarkCross felt exactly like this sort of race—especially running up the grandstand through the crowd, with the cowbells, the yelling, and the rapid fire camera flashes. I came out the top of it flying high. The course design was fantastic, with open technical corners, varied terrain, and excellent flow.”
The excitement of the races matched the excitement of the event as a whole. The Cat. 1&2 Men’s Race was not decided until the late in the last lap. Last year’s second place finisher, Don Sawatsky (Woodcock Cycleworks), attacked as they exited the dirt track oval for the final time and held on to take a narrow win over Daniel Enns (Fast Old Guys) and Craig Penner (FGBC). Anna Schappert (FGBC) easily won the Tétro Design sponsored Women’s Cat. 1/2/3 Race, finishing just a few seconds behind Cat. 3 Men’s winner Jake Allaire (MB Dev. Team), in his Snider Orthotic Design and Epp Siepman Engineering sponsored race. The Cat. 4 Women’s race – sponsored by Manitoba Egg Farmers – was Haley Warkentin (MB Dev. Team) and the Klassen Concrete sponsored Men’s Cat. 4 race winner was Kurt Penno (MB Dev. Team). More than 100 raced in the Kids and Open races.
“DarkCross 2012 . . . what an event!” said James Buhler of title sponsor Wallace + Wallace Fences, “Starting off with perfect weather and a great crowd, the course was thoughtfully designed to use as much real estate as possible—the varied terrain providing racers with ample opportunity to showcase their talents. Congratulations to all of the organizers and riders who created another cyclocross race that will be memorable for years to come.”