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Amphitheater of Pain Cyclocross Series #4
Memphis, TN, December 1, 2002
Forsyth nips Ferrell at the line
Right from the start, you knew it was going to be a different sort of day for the Amphitheater of Pain Race Series.
The presence of an older couple setting up shop near the start/finish did not go unnoticed by race officials. Nor did it go unnoticed by their son, Donny Forsyth (Los Locos/Mid-South Velo), a national class triathlete. It was obvious Donny was on a mission, not only to show his parents what he's made of, but also to show the other A racers he is still a threat in the series.
Mixed into the field was Thad Ferrell (Motorwerks/ACCM), who was still licking his wounds from last week's Tennessee State Championships. He had made a strategic error by single-handedly reeling in his own teammate, Russ Griffin, thereby putting eventual winner Bert Hull (True Temper/Clif Bar) into position. Despite his somber look, Thad wanted to show everyone that he had seen the error of his ways.
Much like the start of the past series races, Russ charged off the front of the pack. A second breakaway group formed that included John McLauchlin (ACCM/Motorwerks), Donny, Thad, Boomer Leopold (Outdoors/Mid-South Velo) and Christian Leask (ACCM/Motorwerks). Bert pulled out with a flat and called it a day.
Russ' lead began to wither mid-way through the race as he was plagued with a mechanical. Donny used the opportunity to bridge up to Russ as John pulled out of the race and Christian faded to the back of the pack. Russ eventually conceded the lead to Donny and dropped out of the race. Thad used the opportunity to close the gap on Donny and the two rode side-by-side for the race's final laps.
On the bell lap, Donny entered the Amphitheater ahead of Thad. At the top of the stairs, Donny started off running and then jumped on the bike to take the win by the closest margin of victory yet in the series. Boomer finished the race in third place, followed by Dean Freeman, JP Partland (from NYC nonetheless!) and Forest Owens, who was fresh off a win in the B Race at the Tennessee State Championships.
Vivian Chwalinski (J&P Bikes/Subway), from Little Rock, AR, returned to take the win in the Women's Race, as Laurie Terrell (Terrapin Racing) and Suzanne Beck (VeloClips/Sun&Ski) spent most of the race battling for the second place spot. Suzanne finally broke away in the race's final lap to beat Laurie by less than 10 seconds. Bobbie Hembree finished in fourth place, followed by Bridgette Brown and Cathy Baker (who both, incidentally, looked very fashionable on their new Redline 'cross bikes).
It doesn't matter if you win by a quarter inch or a quarter mile. Winning is winning. But if you were in the B Race, it must have been heartbreaking to get spanked so badly by Beau Rathburn, who rode away from the pack in the opening laps to take a solo win. The sprint for second place was won by John Schmidt, who narrowly beat Miles Fortas. John later claimed he did not know it was the bell lap, nor did he know he was sprinting for second. Right, John. And you haven't heard about a new invention called clipless pedals either.
The C Race was won by Les McDonald, who has had a strong showing throughout the series. Steve Albers took second over Ryan Carmichael (Bike Lane). A list of results, series standings and over 200 photos from series race #4 are available in the "Photo Gallery" http://www.memphiscycling.com.
A Race 1 Donny Forsyth 2 Thad Ferrell 3 Boomer Leopold 4 Dean Freeman 5 JP Portland 6 Forest Owens 7 James Sharp 8 Mark James 9 Zack Perry 10 Michael Hoffman 11 Stephen Franklin 12 Christian Leask B Race 1 Beau Rathburn 2 John Schmidt 3 Miles Fortas 4 Jim Sullivan 5 Jon Driskell 6 Joel Glaswgow 7 Dustin Finley 8 Mark Lovett 9 John Hudson C Race 1 Les McDonald 2 Steve Albers 3 Ryan Carmichael 4 Wes Hale 5 Rick Carpenter 6 Chip Crail Women 1 Vivian Chwalinski 2 Suzanne Beck 3 Laurie Terrell 4 Bobbie Hembree 5 Bridgette Brown 6 Cathy Baker