Largest turn out ever
By Franklin Wilson
Continental Cycle Club’s (CCC) Warren ‘Forty’ Mc Kay won his second Cheddi Jagan memorial cycle road race in three years yesterday in the Ancient County, out pedaling Robin Persaud (Carlton Wheelers Cycle Club) and junior Geron Williams (CCC) to win the exhausting event in a time of two hours 15 minutes 46 seconds.
The distance of the race, which started outside the People’s Progressive Party office New Amsterdam by daughter of sponsor BK International Inc., Briony Gail Tiwari, was shortened due to ongoing road works on the Corentyne.
Competitors turned back at Number 51 village instead of 55 and finished at Port Mourant, the largest number of riders taking part in its 12-year history, forty seven.
Another junior, Christopher Holder, took the fourth place with Ian ‘Dumb Boy’ Jackson and Junior Niles closing out the top six.
Williams won the junior category ahead of Holder with Berbician Neil Reece, who looked very well early on, placing third.
Veteran, Kennard Lovell successfully defended his number one spot ahead of Gary and Wilbert Benjamin in that order. Also successful in his category was West Demerara’s Dexter Wilson (upright), Garfield Lorimer of Linden and Shawn Frank placed second and third.
The oldest participant was 76 year-old Edward Williams who received a special trophy. He also competed last year.
Mc Kay, who captured three of the eight prime prizes, Persaud two, with one each to Williams, Raymond Newton and Alex Mendes, rode a smart and hard race, going out on the early break along with Niles, Persaud, Reece, Williams, Mendes and Newton.
They established a healthy and commanding five-minute lead on the second pack of about 12 riders who were never able to connect as the race matured.
Mc Kay, who disclosed that he will be leaving for neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago in a few weeks time to compete, said he felt privileged to be a part of the race for the fifth time, having won it in 2007 and was the runner up to Alonzo Greaves last year.
Greaves was not present to defend his title since he left to compete in T&T last week.
The wind was very strong on the upward journey Mc Kay recounted, while noting that the others who were on the break with him decided to ‘chink’ on him which gave him the energy to attack. Deciding to go this route changed the situation as his peers started to cooperate.
“Coming to the end of the race, some of the guys started to fade and I was fading myself since we were riding extremely hard but in the end I got the win and I was happy with that.”
The CCC rider, who won the National Sports Commission (NSC) Mash road race on the West Demerara a few weeks ago, placed third in the Forbes Burnham birthday race two Sundays ago behind winner Darren Allen and Newton and also has a third place in the National Park so far this year attributes to his fine regimen of hard work and dedication.
He informed that in two weeks he’s off to T&T to ride with Team Trek of which he is captain and tour advisor.
Geron Williams will also be leaving for T&T, he and Mc Kay will spend more than one month with Team Trek. Apart from the T&T members the club also has two Jamaicans on their roster.
While there, Mc Kay and Williams will compete in the Southern Games and the West Indies versus the World Series.
At the presentation ceremony, which was attended by the sponsor Brian Tiwari and his family, Minster of Culture Youth & Sport – Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Public Works – Robeson Benn, Minister of Labour – Manzoor Nadir, Presidential Advisor – Navin Chanderpaul, Regional Chairman Zulfikar Mustapha and Director of Sport – Neil Kumar among others, Briony Gail Tiwari congratulated the competitors whom she said were all winners.
“We are pleased; we are heartened because this is an event held in memory of a great individual, an individual who has done tremendously well for this county and someone that we will remember for years to come.” She also gave her family’s commitment of supporting the event in the future and even upping the level of sponsorship.
Race organiser Hassan Mohamed noted that for next year’s event, females and veterans over-50 will be catered for. The veteran category at the moment is open but measures will be put in place to accommodate the very enthusiastic stalwarts who compete despite having to do so with far younger veterans.
Dr. Anthony in feature remarks noted that the race was great, one of the best to date and one of the best ways to honour the late Dr. Jagan. Dr. Anthony reminded the gathering that Dr. Jagan was a teacher, friend, leader, and was able to inspire generations of Guyanese to do good things for their country.
Chanderpaul, who is also chairman of commemoration committee, said that the cycling race, one of three which will be held during this month, started what would be one month of activities in memory of Dr. Jagan’s death and birth anniversaries.
Cycling races are slated for West Demerara and Essequibo while there will also be domino, softball cricket, cultural programmes, lectures and photo exhibitions.
Dr. Cheddi Jagan, an avid supporter of sports during his lifetime, served as Chief Minister of British Guiana from 1961 to 1964, prior to independence and as President of Guyana from 1992 to 1997. He was born on March 22, 1918 and died on March 6, 1997.
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