With riders like Maurice Formosa, who this year remains unbeaten, Stefan Scerri, Jason Vella and Mark Bonnici, it was inevitable that the winner of the elite male category would not be decided in the first lap on Sunday’s Cisk 0.0 MMBA XC National Points Series race in Majjistral Park.
From the word go, Stefan Scerri took the lead with Formosa, Vella, Bonnici, Sultana and Borg, in a close group, all aiming to take the front position in the narrow pathways.
As the race progressed there were several place changes between Formosa, Scerri and Vella.
However, by the penultimate lap it was evidently clear that Formosa’s unbeaten run would continue.
Behind him Scerri and Vella were not giving up easily.
Scerri finished in second place. Vella’s determination to secure a podium place showed in the final hundred metres of the race, when a flat tire threatened him to stop.
Resolute as ever, Vella carried the bike on his shoulder to sprint to a finish, just ahead of Mark Bonnici and Mark Zammit, who delivered a good race.
Zammit had to contend with the frontrunners, and worked hard to move in towards the front of the pack, beating Sultana and Borg to finish in fifth place behind Bonnici.
In the Sport category, Robert Zammit took the lead followed by Etienne Cutajar and Christian Zammit.
However, by the end of the first lap it was Cutajar who took the lead and kept on going to win the category. He was followed by Robert Zammit and Christian Zammit in second and third place.
The 40’s category saw Justin Gauci continue his winning streak, in spite of Stephen Grima and Domenic Cutajar taking the lead in the starting lap.
The rest of the race resulted in a neck to neck contest between Gauci and Grima, with Gauci sprinting to the finish line a mere three seconds ahead of Grima.
The ladies’ category saw the largest number of participants for this season.
Marie Claire Aquilina emerged the winner, followed by newcomer Diana Muscat who kept trailing Aquilina for most of the race. Lara Buttigieg had to work hard to stave off attempts by Fiona Tedesco to take the third place on the podium.
The 50s Category saw Raphael Fenech Adami and Enrico Brandamante challenge each other with the latter winning the category.
A substantial amount of youth riders took part in the race, with Ryan Gatt (U17), Liam Daly (U15 Boys), Ziija Fuji (U15 Girls), Neil Cassar (U12 Boys) and Nina Debono Curmi (U12 Girls) taking the top place in their respective categories.
“Mountain bike races never fail to give an adrenaline rush. Both for participants and spectators alike. The course in Majjistral is notorious for narrow lanes making it more challenging for riders as they jostle to secure a place in the front” remarked Pierre Zammit Endrich, president of the Malta Mountain Bike Association.
The National Points Series is sponsored by Cisk 0.0, Gatorade, and San Michel and supported by Malta Cycling Deal and Noel Vella Engineering Works.
The next event is the Cisk 0.0 XC National Championships in Miżieb on Sunday.
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