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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."

Results

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 

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