by Trish Albert/Southeasterncycling.com.
Oglethorpe Speedway Park (OSP) in Pooler, Georgia was host to the 5th annual Savannah Superprestige Cyclocross Race weekend. The course for Sunday was the classic Savannah course, flat and fast. The start was on the track. It went into the Death Spiral followed by a set of 2 fast barriers and then back to the track through the finish line. The course went outside of the concrete barriers into a wooded section. Past the first pit was a long sandy straight away. Every race has a signature feature. OSP’s is the TFFO. The Two Fingers Flyover was destroyed earlier in the year by a storm, and the OSP crew worked overtime to rebuild and widen it. Riders negotiated the TFFO and then a three step dismount. The course went around the pond although there were no alligator sightings this year. It then came back under the TFFO and towards the Death Spiral. In addition to racing, Sunday had a few special events. “MJ” cooked up Belgian Waffles Sunday morning to benefit the Savannah Wheelmen Juniors Fund. More than one racer was seen holding their stomach from eating too many waffles. A SSP tshirt was given for the best costume for racers and spectators. Mitch Askew worked the microphone for all of the races, providing color commentary to entertain everyone. Sunday’s weather challenge was a strong northwest wind kicked up by Hurricane Sandy. Dust and sand clouds could be seen as some fields rolled by.
The Elite Masters started off the day’s racing. A small group got off the front of the 35+. Soon it was down to 3 and then 2 as Nate Sibley (Scott Bicycles) rode off the front solo. In the final lap, Daryl Sawyer (Fulton Flyers) and Brady Rogers (Litespeed-BMW) were together. Brady hit the barrier without unclipping and went down. Daryl was able to pull away for 2nd place. Brady held on for third. In the Masters 45+, series leader John Phelan (ACC) took the lead early and never looked back. Ken Jones (Velo Brew) was second, and Michael Schmid (Deeds Publishing) was third.
A small but fast field of Juniors and Cat. 4 women toed the line next. Anne Moore (Moody/Evergreen) took the win for the second time this weekend in the Cat. 4 women. Jen Undutch (Sorella Cycling) was second. In the Juniors 15-18, Thomas Petit won with Haegan Altizer (Junior Flyers) in 2nd, and Willem Kaiser (Junior Flyers) in 3rd. Brothers Troy and Leon Waine (Junior Flyers) battled it out in the Juniors 14 and under. Leon was able to hang onto the wheel of the older Juniors for part of the first, distancing himself a bit from Leon. He would hold on to take the win.
In the Men’s Cat. 3, Ryan Murray (Nouveau Velo) won with Hutch Zimmerman on the second step of the podium. The Women’s 1/2/3 provided spectators with good action. There was some question as to whether one rider would be able to race. “She” rolled up to the line with a very hairy mustache. After officials determined it was Amy Frank (ALTX) in a Halloween costume, the ladies were allowed to go. While Shannon Greenhill (Peachtree Bikes) took the early lead, she was not able to shake Paula Burkes (Vantaggio) and Elizabeth Lee (Garneau Factory Team). Finally with two laps to go, Shannon pulled away and soloed to the win. Paula and Elizabeth chased but could not catch her. Paula made it through the barriers before Elizabeth, and she held on for 2nd place. Elizabeth got third. From the back of the Women’s 1/2/3, Trish Albert (Sorella Cycling) was estatic not to get lapped by Shannon for the first time this year.
The Men’s Cat. 4 field was dominated by Austin Sholly (Macon Cyclocross). He took an early lead and kept pulling further in front of the rest of the field. Charlite Putnal (Big Ring Racing) fought hard for second place. In the Masters. Cat. 4, Floridian Todd Leedy (352 Racing) won with Johnny Mayero (Frazier Cycling) in second place. Unfortunately, there were also several crashes.
The course in Savannah is the fastest that Georgia Cross visits. Average speeds for the Cat. 1/2/3 race approached 18 mph. Thomas Turner (Team Jamis) won by a wide margin, and Doug Ollerenshaw (Litespeed-BWM) got second.
The Singlespeed racers were able to run huge gears not normally run in Georgia. It paid to choose wisely, so that they were not spinning out. Series leader Aaron Pyle (ACC). David Marbut (Fulton Flyers) and Jon Wienandt (Team Fond Du Lac / Oshkosh Cyclery) rounded out the podium.