2019 Trustmoore National Championships close off Cross Country Season
The 2019 Cross Country Mountain Bike season came to an end on Sunday morning when the Malta Mountain Bike Association hosted the Trustmoore National Championships at the Majjistral National Park, notorious for its exposed areas and tough technical zones. The slight changes and additional technical sections to this year’s course proved to be more exciting...and tougher
Approximately 50 riders took part in the various categories. As expected, the most hotly contested ones being the Elite and Open categories.
Maurice Formosa (The Cyclist) closed off a highly successful season by retaining his champion’s crown. Formosa’s season was challenging to say the least having had to retire in the first National Points Series Race and lay off training for a few weeks due to an injury. Nevertheless, with these setbacks firmly behind him he was out for the win.
The usual pack consisting of Formosa, Etienne Bonello (Team Greens), Agones team-mates Mark Bonnici and Jason Vella set the fast pace from the start. Yet, in the first lap Jason Vella took a tumble resulting in a dropped chain and loss of precious time. With Vella, temporarily falling back, Patrick Scicluna joined the trio in the lead. As the first technical climb approached it was Formosa and Bonello who asserted their positions in the front. In the second lap Formosa increased his tempo to gain a comfortable lead over Bonello. Vella not deterred by the setback at the start put in a massive effort to regain his place amongst the front runners but had to eventually settle for second place behind Formosa following one of the closest and most exciting sprint finishes ever witnessed in the Elite category. Etienne Bonello secured third place.
Elite sprint finish
“The last two laps of the race were the hardest part with Vella producing a remarkable performance, making up for the time deficit suffered in the first lap. He definitely gave me a serious challenge and posed a threat for the title”, Formosa was quoted as saying at the end of the race.
Marie Claire Aquilina’s (Team Greens) race was fraught with technical problems in the first lap and punctured in the second lap, however her experience coupled with her prowess saw her get back into the race and into the lead to retain her title for another year. “The challenging and unforgiving terrain draws riders who look forward to a challenge and it was good to see some new faces on the scene” stated Aquilina.
The Open Category of the race which was split into age group categories saw an interesting mix of riders. Amongst them was up and coming triathlete Bernard Sant (Mosta AF Sign Studio C.C). Sant joined the mountain bike crowd after a highly positive triathlon season. Sant went on to win the Open Category followed by veteran cyclist and triathlete Brian Magri and Paul Zarb, both representing The Cyclist.
In the Juniors’ Category Clyve Chetcuti (Mosta AF Sign Studio CC) took the overall lead to win the category. Stefan Scerri (Gozo CC) took second place. In the E-Bike Category, Robert Magro emerged a clear winner.
“As the cross country season draws to a close, I can safely say that the 2019 season delivered what riders wanted: tough routes around the island, strong competition and a bit of drama on the more technical courses. We have seen new faces, promising performances and good vibes throughout. I could not be happier” declared Malta Mountain Bike Association’s President Pierre Zammit Endrich. “Now we look ahead towards an even more improved 2020. The Association expresses its gratitude to all those involved, race officials, volunteers and of course the authorities for their support.
The 2019 Trustmoore Cross Country National Championships were sponsored by Trustmoore Corporate Services and supported by AF Sign Studios, Go & Fun, Maypole, Magri Cycles, Jimmy Vella and H20nly.
2019 Trustmoore Cross Country National Championship Results
1st Maurice Formosa (The Cyclist)
2nd Jason Vella (Agones SFC)
3rd Etienne Bonello (Team Greens)
1st Marie Claire Aquilina (Team Greens)
2nd Fiona Darmanin Tedesco (Mosta AF Sign Studio CC)
1st Bernard Sant (Mosta AF Sign Studio CC)
2nd Liran Ben Ari (Agones SFC)
3rd Dennis Dolci (Agones SFC)
1st Paul Zarb (The Cyclist)
2nd Domenic Cutajar (Gozo C.C.)
3rd Stephen Grima (Gozo C.C.)