Cycling’s first National Champions will be crowned for the 2019 season when the Bermuda Bicycle Association stages the National Mountain Bike Championships, sponsored by Winners Edge, this Sunday at Ferry Reach.
Five championship categories will be contested, which include the Junior Male, Junior Female, Male Masters, Female Open and Male Open.
It is the Male Open event that is highly anticipated to be a hotly contested race between the defending Champion Robin Horsfield and the islands top road racer Dominique Mayho who has already won the two races he has competed in locally this season.
Back in Bermuda especially for the event Horsfield who is in college in Barrie, Ontario and who specializes in Mountain Bike racing is determined to defend his title on Sunday, and fully appreciates the challenge, “My training has been going quite well but as you can imagine it is hard to ride a lot when its - 10 Celsius outside and snowing. To make up for that I’ve been doing some cross-country skiing and spending a bit of time in the gym”. Respecting the course, and the competition Mayho will no doubt offer, Horsfield says “I would be thrilled to be able to win the nationals again this year but like everything I’m going to have to work hard at it. I look forward to racing on a familiar course again and I hear there is some new pieces of trail too which I’m excited to ride” His season will see him racing in the Elite Category in the Ontario Cup Series and the Canada Cup Series.
Despite better known for his road racing, Mayho is no stranger to the winning circle on a mountain bike having won the championships multiple times in previous years, the last being in 2017. But this will be the first time he and Horsfield have gone head to head after missing last year’s event, which was Horsfield’s first race in the adult category.
Mayho acknowledges that with Horsfield totally focused on Mountain Bike racing, the younger riders’ technical skills will likely give him the edge on some sections of the demanding course over 75 minutes of racing but says, “I am really looking forward to going up against Horsfield. I have heard a lot about him of course and have seen him race as a junior and am expecting a hard race.” Renowned as a rider who throws down the gauntlet early in races Mayho does not plan to change his strategy on Sunday, “There are a lot of things that can go wrong on a tight technical course like Sundays so I don’t plan to get caught up behind other riders, it’s not the way I race.”
Not to be underestimated, Adam Kirk, already in the winners circle this year and Brian Steinhoff will be looking to capitalize on any mistakes the two favorites might make.
The Women’s Open race will see Caitlin Conyers as the favorite for the title as her fitness and strength on the road has already been evident this year. However, Ashley Robinson, who unquestionably has far more experience, and is known for her bike handling ability off road will no doubt prove to be a worthy opponent especially in the early stages of their 60-minute event. It may well come down to the survival of the fittest to decide who is crowned champion.
The Junior Male race is expected to see a battle between two of the island’s top junior riders Nicholas Narraway and Alexander Miller, the Junior’s race for 60 minutes.
Last year’s Male Masters Champion, Hans Hirschi will be looking to defend his title on Sunday with experienced Charles Swart sure to offer up a stiff challenge, Dennis Fagundo could also find himself in contention.