The strong numbers made us the largest team at Watkins Glen and one of the largest at Bristol.
Last night our biggest numbers came in the Men’s 4/5 field where we had 14 riders. Chris Bookman set the tone on lap two as he took off early for a prime sprint. Chris looked like he had the prime wrapped up but was nipped at the line. However, the early nature of the sprint doubled as a short break that forced the rest of the field to pick up pace and chase an OANB rider for the first of several times throughout the day.
After the field came back together, OANB took turns attacking for the rest of the race. The assaults began with 17-year-old junior Zach Shine who got away on both the third and fourth laps. Both breaks wore the field and the second break, the longer of the two, won him a prime, which was the first of his young career.
On the fifth lap our second junior in the race, 14-year-old Trevor McCabe, followed in the foot steps of his older teammate as he took a break on the hill out of the boot, again forcing the field to chase down a green and orange jersey. Although Trevor was caught, he was able to recover and finish in his first 4/5 field sprint, a great accomplishment for a young racer in his first season of racing.
On lap six the attacks continued, first with Paul Finnegan on the climb out of the boot, and then with Glen Wallace who created a gap on the final turn of the lap and held it into the beginning of lap seven.
Working into the final lap the team had forced a very large strong field to chase attacks throughout the day, and with the group all back together, we ramped up for the final sprint. As we worked up the boot climb, Zach again proved to be the rider of the day as he pulled teammate Tim Paul into a short breakaway.
The field suffered to close the gap Zach created, but even after being caught he still had something left. On the final turn he again moved up to give Tim one more selfless pull toward the finish.
With a couple hundred yards to go, the team had done all it could, and it was up to Tim to do the rest. Having sat strong near the front of the field for the entire race Tim unleashed a sprint that could not be matched as he won the field. Tim’s sprint just beat last year’s winner, a very strong sprinter, Ben Webster of RUDD Racing who took second. Congrats, Ben on a great race!
Not to be outdone, the women also found success on the day. Janae Holley found herself on the podium for the second time in two weeks as she took third in the Women’s 1-3. Janae’s finish was also a team effort as she received lots of team support from Mary D’Angelo. This is the first time the two had raced together, and I am looking forward to seeing what they will accomplish in the future.
Good luck to our racers at Bristol and Jackie in Syracuse. Those results will be posted when they become available.