Team Coco’s ace rider Hamzah Eastman prevailed in a four-man tussle to the finish line to seal victory in the 27th edition of the 35-lap school boys and invitational race in the R&R International 11-stage cycling race yesterday.
Not only did Eastman battle 18 of the best riders in the country, the 21-year-old had to face persistent showers at the inner circuit of the National Park in a split-second win, stopping the clock at one hour, 17 minutes and 13 seconds (01:17:13).
Coming into the penultimate turn before the homestretch, Trojans’s Romello Crawford was the first to jump as determined cycling fanatics, who also battled the weather, started to encourage the riders. Eastman’s club mate, Jamaul John soon followed with Eastman on the outside, wheel-to-wheel.
Around the final turn, Eastman, on the outside, seemed to be in danger of slipping on the wet track but maintained his composure to battle it out with Crawford who has developed a reputation of being one of the fastest on the final stretch.
From the get go, Eastman was among the first breakaway group which was led by `We Stand United’s’ Deeraj Garbarran who had acquired a healthy lead from the six men trailing.
However, it soon boiled down to a four-man lead pack between John, Crawford and PSL’s Curtis Dey. Eastman maintained his position in the lead pack despite a puncture that saw him changing his machine.
In the end Eastman won from Crawford, John and Dey in that order in the 35-lap event.
With the leader changing every lap, John copped four primes while Eastman bagged three and Dey, one.
Orville Hinds finished fifth and Walter Grant-Stuart sixth.
Grant Stuart had passed Christopher ‘Chicken Legs’ Griffith in the final lap after mechanical problems had forced him to switch bikes.
In the other races, David Hicks won the 12-14 years-old boy and girls’ three-lap race while Briton John won the juveniles 10-lap race in 00:24:32.
In the veterans’ under-50, Junior Niles was dominant, taking 12 minutes to complete his five laps while Garry Benjamin won the Over-50 category of the event in 00:12:58.
The riders will now head over to West Demerara today where Eastman will look to make it two-in-two as he defends his road race title in the event sponsored by R&R international. The riders will go wheel-to-wheel in a gruelling 46-mile race to Bushy Park and back to Schoonord, the starting point of the race.
The event begins at 08:00h.