By Emmerson Campbell
Ian Jackson, Saturday, won with the feature 35-lap Invitational race staged by national cycling Coach Hassan Mohammed and Demerara Distilllers Limited (DDL) under its Diamond Mineral Water brand.
The 11-race cycling meet was held at the National Park circuit, Thomas Lands and is the seventh year that DDL has teamed up with Mohammed to sponsor the ‘Teach Them Young’ programme.
Jackson won the race in one hour, 19 minutes and 13 seconds, from Seon Alves, Marlon ‘Fishy’ Williams, junior Paul DeNobrega, Eric Sankar and Walter Grant-Stewart home respectively.
Jackson, Grant-Stewart and Alves also earned a prime prize each while two went to Sankar.
The event, which attracted 29 riders, started off at a fair pace but most of the top riders which included Alonzo Greaves, Junior Niles, Robin Persaud and Geron Williams dropped out.
With the more seasoned riders out of contention, Williams was the favourite to take home the spoils, however, Jackson had other ideas.
Most of the riders were bunched up for the majority of the race but after 20 laps the top six separated themselves from the field.
The lead peloton journeyed for quite some time until Alves and Jackson turned up the tempo and opened a small lead of their own.
With six laps to go Alves and Jackson’s lead increased even more as the duo rode as a two-man team.
At the bell lap, the duo’s lead was insurmountable and the race became a battle for third.
With 200 metres to go Alves and Jackson were still together battling for first place. However, Jackson found another gear and sprinted to victory.
Adrian Sharma won the BMX boys’ 12-to-14 years, three-lap race ahead of Khemraj Sanichar and Jason Jordan respectively while Briton John took top honours in the BMX boys’ nine-to-12 years, two-lap race ahead Kapel Dev Bhisham and Thuran Gharbarran respectively.
Shameer Baskh rode off with the veterans under-50, five–lap, first place trophy and the prime prize beating Kennard Lovell and James Mentore who were second and third respectively.
Makel Diaz took top honours in the three-lap BMX boys Open race ahead of Hamza Eastman and Adrian Sharma.
In the 12-to-14-years, boys and girls’ three-lap race, Naomi Singh and Alfie Sonaram were the only two starters with Singh carting off the first place trophy while Sonaram took the prime prize.
In the five-lap veterans over-50 race, Virgil Jones was first followed by Wilfred Thom and Courtney Hackett respectively.
Maurice Fagundes won the veterans over-60 years’ race ahead of Harry Lall. Fagundes and Lall were the only two riders in that category.
Top junior Raynauth Jeffrey won the juniors and juveniles’ 10-lap race and the prime prize in a time of 22 minutes and 23 seconds ahead of Raul Leal and DeNobrega.
The race for the upright cyclists was won by Nigel Jacobs with Andre Pettie placing second. Jacobs and Pettie were the only starters. The two-lap BMX boy’s six-to-nine years race was won by Christopher Correia with Ken and Isaiah Sahadeo pedaling in second and third respectively.
At the prize giving ceremony, Mohammed thanked the representatives of DDL for their sponsorship and the cyclists for participating in the meet and making the programme a success.
He announced that the next event will be the Banks DIH Limited sponsored 50-mile road race under the Powerade brand which will pedal off Sunday from Wales to Bushy Park and back to the Demerara Harbour Bridge for the finish.
DDL’s Sales Manager Alexis Langhorne and Management Trainee Trish Doodnauth shared out the prime prizes as well as the trophies to the winners and the runners-up at the National Park circuit.