Cross Country – Magri Cycles National Point Series 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016, 11:14

Gavin Muscat


After a six week summer break the MMBA resumed with its XC NPS yesterday 08th September at the MAJJISTRAL Natural and History Park situated at the Northwest part of Malta. This wonderful location provided the perfect conditions for MTB XC racing with its rocky, sharp terrain and high technical sections on the short climbs and descents.

The diverse habitat on this site entailed careful and detailed planning with the local authorities concerned, thereby ensuring a zero negative impact to the environment.

Activity commenced as early as 6 a.m. with the setting up of the relevant safety signs, markers, race marshals, first aiders and registration of participants.

A total of 35 riders contested the 4.6km track in three categories, namely:  ELITE Men x 5 laps, ELITE Ladies and SPORTS each covering 3 laps.

The mass start took the riders through a 400m loop before seeing them speeding off into lap 1.  Again, the ELITE rides pulled off from the rest at the first climb with both Maurice Formosa (THE CYCLIST) and Mark Bonnici (AGONES SFC) setting up the fast pace with Patrick Scicluna (MOSTA CYCLING CLUB) and Ramon Grech (AGONES SFC) close on their heels.

Meanwhile, the rocky and sharp technical terrain was proving to be a big challenge to a considerable number of riders from all three categories as early as the first two laps mainly due to sustained flat and ripped tyres - some managed to even resume the race but obviously this took its toll in the overall timing/placings.

Both Formosa and Bonnici kept the quick pace and even managed to build a fair advantage over their two pursuers, Scicluna and Grech – on lap 3 Formosa increased the pace on the technical uphill to distance from Bonnici and breeze through the remaining two laps and finish 1st in 1:19:00:02.  Bonnici had to withdraw in lap 4 due to a flat tyre with Ramon Grech finishing 2nd at 1:22:47:40 and Patrick Scicluna crossing the line in 3rdat 1:23:18:54.

The LADIES category had a somewhat different ending with Lara Buttigieg (AGONES SFC) having to withdraw after suffering a bad fall at lap 1 and Danica Bonello Spiteri (TEAM GREENS) ending up as eventual winner after having suffered a flat tyre and practically pushing her bike on foot through the last lap, crossing the finishing line at 1:22:37:43.

The ever popular SPORTS category also had its fair share of mishaps with riders either having to stop for tyre repair or air pressure adjustment plus a couple of withdrawals. Italian rider Dennis Dolci put up an impressive performance finishing first at 50:35:16 with Paul Zarb (THE CYCLIST) in 2nd at 54:27:83 and Wayne Schembri (MTB MALTA) in 3rd at 54:54:80.

Sincere thanks go to our main sponsor and all other sponsors, volunteers, our families and last but not least to the riders / participants themselves for providing yet again a most enjoyable and spectacular event.

The MMBA would also take this opportunity to express its sincere thanks and appreciation to the Jonathan Barbara from the Parliamentary Secretariat for Sports, MAJJISTRAL Park Administration, PA and ERA officials for their valuable assistance, advice and patience.

The next event scheduled on the MMBA calendar is the a Downhill race at Wardija  next Saturday 17th Septemerb at 1600hrs while the next NPS is scheduled for the 9THOctober. Log on our facebook page for more info.

Credit: (Angie Conti)

Maurice Formosa followed by Mark Bonnici and Patrick Scicluna


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