The third race of the Cisk 0.0 National Points Series, hosted by the Malta Mountain Bike Association at Ta Ċenċ, Gozo, provided some thrills and upsets as current leader Luke Borg failed to make the podium, in spite of being one of the race favourites.
The nature of the course at Ta Ċenċ meant that an aggressive approach had to be taken by riders in order to keep their positions ahead of their competitors.
The first lap of the six-lap course, saw a number of falls and crashes causing disappointments, particularly in the highly competitive Elite category.
Borg was out to defend his unbeaten run this year, however, competition was strong from riders like Jason Vella, Clyve Chetcuti, Mark Bonnici, Brandon Sultana and Stefan Scerri who were both racing on home territory.
Damages to Mark Bonnici’s bike put paid to his efforts towards the end of the second lap, leaving Scerri and Chetcuti in contention for top billing and throughout the remaining four loops of the course, they raced neck to neck.
Ultimately, a strong push in the final lap by Chetcuti saw him take his first win of the series, with Scerri settling for second place.
A nasty fall towards the end of the first lap meant that Jason Vella lost a bit of traction but nonetheless a determined execution from him saw him finish in third place.
The ladies’ race saw Diana Muscat edge past Lara Buttigieg to take the lead from the start. Despite several attempts by Buttigieg to take the lead, Muscat forged ahead to take the win of the day. Felicienne Cini completed the ladies’ podium.
The Sport category saw Gozitan Darren Sultana take a comfortable lead ahead of teammate Josmar Vella who was only seconds ahead of third-placed Keith Bartolo.
In the 40+ category, it was a battle of wits between Stephen Grima and Alex Portelli.
Grima’s win was only assured in the last metres of the race.
Gordon Zahra completed the 40+ category’s podium.
Enrico Bradamante registered another 50+ category win. Behind him were Carmelo Abela and Raphael Fenech Adami.
The junior and youth classes were well represented. Justin Micallef won the U-19 category.
Nathan Goodhand, Chylen Fava and James Vassallo were the top three riders in the U17 category.
The U15 boys category was won by Liam Daly, who beat competition from Kai Debono and Daniel Luke Spiteri.
The U15 Girls category was won by Nina Debono Curmi who positioned herself in front, gaining a strong lead over Zija Fuji and Katie Anne Vella Wood.
Zac Bugeja, Jurgen Mercieca and Jake Said made up the U-12 boys podium, with Kim Micallef Cann, Mikela Ann Spiteri and Mickaya Fava completing the girls top-three standings.
Pierre Zammit Endrich, president of the Malta Mountain Bike Association, expressed his satisfaction at the outcome of the third race.
Apart from being well attended, the course was a highly technical and challenging one which gave riders an adrenaline filled morning, whilst for the large number of spectators present, the action proved to be a spectacular sight.
The fourth race of the Cisk 0.0 National Points Series is scheduled to take place on April 16 in Pembroke.
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