Record-breaking Dominique Mayho and Nicole Mitchell swoop to Packwood title glory
Dominique Mayho rewrote the history books by clinching his fourth Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race title yesterday.
The 27-year-old headed into the annual race in a three-way tie alongside Kris Hedges and Wayne Scott with the most victories, but now finally holds the record to himself having held off a strong challenge from Conor White and Alexander Miller.
Working in tandem with VT Construction-Madison team-mate Jamie Cousins, the pair managed to repel the breakaways of White and Miller from the start line in St George’s through to Flatts, before the race became a three-way tussle between Mayho and his younger rivals heading into Hamilton.
With the invaluable support of Cousins, Mayho crucially had enough energy for one final sprint down Cedar Avenue to cross the line in 27min 18sec to regain his Male Open title and, more significantly, finally stand alone at the top of the record books.
White managed to pip Miller to the line to claim second place in a time of 27:20, with the latter crossing the line less than a second behind. After his selfless ride, Cousins eventually settled for fourth, crossing the line in 28:06.
“Finally I’ve won No 4,“ said Mayho, who previously won the race in 2012, 2013 and 2018 before relinquishing his title to Kaden Hopkins in 2019. ”After losing the title in 2019, I was hoping to come back in 2020 and get that monkey off my back.
“Obviously, the pandemic meant we’ve had to wait another year and it was starting to get to me a bit. Thankfully, the race went ahead this year and I was finally able to win that fourth title.
“I’m so proud to be hold that record alone now. I’ve been tied with Kris Hedges and Wayne Scott for so long, but it’s definitely a proud moment to be alone on four victories.
“In Bermuda this is the biggest race there is; it’s the one that keeps me up every night in the build-up to the race, and I’m just so happy to have won.”
Reflecting further on the race, Mayho paid homage to his team-mate Cousins, conceding that without his support the race might have well panned out very differently against the punishing tactics of White and Miller.
“Conor’s [White] game plan seemed to be going off really hard from the start and I was really hurting at the end and so it almost worked,” he added. “I think he and Alexander [Miller] pushed the pace to try and tire me out a bit, but thankfully I had Jamie Cousins with me to help cover those attacks.
“We managed to do that throughout and that allowed us to dictate the pace off the front a bit more. By Store Hill, Alexander made a break but thankfully Jamie shouted at me to chase and luckily he did because it was a crucial part of the race.
“From there it was myself with Conor and Alexander attacking right to the last corner, but I managed to get to the front and just got my head down to the line.”
Having failed to shackle Mayho earlier in the race, White, who claimed victory in the BRCC Individual Time-Trial last week, conceded he had no answer for his rival’s greater sprint prowess in the crucial closing stages.
“Unfortunately by the final sprint I wasn’t at my best as I was pretty tired from all the attempted attacks throughout the race,” he said. “I had to try and make it hard for Dom from the start if I had any chance of tiring him out. I went from the outset and so did Alexander. By the finish I think we were burnt out.
“Dom always seems to have that extra punch in the final sprint and, unfortunately, we just couldn’t go with him.”
While Miller may have missed out on overall glory, he was left delighted with the consolation of taking the top honours in the Junior Male category, in which Cameron Morris claimed second place in 28:54 and Tommy Marshall third in 28:55.
“I was really happy with my performance and to take victory in my division because that was my main aim,” he said.
“There was an unspoken allegiance between myself and Conor because we all know what a great sprinter Dom is. We knew coming into the finish, if he was still there then he would more than likely win the race, so we tried to hurt him early on.
“We did what we could but unfortunately it just wasn’t to be. I started the sprint a little earlier than I perhaps should, but I was trying to catch the others by surprise. By the sprint I was going for second, but Conor managed to take me on the line.”
There was also delight for Nicole Mitchell, who claimed the Female Open title narrowly ahead of Liana Medeiros and Karen Smith.
From the early stages of the race, it became a straight battle between Mitchell and her young Winner’s Edge team-mate Medeiros, with the pair working together to put clear distance between themselves and the rest of the field.
Approaching the final turn on to Cedar Avenue, Medeiros’s junior gearing disadvantage proved decisive as Mitchell was able to sprint clear and claim victory in winning time of 33:33.
Medeiros, 17, who clinched the Junior Female honours, crossed the line just three seconds later for an impressive second place overall, with Cora Lee Starzomski completing the top three in 33:41.
“I’m super excited to have won,” Mitchell said, who hailed the efforts and burgeoning talent of Medeiros. “I couldn’t have asked for a better race or partner throughout it.
“I really couldn’t have done it without Liana [Medeiros], who was brilliant throughout the race and has an incredible future ahead of her.
“We knew there was a strong group of women behind us and so we agreed we couldn’t let up and worked together to maintain that gap at the front. She was super strong and unfortunately it came down to the sprint finish, which was always going to be difficult for her on junior gearing.
“This race was huge for me. My mum has had some health issues this year, so this victory goes out to her.”
Meanwhile, Kelise Wade took top honours in the Youth Girls Under-11 race ahead of Naiah Raynor, while the Youth Girls 12 to 14 title went to Charlotte Millington, ahead of Evans Welch and Zoe Mir.
In the Youth Boys Under-11 category, Makao Butterfield raced to victory ahead of Jeon Wolfe and Brandon MacDougall, while Gordon Smith prevailed in the Youth Boys 12 to 14 race, ahead of James MacFarlane and Ollie Hayward.