By Samuel Whyte
Berbice’s own Romello Crawford made good use of home conditions to edge out a
very competitive field in a fierce sprint home to take the fourth annual Benjamin Sports Store cycle event in a record time of one hour 54 minutes and 29 seconds. The race, which was sponsored by overseas based former National cycling champion Wilbert Benjamin, was staged to coincide with the opening of the Benjamin Fitness Gym and Car Wash to compliment the Benjamin Sports Store which was opened a few years ago.
As expected it was fireworks from start to finish as the multitude of riders, numbering 58 took to the starting line. The 50 miles event rode off from in front of the Benjamin Sports Store at Lot 220 Courtland Village, Corentyne, Berbice, proceed to the No,51 Police station before returning to its place of origin.
There was a flying start as the riders rode for about a mile in the opposite direction before turning back as they were sent on their way by Ashley Benjamin, daughter of the sponsor.
It was not long after the riders were off, that a bunch made up of Geron Williams, Jamal John and Silvio Inniss broke away. The leading bunch continued to pedal away until the turn back point.
However, the chasing pack was closing in quickly and it was not long after they were caught
by Crawford, Paul De Nobrega, Hamza Eastman, Shakeel Agard and Andrew Hicks. It was tough going after that as the leaders continued to battle at great speed in their bid to outdo each other. There were no quarters asked and none given as the leaders pushed forward in their effort to gain the advantage. However, no one was able to make the break on the downward journey.
The riders were literally locked together until about 200M out when Crawford used his knowledge of the home conditions to jump the field to edge home in one of the closest finish, beating De Nobrega and Eastman by a wheel. Williams, Agard, Hicks, John and Inniss completed that sprint. Stephano Husbands and Mark Harris rounded out the first 10.
In the veterans category, the evergreen Junior Niles took the top podium position as he crossed the finishing line with Ian Jackson second. The other four places were taken by Jaikarran Sookhai, Paul Choo-wee-Nam and Ralph Williams.
Zaman Khan won the Juvenile category ahead of Corwin Collins.
Among the 12-14 riders, it was David Dick that won from Jamar Helliger and Joel Thom.
The mountain bike race was taken by Ozia McAuley from Keon Thomas, Julio Melville and Michael Holder.
On the distaff side it Deance Welch rode home ahead of Shenika Tiexeira to take top honours with Nyanza Poyer third.
Jamal John rode away with five of the prime point prizes with Inniss, Eastman and Geron Williams taking one each.
The females, the mountain bike riders and the 12-14 cyclists rode from the starting line to Tain, UG Campus and back to the finish point.
The event was organised by the Flying Ace Cycling Club.
Former New Amsterdam Mayor and Businessman Errol Alphonso officiated in the activity and also delivered remarks.
Benjamin once again was happy to be home and be able to contribute to his country. He also thanked all the participants for taking part in the event.
Cyclists were drawn from throughout Guyana. The police led by Inspector Rose and Sergeant Ali also came in for honourable mention in their control of traffic.
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