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Mountain bike season off to memorable start at Government House

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Air time: Manning Smith shows off a few tricks at Government House

The new One Communications Mountain Bike Series season got off to a spectacular start with a memorable opening outing in the grounds of Government House.

Hundreds of competitors of all ages took advantage of the rare and generous offer from Rena Lalgie, the Governor, to host the first race of its kind on the northern hillside of the 33-acre estate, the largest open green area in Pembroke Parish.

For Lalgie, who soaked up the thrilling action throughout the day, it was a chance to see an idea which originated while supporting Bermuda’s cycling contingent at the Commonwealth Games, finally come to fruition.

Not all pedal power: Kaleb Camara shows grit to get up one of the punishing hills

“At the Commonwealth Games Peter Dunne [president of the Bermuda Olympic Association] and I had a conversation about how fun it would be to host an event here and so I’m just so excited that we’ve managed to make it happen,” she said.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for myself to see so much of the community come out and enjoy the grounds and see the full range of people taking part from the really small children right the way up to the professionals.

“It certainly beats looking over the wall on to North Shore and seeing a snippet of these guys ride past. I’ve had a chance to walk around the course and see all of the racing, which has been amazing.

“The turnout has been incredible and for me to be able to see everybody here inside the grounds enjoying themselves, and so many Bermudians who may not have the had the chance to do so before, is just really special.

“The organisers Fat Tire massive have done an incredible job and I hope everyone has had a great day. For me it’s been really incredible and such a privilege to have been part of an event like this.”

The action on the course featured Conor White at his dominant best as he started the new campaign with an emphatic victory in the Open 60 Minute category.

Connor White pulls clear of the field to win the men's open race at Government House

Taking the race to his rivals from the outset, White completed an impressive 19 laps in the allotted time, completing one more than the rest of the field, with Kavin Smith settling for second place ahead of Alan Potts.

“It was a pretty challenging course, particularly with the hill sections and trying not to get stuck in the grass,” said White, who is in his road racing off-season. “Having the chance to ride here was pretty special because obviously we’re not normally able to compete on these grounds.

“I’m in my off-season and so it was nice to come back to mountain biking because it’s how I got started in cycling. I’m usually off island when the races are held so it’s great to be back here for one.”

Daniel Ringer (147) on his way to finishing third in the men's open 30-minute division at Government House

The event also proved a successful outing for another of the island’s elite road racers, with Caitlin Conyers leading home the female riders after completing 14 laps of the course, one more than Jennifer Wilson, with Jennifer Lightbourne completing the podium places after managing 12 laps in the allotted time.

“I was definitely a little overambitious on the first few laps and then I blew up so I was just hanging on in the end,” said Conyers, who hailed the opportunity to race on the grounds for the first time.

“I’m definitely not quite as skilled on the mountain bike just yet and it felt like a full-on 60 minute time-trial, you’re full out the whole way round.

Kelise Wade and Hudson Ferris make their way around the course
A supporter cheers on MiCha Lewis during his race at Government House

“However, it was just so much fun and just really special to be able to ride here. The governor is so kind for allowing us to do this and hopefully we haven’t messed up the grass too much and we’ll be invited back next year.”

In the Open 30 Minute category Dominic Smith prevailed in the male division, completing eight laps, one more than Dunne in second and Daniel Ringer in third.

In the female division, Zina Jones came out on top, edging Rebecca Jay with both riders managing six laps. Florence Pedro completed the podium places having finished a lap down.

Mark Anthony Domingo proved victorious in the Novice Male division, with Sharon Hammond taking top spot in the female category.

Gordon Smith Edged out Wyatt Hall in the male 13 to 16 division after both managed to finish eight laps, Kelise Wade took the honours in the female division, completing seven laps, one more than Skye Ferguson.

Jens Drea proved the rider to beat in the male 9-12 division, finishing six laps, with second-placed Ray Richardson a lap down.

There was also an impressive performance from Daisy Langley in the female division completing a total of five laps, one more than Sofia Leclerc in second.

Ruby Cook leads Hannes Swart and Cruz Cedenio around the course

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Published November 22, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated November 22, 2022 at 7:50 am)

Mountain bike season off to memorable start at Government House

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