By Emmerson Campbell
Robin Persaud yesterday sped off with the feature 35-lap Invitational race when national cycling coach Hassan Mohammed and R&R International staged an 11-race cycling meet at the National Park circuit, Thomas Lands.
This is the 21st year that R&R International has teamed up with Mohammed to sponsor the ‘Teach Them Young’ programme.
Persaud, who was also the defending champion of the event, won the race in one hour, 17 minutes and 34 seconds, leading the top six of Marlon ‘Fishy’ Williams, Raymond Newton, Orville Hinds, junior Paul DeNobrega and Walter Grant-Stewart home respectively.
Grant-Stewart, DeNobrega and Newton also earned a prime prize each while two went to Hinds and three to junior Raynauth Jeffey.
The event, which attracted the crème-de-la-crème of local riders, started off at a fair pace but Hinds, Newton and the two top juniors, DeNobrega and Jeffrey, broke from the field at the fifth lap.
This lead peloton was pursued by Persaud, Williams and Grant–Stewart. The two pelotons eventually became one at four laps to go with the riders interchanging the lead.
With about 400m to go, the top six finishers were still bunched together but DeNobrega rose from his saddle and started his sprint to the finish line. He was chased by Persaud and the other top three but at 100 metres to go Persaud found another gear and sprinted to victory.
Before the Invitational race, Newton rode off with the Veterans under-50, five–lap first place trophy and the prime prize beating Kennard Lovell and Thuran Harris who were second and third respectively.
Prior to the feature Invitational race, DeNobrega also won the juniors and juveniles 10-lap race and the prime prize in a time of 23 minutes and 27 seconds ahead of Jeffrey and Kurt LaRose.
Adrian Sharma won the BMX boys 12 to 14 years, three-lap race ahead of Yusuff Latiff and Khemraj Sanichar respectively.
Jamal Arthur won the boys’ nine-to-12 years, three-lap race ahead of Filbert Walters and Denzil Huntley respectively.
Arthur completed a sweep as he also won the two-lap BMX boys six-to-nine years race, Thuran Garbarran was second while Huntley settled again for third position.
Makel Diaz took top honours in the three-lap BMX boys Open race ahead of Cleveland King and Ricardo Sharma. In the 12-to-14-years, boys and girls, three-lap race, Naomi Singh, Alfi Sonaram and Stephan Lovell were the top three finishers in that order. The prime prize also went to Sonaram. Singh won the event in eight minutes and 26 seconds.
In the five-lap Veterans over-50 race, Kirkwood Kellman was first, followed by Lance Rose and Wilfred Thom respectively. Kellman’s winning time was 14 minutes and 38 seconds. Monty Parris won the Veterans over-60 years, five-lap race ahead of Harry Lall and Maurice Fagundes.
There were no entrants for the Upright cycle race.
At the prize giving ceremony, Mohammed thanked the representatives of R&R International for their sponsorship and the cyclists for participating in the meet and making the programme a successful one.
He announced that R&R International will also be sponsoring a 40-mile road race which will pedal off today from the Demerara Harbour Bridge to Bushy Park and back.
A representative of R&R International shared out the prime prizes as well as the trophies to the winners and the runners-up at the National Park circuit.