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Mayho’s absence leaves race wide open

Defending champion: Zoenique Williams (Photo by Mark Tatem) ¬

Shannon Lawrence and Zoenique Williams will put their Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race titles on the line next Monday.

Both riders captured glory for the first time in one of the Island’s premier cycling races last year in contrasting fashion.

Lawrence capitalised on a crash that eliminated main rival Dominique Mayho — the two times defending champion — from contention, while Caribbean Cycling Championship medallist Williams blew away the women’s field.

Mayho is presently off Island and will miss the race, leaving Lawrence and the rest of the pre-race favourites to claim bragging rights in his absence.

Mayho’s hopes of becoming only the second rider behind Kris Hedges to win the prestigious race three times on the trot were dashed when he slid out turning off Church Street onto Cedar Avenue with racing fans bracing for an exciting sprint to the finish with Bermuda team-mate Lawrence.

With the threat of Mayho out of the way, Lawrence cruised to victory, which was achieved in 25min and 41sec.

Unlike her male counterpart, Williams simply had things all her own way in the women’s field after breaking away from the rest of the pack coming over Waterlot Hill, crossing the line in 30:15.

Junior male and female honours went to Justin Ferreira and Gabriella Arnold last year.

A new junior female champion will be crowned this year as Arnold has aged out.

This year’s race will have added spice as it will be the first time it has started in St George’s with the cycle course taking a slightly different route in Hamilton than the course for the Appleby Bermuda Half Marathon.

Rather than turning down Lane Hill, the bikes will continue on Cavendish Road along Reid Street extension to Court Street where they turn left and then right onto Front Street.

From that point riders will remain on the traditional course of Queen Street, Church Street and then on to Cedar Avenue to the finish line outside of Leopards Club.

“Given that this is the Bermuda Day Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race, it could start on Mars and riders would be excited about it,” Peter Dunne, the Bermuda Bicycle Association president, said.

“The crowds are always so enthusiastic that they give the competitors a real boost to perform even better. It is going to be a great day.”

Dunne reminded the viewing public to exercise extreme caution alongside the racecourse, particularly on the streets of Hamilton.

“The pack passes at significant speeds,” he said.