This past Sunday saw the infamous Durham Cross race take place once again. Returning to Sunday for the first time in a few years, this years event saw over 135 participants take to the course in the Heber Down Conservation area in the northern part of Whitby.
The holiday weekend did not keep riders away as quite a few of the series regulars came out, as well as many making their first appearance this season for cross, and with a beautiful sunny day and temperatures in the high 20′s (not your typical cross weather), the racing was sure to be fast and exciting.
The day started off with the Beginner Men, Master 3 Men and U17 youth's taking to the course. In the Beginner Men's race it was Colin Busby (Chain Reaction/Molson 67) taking another victory in the series with Bret Waghorne (The Hub Race Team) finishing just behind him to take second. Robin Watt was able to hold off Mike Patte (The Hub Race Team) for the third spot.
The Master 3 saw Chris Strahm (Cycles London Race Team) capture the hard fought victory with Kevin Tearle (Team CHCH) and Steve Smith (Evolution Cycles) rounding out the podium in an M3 race that had 32 participants take to the starting line.
The youth on the day saw all around strong racer Adam Jamieson (Team Hardwood Cycle and Ski Club) take the top spot over Connor Nevin and Stefan Milosevic (Chain Reaction/Molson 67). Siobhan Kelly (CoachChris.ca/Multisport-Zone) was the top youth female on the day.
In the second batch of races on the day, Kris Westwood (The Cyclery) brought his "A Game" to Whitby from Eastern Ontario by cruising to victory in the Master 2 Men category. Looking to add to their team's already impressive performances on the day, Chain Reaction/Molson 67 riders Jamie Sprules and John Provart captured second and third respectively.
The Junior Men race saw Conner Rapus take a commanding lead early and not look back as he captured the top spot with Morgan MacPhee (Soigneur Race Services) finishing up in second spot.
Some of MTB's top riders came out to participate in the Elite Women's race as Elite XC riders Laura Bietola and Mandy Dreyer (Lapierre Canada) made their first appearance's of the season in the Southern Cup Cross series. It was Bietola who captured the top spot on the day with Dreyer following close behind. Series regular Julie Marceau (Lapdogs Cycling Club) was able to to best her teammate Christiane Knobbe for 3rd. Michelle Cordy (HB Cycling Club) took home her second consecutive first place finish in the Master Women's race with Wild Bettys rider Racheal Mirvish following just behind and Jany Mitges rounding out the podium.
The last races of the day saw the Master 1 Men and Elite Men take to the course. The Master 1 Men was definitely a strong one with Jon Barnes (Trek Canada MTB) and Andrew Croutch (The Hub Race Team) in attendance along with many other strong riders. It was Croutch who would take this one in a time of 1:05:33 with Barnes finishing second and Evolution Cycle's Tristan Smit capturing the findal podium spot.
The Elite Men's race was a two horse battle from the start as even with some of the strongest cross racers in the province on hand, it was Jared Stafford (Ride with Rendall) and Mark Batty (Independent) who took off from the start and never looked back. The first half of the race saw these two neck and neck with them alternating position throughout. While all this was happening a battle for third place was developing with Norco Factory Team's Zach Hughes and Trek Canada MTB's Mitchell Bailey going back and forth to try and stake claim to the last podium position.
The final three laps would decide this race and it was Stafford holding off Batty for the victory with Zach Hughes making a big final push on the last lap to edge out Bailey for the victory.
Thanks again to all the riders, spectators, organizing crew and volunteers who made this a fun and exciting holiday weekend race and be sure not to miss out on this weekend's double dose of action with Midweek Cycling club hosting two races. Note the start times for these races.
Hope to see you there.
For pictures from the race, please visit www.cyclingphotos.ca