Savannah – Race Report

SATURDAY words and pictures by Trish Albert/southeasterncycling.com

The Savannah Superprestige is the double race weekend that all Georgia Cyclocross racers look forward to. This year it was also part of the Southeastern Cyclocross Superseries, which is a 7 race series across 4 states. Saturday’s course is the shorter of two day’s courses as it eliminates going around the pond and through the woods. Riders are kept closer to the race track to avoid being in complete darkness after sunset. Lights are set up on the back of the course, illuminating the steps and a small hill. As always, riders loved the flat terrain, and the Halloween decorated Flyover was included. Racing Saturday started at 1:15 pm with the Cat. 5 and ended under the lights with Single Speed at 7:00.

The Masters 35+ saw a strong field. Ian Prunier (Smryna Bicycles) took the win over Brady Rogers (Litespeed-BMW). Daryl Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts) came in just behind them for third. In the Masters 45+, Sonni Dyer (ABRC) took off early in the race. Alan Burton and Dub Smith, Toyota Forklift teammates, worked together but could not catch him. They sprinted each other for second with Alan pipping Dub at the line.

A small field of Women Cat. 4 and Juniors lined up for the start. Jennifer Rossignol (Sorella Cycling) opened up an early gap, which she would hold until the end. Lisa Bongiorno (Fraizer Cycling) was second, and Rhys Mays (ATH CX) was third. In the Juniors, North Carolina rider Anthony Bailey caught the entire Women’s field except for Jennifer on his way to the win. Leon Waine (Junior Flyers) was in second and his teammate and brother Troy in third.

In the Men’s Cat. 3, Mclean Harris (Smyrna Bicycles) took his first win of the weekend. Jake Andrews (Macon CX Team) and Wesley Burruss (Outspokin Bicycles) rounded out the podium. In the Women’s 1/2/3, series leader Lisa Randall (Sorella Cycling) was not absent. This opened the race for another rider to win. On the first lap, Kim Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts) and Elizabeth Lee (LG Factory) opened a large gap on the rest of the field. They played cat and mouse for the next 35 minutes. It came down to a sprint with Elizabeth beating Kim at the line. Floridian Katherine Adams (GearLink Racing) was third.

The Men’s Cat. 4 race Ben Braxley took the hole shot and pulled away on the first lap. A group of 2 and then 4-5 riders worked together to try to reel him back in, coming within about 4 bike lengths. He was able to stay off the front and finished with a 10 second gap. There was a close contest for 2nd and 3rd with Scott Morris (Village Volkswagon) and Yoni Pollack (Bikeways) taking the other two spots on the podium.

Nick VanWinkle beats Thomas Turner by an inch! Though Nick got the win, they were both fined 100 Swiss francs for sprinting in the hoods like loons.

The Pro/1/2 Men’s race looked more like a crit than a cyclocross race with a large group staying together for the first several laps. On the dismounts, the roadies would fall off slightly but catch back up on the flats. Eventually, Thomas Turner (Team Jamis) and Nick VanWinkle (Litespeed-BWM) pulled away as they worked together. Neither had an advantage on the other one. They came into the final turn with even wheels. Nick proved the cunning roadie and waited until just the right second to unleash his sprint. The official’s camera and two photographers got the shot of Nick winning by one inch. Spectators erupted in applause and cowbells at such an exciting finish. Thomas got second, and Frank Trevieso (Smart Stop) took third.

Justin Bristol (Handsome Dude p/b Balloons) says that these are "clearly white grapes."

The Single Speed race, always fun to watch, was even better with several riders in costume. Seen were a green grape, Josh Frank (ATLX) as a a rockin redneck (complete with mullet and his wife Amy’s bike shorts), Tim Barrett (EPTC) as a Christmas tree, and Dan Mccarthy (Smyrna Bicylces) in a sombrero helmet. Even with the fun, there was a race to ride. Mcclean Harris (Smyrna Bicycles) won his second race of the day. 14 year old Mikey Waine (Junior Flyers) beat up on the old guys to take second, and Michael James (Prima Tapps) was third.

SUNDAY

Cat. 4 Men by Ben Braxley
Sunday: The Cat 4 group started Sunday’s race as a much tighter group than that seen on Saturday. There were a few additions to the field with fresh legs but no one seemed eager to set the pace in the first half lap. The field was very tight coming through the spiral of death and it didn’t start to spread out a bit until the whoop de doos on the back side of the pond. Coming over the fly-over 6 riders were together and gaining slight separation from the field. Ben Braxley and Scott Morris were towards the front but as the breakaway rounded the 180 away from the pits, a Sunday only rider went down and carried Braxley’s wheel with him. By the time he had his chain back on the field was gone. The front five held together with Scott Morris pulling away with two about two to go. Ethan Sealy and Alex Newton (currently 4th and 5th in the point series respectively) battled onto the podium to round on the day.

Masters 45+ by Alan Burton
A chess match broke out in the Sunday Masters 45+ race. Having been schooled the previous day as Sonni Dyer rode away for an unchallenged win, the GACX regulars planned a conservative strategy relying on Sonni to animate the Sunday proceedings. Bobby Thrash and Tom Butler initially took the reins with strong pulls around the oval and into the infield. Sonni made his first acceleration following the flyover with only Dub Smith and Alan Burton able to follow. The trio continued on for a few laps alternating between covered accelerations by Sonni and steady tempo pulls by Alan and Dub. By lap four Tom and Bobby rejoined the front group adding to the cat and mouse games that were playing out. On the final lap Alan took the lead with a fast tempo through the pond terrain in an attempt to lure Sonni into a mistake. The group was stretched but reformed exiting the flyover and entering the track when Tom made the next move accelerating off the front. Sonni took chase with Alan and Dub in tow catching Tom at the barriers. Alan accelerated over the barriers and through the trees pulling away from Sonni and Dub but the gap proved to be too small as Sonni chased and passed Alan in a drag race to the line. Dub followed in for third with Tom taking a strong fourth ahead of Bobby.

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