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Monday 25th March 2013

The standard of bicycle racing is on the rise in Antigua, so is the interest of health, fitness and leisure riding which also leads to some of these riders to start racing. The sport of cycling started from the competitive nature of the human as who can ride better, longer or have more skills and most times to earn the bragging rights of the above mentioned aspects of cycling. The Cycling Association added a tagline to the 2013 cycling season as "the next big thing in Antigua and Barbuda" based on its growth, awareness and its positive and negative aspect on the local, regional and International cycling scenes.
Jyme Bridges already set his mind on tagging his name on the next big thing in Antigua and Barbuda by capturing the top title in both of the association's races hosted this year. The ABACA Pan Am Base Circuit race took place last Sunday 17th March on the roads surrounding the Pan Am Base in Coolidge area where spectators saw the top class go for 35 laps on the 1.5 mile circuit equaling to 52 miles. The race at some points looked as if it had many favourites, with the legendary, Robert Marsh launching attacks to lead the race on several occasions and a host of other names off on the front to break away trying to get home by themselves. A notable break away effort made my B-Class Conroy Thomas who lead the race by close to 2 minutes for several laps but was not enough to get him home. Other attempts came from an improving Alvin Merrick, Neil Lloyd, Bobby Simon, Marvin Spencer and others, all of whom got reeled in by the peloton to bring the race down to an exciting sprint finish.
Huge spectator crowds gathered at the finish line to witness and make their pick of the day. As the crowd burst the corner to take the finish straight, it was clear that Jyme Bridges had the race in the bag. The Rattlers Club rider surged ahead of the group to easily win his 2nd consecutive race for the season. Bridges completed the 52 mile race in a time of 2:15.53. Robert Marsh of the East Side Raider Cycling Club discovered his sprinting ability to edge one of the island better sprinters to place 2nd in a time of 2:15.53.766 earning his 2nd consecutive 2nd place finish for the season. Omaro King of the Rattlers club had to settle for 3rd recording a time of 2:15.53.801 ahead of Garfield Henry and Alvin Merrick who was 4th and 5th respectively.

B-Class had a great showdown as Conroy Thomas continues to show vast improvement as he led the race for most of the 30 laps of this class. However, his arch rival, Tesheed Gordon of the East Side Raiders worked with the advice of his experienced club leaders and timed the race to sprint from behind to pass Thomas over the line to win his 2nd consecutive B-Class race. The Junior rider placed first in a time of 1:55.40. Conroy Baba Thomas placed 2nd in a time of 1:55.41 ahead of Antigua's Triathlete, Rory Butler who placed 3rd in a time of 1:59.37, Jaleel Cannonier was 4th and Mervin Gore 5th in the B-Class.

Kevinia Francis won the Female Class; she completed the 12 laps in a time of 54:43 ahead of Lindsay Duffy who was 2nd in a time of 55:19. Alisha Francis placed 3rd in a time of 1:01.21. All 3 ladies represented the Road Runners Cycling Club.
Colin James easily won the Junior Class. The Young Rattler completed the 25 laps, 37 mile race in a time of 1:38.07 ahead of Joel Phillip of Team Terminix who placed 2nd in a time of 1:40.11. Road Runners, Zackyle Joseph was 3rd in a time of 1:49.42.
Nigel Fabian easily won the Cadets Class over the rival Simmons brothers; Dexter Simmons Jr was 2nd and David Simmons 3rd. The winning time for the 10 laps Cadets race was 41:42. Vaughn Gomes won the 12 laps Beginner Class in a time of 50:24 whilst Peter Kelsick won the Masters Class in a time of 54:10.
Special thanks go out to Eddie Matthew of Matthew's Auto Parts. Matthew sponsored the event and hosted his usual hospitality tent where he provided refreshment and entertainment during and after the event. Mr. Matthew deemed this venture as giving back to the cyclist and friends of the sport he enjoys.
Meanwhile, the Antigua and Barbuda Amateur Cycling Association will be hosting their Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 27th March, 7:30pm at the Multi-Purpose Cultural Centre. Members are asked to attend and be on time.

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