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NAS-TRACK Team Race #4
Rochester Hills, Michigan, July 16, 2004
Junior Rider rockets into lead with five to go
With a 100 lap Madison yet to go, it looked as though the evening's powerhouse Team Pink of Ronnie Sink and Andre Champoux were unbeatable, winners of two 1-mile sprints and the miss-n-out and finishing sixth in the first 50 lap Madison. At the start of the 100, they were a solid 10 points out front and had the legs to win it.
Then the unthinkable.
As all eight teams -- 16 riders in all - rode under the mandatory control of the first 15 laps, one rider slipped off the 44 degree banking and out Sink went , and ½ of Team Blue, Dave Teall. The bike race, Race #4 in the NAS-TRACK Team Racing Friday Night Series, suddenly became anybody's contest. With Sink and Teall gone, their partners - Champoux and Blue's Pio Apostoli - were paired together as Team Pink but the momentum was gone as every team reconsidered its strategy to win.
The action happened July 16 at the 1/8 of a mile Velodrome at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Teams earn points in five separate events, but can pick up the most points in NAS-TRACK's featured competition -- the Madison -- a 2-man team race where 8 teams race at speeds up to 42 mph while exchanging places with their partners, relay style, about every 40 seconds. The Madison became an Olympic sport at the 2000 Games. In Michigan, the racing continues this Friday, July 23 and next Friday is NAS-TRACK's League Championships - July 30 at 7 p.m. at the Velodrome at Bloomer Park.
As Friday's 100 lap event unfolded, Team Pink held onto its lead through the half-way sprint. But Team Tan -- Steve Maluchek and Cullen Watkins, was closing in as was Team Purple, Nick Laughton and Jim Houston. Going into final sprint, the point spread was so tight that any one of the top six teams could win NAS-TRACK #4 if they won the Final Sprint.
At 5 to go, flying out of the field was NAS-TRACK's youngest racer 16-year-old Luke Cavendar for Team Neon. In an instant, the wonder kid who placed 7th in the Nationals, gained a ¼ lap lead on the field and held the distance until the hand-off to partner, master of the velodrome Dave Koesel. Koesel glanced back and upped the pace as Purple's Laughton came in for the final sprint and surged past several teams in his chase of the leader. In the end, Koesel won it, finishing the night's race a scant two points ahead of Team Purple. Team Pink ended up fourth, behind Team Tan .
"That was the best bike race I think I've ever seen," said long-time NAS-TRACK fan, Harriet Walden of Royal Oak. Mrs. Walden, widow of cycling coach Mike Walden, knows bike racing and says the team race on the small velodrome is, by far, the most exciting to watch. "It's so exciting; and these racers are just great."
1 Team Neon - Dave Koesel/Livonia & Luke Cavendar/Troy 67 pts 2 Team Purple - Nick Laughton/Rochester Hills & Jim Houston/Lake Orion 65 3 Team Tan - Steve Mylucek/Rochester Hills & Cullen Watkins/Royal Oak 64 4 Team Pink - Andre Champoux/Garden City & Pio Apostoli/Toledo,OH 64 5 Team Red - Taylor Martin/Hamilton,Canada & Ray Dybowski/Waterford 58 6 Team Orange - Tony Bruley/Rochester Hills & Eric Chase/Royal Oak 58 7 Team Black - Steve Geerligs/Ann Arbor & Rob Good/Toronto, Canada 45 Individual points 1 Pio Apostoli 271 pts 2 Andre Champoux 265 3 Dave Koesel 254 4 Rippin Ronnie 246 5 Tony Bruley 245 6 Jim Houston 225 7 Ray Dybowski 224 8 Rob Good 210 9 Nick Laughton 195 10 Cullen Watkins 183 11 Dave Teall 169 12 Taylor Martin 168 13 Rob Akers 142 14 Luke Cavendar 126 15 Eric Chase 90 16 Steve Geerligs 80 17 Steve Mylucek 64 18 Paul Jaqua 63 19 Julia Bradley 31 20 Luis Bernhardt 28 21 Jon Hughes 21
Local results 2004