The scorching heatwave that hit the Maltese islands over the weekend did not deter twenty-six cyclists competing in the BDO Malta National Points Series which took place in Selmun. Due to the searing heatwave conditions, organisers decided to cut on lap off the route for all categories.
The Elite Category got off to the usual fast start with Mark Bonnici and Maurice Formosa leading the pack. Both cyclists put their expertise in technical courses into good use enabling them to create a gap in the tricky downhill section. However, it was Formosa who took the lead when he set up a strong pace on the uphill section to create a comfortable gap for himself, permitting him to win his first race of the series in a time of 53 minutes 46 seconds.
In the meantime, Etienne Bonello quietly gained ground on this section to jump into second place overtaking Bonnici and Patrick Scicluna. A puncture in the start of the second lap put a temporary stop to Bonello’s efforts. Despite this delay, Bonello put in an impressive ride in an attempt to catch up with Bonnici and Scicluna who had ridden in tandem for most of the race. Bonello missed out on a podium placing by fourteen seconds. Scicluna and Bonnici claiming second and third place respectively clocking times of 57 minutes 36 seconds and 58 minutes 21 seconds respectively
In the Open Category, things were hotting up between Mark Zammit, Ryan Darmanin and Wayne Schembri. These three cyclists have dominated the podiums for most of the Series, with Zammit claiming three top billings. The resolve shown by these riders resulted in their recorded lap times being more often than not close to some of the Elite riders’ timings.
In the Masters’ Category, it was a three-horse race between Enrico Bradamante, Domenic Cutajar and Alessandro Frullani. Bradamante, who won all the races he competed in throughout the Series, kept the lead throughout. The Junior’s Category was a solo ride for Benjamin Mangion, whilst in the Ladies Category Marie Claire Aquilina continued her nearly unbeaten record with a comfortable win over Lara Buttigieg.
|Elite (5 laps)|
|Open (3 laps)|
|Ladies (3 laps)|
|1st||Marie Claire Aquilina||39.58|
|Masters 40+ (3 laps)|
|Juniors (3 laps)|
After the fourth race of the series it is Patrick Scicluna, Etienne Bonello and Brandon Sultana who are leading the Overall Classification. With two races still to go, and thirty points separating Scicluna and Bonello, claims for the title are still open. Similarly, in the Open Category, it seems that podium placings are in for Zammit, Darmanin and Schembri, though gap between them is still open for changes to the current standings. Barring any force majeure, Marie Claire Aquilina seems to be well on track for overall title in the Ladies Category. Enrico Bradamante seems to be well poised to win the Masters’ Category however he needs to compete and do well in the remaining two races. The Junior Category, which is the least competed category, sees a tie between Nicholas Attard Montalto and Benjamin Mangion, who have both won a race each.
“The Association was pleased to see that participation numbers were consistent to other races despite the heatwave that hit Malta on race weekend. We are still a bit disappointed with female and junior participation however overall we are very satisfied with numbers and performance – the cyclists give a good show especially to the spectators that faithfully come to watch our races” commented Pierre Zammit Endrich, President, Malta Mountain Bike Association.
The BDO Malta National Points Series will take a short break for the summer and will return with two races on Sunday 3rd and 10th September, followed by the National Cross Country Championships to be held on Sunday 1st October.
The 2017 Cross Country Series is being sponsored by BDO Malta and supported by Magri Cycles, Carm & Co Ltd (SIS products) and Island Beverages (H20nly).
For the Association’s latest news and calendar of events, please visit – http://www.maltamountainbike.org.mt and Facebook and Instagram pages. Alternatively contact the Association on firstname.lastname@example.org