Wheel Wizard DH National Points Series Race 1 - DOWN AND DUSTED
The Downhill NPS for 2016 organised by the Malta Mountain Biking Association and gently sponsored by WHEEL WIZARD of B’Kara kicked off last Saturday 17th September at WARDIJA with a very encouraging turnout of participants registering for this exciting event.
As in previous similar events the MMBA went into detailed planning to ensure a safe and zero negative impact to the site.
The initial drizzle did not discourage participants from registering and gearing up for the first run down the 700m descent – the crowd present, including curious passers-by were in for a treat of adrenalin charged riders each thundering down this technical downhill course, engaging themselves in a show of speed, nerves, concentration and expert bike handling especially when tackling loose gravel and rough terrain on the sharp bends.
Run no.1 of 2 got underway with the ladies category – Gabriella Veneziani finishing in at 2:41:39 after encountering technical issues followed by Claudine Gatt who had to abandon her run also due to technical issues and having to wait till the second run to obtain an official qualifying time.
The men’s category proved to be a closely contested one with the first provisional 4 placings separated by less than 2 secs from each other - Jonathan Darmanin clocking in at 00.58.94, Mark Zammit at 00:59:43, Wayne Schembri at 01:00:23 and Ryan Darmanin at 01:00:91.
With the first run concluded, the riders were now confident, relaxed and eager to give it all in the 2nd and final run – the ladies category re-commenced the action with both participants drastically gaining on their initial timing: Gabriella Veneziani placed first with an impressive run of 1:24:17 and Claudine Gatt concluding her impressive run to finish second at 1:24:83.
Expectations were high for the men’s category 2nd run and the crowd present was not disappointed either thanks to a highly charged and exciting contest with Jonathon Darmanin placing first after capping a brilliant run in 00:58:03 followed by Mark Zammit in second place at 00:58:16 and Wayne Schembri placing third at 00:58:24.
The event was concluded with the presentation of trophies by the event’s main sponsor WHEEL WIZARD.
The MMBA would like to take this opportunity to express it’s sincere thanks and appreciation to its main sponsor and all other sponsors, all its members and volunteers, service providers and ultimately the riders/participants for assisting in yet another successful and colourful event.
Next DH NPS 2 is scheduled for the 15th October, 1500Hrs at Selmun – Please visit our website (www.maltamountainbiking.org.mt) and facebook page for updates.
Upcoming scheduled event – Magri Cycles MTB XC NPS 4 09th October @ 0800Hrs - Selmun.
Magri Cycles National Points Series - FORMOSA TRIUMPHS AT MAJJISTRAL FOR HAT-TRICK WIN
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 3rd at 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 www.maltamountainbike.org.mt or our facebook page for more info.
Updated Racing Calendar
The racing calendar for the rest of the season has been finalized and we are proud to announce 2 new sponsors; Wheel Wizard who will be supporting the Downhill series and Dowhill National Championships and The Cyclist who will be supporting the Cross Country National Championships.
Next race on the calendar is the Magri Cycles XC National Points Series - Race 3 to be held on the new gruelling route at Majjistral Park.
Please click here for the updated calendar
Magri Cycles National Points Series - Formosa again fastest rider to make it two wins out of two
Local mountain bike activity was at brisk yesterday morning (Sunday 24th) as an encouraging number of participants and enthusiasts alike gathered at Mgarr for the second round of races from the Cross Country National Points Series organised by the Malta Mountain Bike Association and sponsored by Magri Cycles.
The 4.5km circuit, with a unique and magnificent backdrop of Gnejna and Gozo is characterised with its rough and sharp rocky terrain, technical drop-offs and sketchy single tracks requiring maximum concentration and a high degree of riding skills.
As in the previous race, the course was contested over 6 laps in the Elite category, 5 laps in the Ladies category and 4 laps in the ever increasing and popular Sports category.
The mass start in itself was quite a colorful spectacle with all the crowd gathering to encourage all riders.
The initial stages immediately indicated that the Elite category was practically a dual contest between Maurice Formosa (The Cyclist CC) and challenger Mark Bonnici (Agones SFC) both keeping the same solid pace from the start with Formosa taking the advantage on the 5th lap and eventually winning in 01:18:25 with Bonnici clocking in at second place in 01:20:01. Etienne Bonello was on his way to his consecutive 3rd place however mechanical problems forced him to slow down with Ramon Grech (Agones SFC) overtaking him in the last two laps to finish third in 01:25:26.
Bad luck opted to switch riders this time around in the Ladies Category with Marie Claire Aquilina (The Cyclist CC) tearing through the five laps in an impressive 01:16:45 and with last week’s winner Danica Bonello Spiteri (Team Greens) finishing second in 1:24:37 albeit sustaining a technical fault during the race. Claudine Gatt was declared as second runner-up finishing four out of five laps in 01:23:22.
The ever increasing Sports Category was a keen contest with the first three placings finishing just 18 seconds apart – newcomer Alex Gatt once again proved his true mettle by finishing first in 01:00:15 with Francesco Sultana in second at a very close 01:00:19 and Ryan Darmanin in third with an overall timing of 01:00:33.
Timings were attended through the ARTTS electronic timing system.
Once again, the MMBA would like to thank its main sponsor MAGRI CYCLES and other co-sponsors AF studio signs, ProAction Malta, Island Beverages, Fotoclassic and Angie Conti for the photography.
A special thank also goes to all volunteers, ambulance staff, Mgarr local council, Mgarr police station and race marshals for their extraordinary assistance.
There shall be no race events for the month of August – MTB XC and downhill racing shall resume on the 3rd September. For more updates/information please visit our web-site www.maltamountainbike.org.mt
Magri Cycles National Points Series - Formosa & Bonello win XC season opener
The first round of the Magri Cycles Cross Country National Points Series took place this morning at Mizieb. The race was organized by the Malta Mountain Bike Association and sponsored by Magri Cycles of Mosta. The 4.6 km course is characterised by rocky terrain, technical single tracks and a challenging descent at the end of the lap. The course was covered 6 times by the Elite category, 5 times by the Ladies and 4 times by the Sport Category.
The highly anticipated race did not fail to excite the many mountain bike enthusiasts who witnessed the race with Malta’s topmost mountain bike athletes on the start line.
In the male event, it was full throttle from the first few hundred metres as riders dashed from the line right into the first uphill with Mark Bonnici (Agones) and Maurice Formosa (The Cyclist) creating a sizeable gap on the entire field. The duo kept a solid pace to increase their lead however it was Formosa who showed to have the winning form to win the race in 1hr 20 mins 35 secs. Bonnici finished second home in 1hr 23 mins 32 secs while Etienne Bonello (Team Greens) settled for 3rd in 1hr 28 mins 50 secs.
In the Ladies Category, triathlete Danica Bonello Spiteri finished 1st in 01:21:36 followed by Marie Claire Aquilina in 01:24:01 who unfortunately punctured in the 4th lap and losing the lead. Lara Buttigieg settled for 3rd.
In the Sport Category newcomer Alex Gatt won the race in 01:02:50, followed by Eyal Steinitz in 01:04:10 and Francesco Sultana in 01:04:15
Next race on the M.M.B.A calendar will be held at Mgarr next Sunday 24th July at 8.00 a.m.
For more info log on: www.maltamountainbike.org.mt
The Magri Cycles National Points Series will be made up of the following 4 rounds:
The Malta Mountain Bike Association is back! 2016 Racing Calendar lauched! Check this space for more udpates!