BASP Sierra Point Night Race
10 November 2012
At the Clif Bar Sierra Point Night Race, the third event of 2012 Bay Area Super Prestige Cyclocross, Elle Anderson (Ladies First) raced from the back of the field to win the race for Category A Women. The competition was replete with some of the best Women cyclocross racers in Northern California. For Category A Men, Aaron Bradford (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobster) also fought his way to the front. Bradford’s win was part of a Rock Lobster one-two in an exciting and event-filled race.
The Women’s field could qualify as the dream race for this season. Many winners from the different Northern California cyclocross races were on hand: Emily Kachorek (TBB.CX), Ellen Sherrill (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobster), Helene Drumm, Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law), and Emily Thurston (Team Rambuski Law). Having recently returned to cyclocross racing, only Kelly Bonar, amongst the top seven finishers, has yet to win this season.
Despite a call-up that left Elle Anderson near the back at the start, the Ladies First racer was able to make up huge ground by the mid-point of the first lap. “It was a pretty good field,” remarked Anderson, “I took an outside line and moved up pretty quickly in the first lap. [I] got lucky because I kinda open up when I get to the front early.”
Midway through the race, the front of the field was controlled by Brems, Thurston, and Anderson. Thurston apparently mis-read the course, perhaps following bad clues on the ground in the dark, and took a wrong turn into the course tape. From here, Anderson passed the World Master’s Champion Brems and took charge of the race.
“I hung in there the first two laps, watching to see how things would play out,” continued Anderson, “Emily [Thurston] and Karen [Brems] were really pushing the pace…which was great. [They were] taking turns attacking but I never let a gap open up. Going into the third lap I just decided to put in a surge right before the finish stretch. I put on the gas, kept [it] on for a lap and a half, and slowly crept away.”
Anderson took the comfortable win with Brems following with a solid second place finish. Kelly Bonar pipped Thurston in a sprint for third place. Kachorek grabbed the fifth spot whilst Helene Drumm came home in sixth. Ellen Sherrill took seventh after starting from the back row.
“This has been a blast,” said Anderson, “I can definitely say that my favourite races are night races. This had such a great atmosphere. The course was really fun and technical and the crowds were amazing. The heckling was just superb.”
In the race for Category A Men, Ben Jaques-Maynes (Ritte Bear Development) and Scott Chapin (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobster) lead the way during the early laps. The pace they set was ferocious and both riders were on single speed bikes.
Whether it was the night time flood lights or the bumpy uneven ground at the TRP Brake Zone, leading to the boisterous Heckle Hill, several riders had difficulty negotiating those plank barriers. The smaller problems saw back wheels catching the barrier and flipping up into the air. The worst outcomes saw riders taste dirt.
In one lap, the race’s complexion changed as Chapin’s bike made contact with the barrier; he went down and his bike clashed with Ben Jaques-Maynes. Both racers suffered briefly but Bradford was able to take advantage and reach the front of the field. This after a call-up leaving him well back at the start of the race.
From here the race was first a three-rider battle as Jacques-Maynes, Chapin, and Bradford continued the early cracking pace. All three were racing without gears. Jacques-Maynes was “a little light” and under-geared for the course’s long, black-top straights.
“I was probably sitting tenth at the time after coming back from fortieth,” said Bradford, “Scott [Chapin] and Ben Jacques-Maynes must have collided at some point. Maybe Scott [Chapin] was bunny-hopping and Ben [Jacques-Maynes] was running. They must have contacted. It really broke up the organization of that lead group.”
“I hopped the barriers and put a surge in right then,” continued Bradford, “It caught some people off guard. I went from tenth to first at that point and it made it a little easier to keep my groove. I saw Ben [Jacques-Maynes] got gapped. Scott [Chapin hung] on to my wheel when I put on my surge. When he surged he moved ahead and then I sat on. The two of us did the team tactics thing [and] kept [Jacques-Maynes] out there in no-man’s land.”
Chapin and Bradford raced away from Ben Jacques-Maynes and never looked like giving up their lead. The remaining question was the final order at finish. Rounding the final turn onto the start-finish straightway, Bradford had the advantage. Chapin put in a push to pass Bradford but his team mate proved up to the task. Ben Jacques-Maynes survived a challenge from Michael Hosey (Marin Factory Team) to take third place. Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law) finished behind Hosey in fifth.
“I knew Ben [Jacques-Maynes] was going to ride his one speed, that’s the only bike he has” said Bradford, “Scott [Chapin] and I have been enjoying our one speeds. We came into it just thinking let’s ride the single speeds, ride as hard as we can, and see if we can shake it up and get to the front. We did exactly that. It’s all that training on the one speed in the Santa Cruz hills.”
Category A Men
1. Aaron Bradford (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobster)
2. Scott Chapin (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobster)
3. Ben Jacques-Maynes (Ritte Bear Development Team)
4. Michael Hosey (Marin Factory Team)
5. Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law)
Category A Women
1. Elle Anderson (Ladies First)
2. Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law)
3. Kelly Bonar
4. Emily Thurston (Team Rambuski Law)
5. Emily Kachorek (TBB.CX)
6. Helene Drumm
7. Ellen Sherrill (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobster)
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