The Malta Independent 4 June 2020, Thursday

Mountain Biking: Formosa, Aquilina race to victory in Mġarr

Maria Vella--Galea Tuesday, 18 February 2020, 12:14 Last update: about 5 months ago

Trustmoore Cross Country National Point Series kicks off to record participation

The Malta Mountain Bike Association kicked off the 2020 Cross Country National Point Series in Ta' Lippija, Mgarr area on Sunday.  The first race attracted a record number of participants who took part in various categories, including the new Novice Class aimed towards attracting more riders to the sport. 

With near perfect conditions, a few muddy tracks and a few technical climbs, there was no limit to the effort put in by those taking part. Competing with the local cyclists, were also a group of Latvian cyclists who regularly visit Malta this time of year for a training camp. 

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First to hit the tracks were the  Under 12s, Under 15s and Novice categories, all of whom tackled the shorter three lap course to the cheers of the enthusiastic crowd present.  There was also participation in the E-Bikes category, however at time of going to press the result in this Category was still under review.

 

Elite

Maurice Formosa (The Cyclist) shone as he shot out of the start line,  keen to ensure a comfortable position leading the fourteen strong pack.  Behind him Brandon Sultana (Gozo CC), Jason Vella (Agones SFC) and Mark Zammit (Mosta AF Sign CC) were eager to stave off Formosa's attempts.  With Formosa having a two minute advantage, a battle was taking place behind him for the second and third podium places - a fight to the finish ensued between Sultana, Vella and Zammit who all give noteworthy performances. Yet in the end it was Sultana and Vella who made it to the podium. 

Sport

The largest category for the day, saw the top podium placing being taken by Latvian riders - Udris Haralds and Urlvis Bernzis. In third place was Ack Hili (Agones SFC). The trio took the lead throughout, though places were often being changed along the way.

 

Masters 40+ 

Team Beria Racing Italia Rider Patrick Scicluna, dominated the race throughout, gaining a lead of nearly four minutes over second placed Paul Zarb (The Cyclist), who was followed in third place by Eduard Rens.

 

Masters 50+

Enrico Brandamante (Agones SFC) was a clear winner in this category - a regular participant, Brandamante maintained the lead throughout, followed by David Pace and newcomer to the Series - Raphael Fenech Adami.

 

Juniors

It was a close battle in the first three laps for Clyve Chetcuti (Mosta AF Sign Studio) and Gozitan Stefan Scerri with just seconds separating the two. The defining laps where the fourth and fifth when Chetcuti gained over a minute advantages over Scerri, who had to tackle some technical issues.  In third place was fellow Gozo CC team mate Darren Sultana. 

 

Ladies

 

Sunday's Race saw the largest participation in this category for quite a while.  Despite a bit of an inauspicious start, Marie Claire Aquilina (Team Greens) continued to show her prowess,  winning the race with a comfortable advantage.  The biggest surprise of the race was Fiona Darmanin Tedesco (Mosta AF Sign Studio) who despite competing against the likes of Team Green riders Danica Bonello Spiteri and Lara Buttigieg, who were regular podium finishers in last year's season, gave a determined performance throughout and finished in third place.  Bonello Spiteri's undisputed experience enabled her to slowly edge Darmanin Tedesco to second place by a mere two seconds.

 

The Association expressed its gratitude towards the Authorities for supporting the event. In its attempt to limit single use plastics, the Association provided water dispensers which enabled riders to fill their own bottles without the need for use of disposable cups.

 

"We hope that Sunday's race provides a good kick start to the season - we have seen 77 riders take part - the largest group ever. We are thrilled to see that the Novice category was well received and the Association's objective - that to attract more members to the fold, seems to have been achieved" enthused Pierre Zammit Endrich, President of the Malta Mountain Bike Association.  "The competitive levels between riders in all categories seems to keep rising, making it an enjoyable morning for the spectators that were present enjoying the action".

 

, H20nly and Magri Cycles who offered technical support throughout the race.

 

The next race of the Series will take place on Sunday 23rd February in Mizieb. More information can be obtained by visiting www.maltamountainbike.org.mt.

 

 


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