13th Sep 2021
The third and final race of the MMBA Summer Cup took place on Saturday 4th September in Majjistral Park.
The heavy downpour just a few hours before the race start meant a more challenging course for the riders. In the end, it was a hard-fought race that was marked with crashes and flat tires, and a myriad of surprises so much so that it was only at the end of the six-lap course that Elite rider Etienne Bonello was confirmed winner of the final race.
The drama started from the very first laps when Maurice Formosa suffered a severe crash which nearly brought the front riders to a halt to ensure that Formosa did not sustain serious injuries. With Formosa gaining his composure to continue the race, Jason Vella, Mark Bonnici, Mark Zammit, and Etienne Bonello attempted to gain an advantage. In the meantime, Luke Borg, winner of the second race suffered a flat tire which saw him lose precious minutes. With places changing as the race progressed, Bonello steadily moved ahead of the pack to win the third race in 53 minutes 55 seconds. Despite his crash earlier on in the race, Formosa made a formidable comeback, climbing his way back to the front only to be pipped for second place, by just three seconds, by Mark Zammit.
In the Sport Category Christian Zammit was the outright winner, having lead the group from the outset despite valiant attempts from Gordon Zahra. Zammit covered the four-lap course 9 seconds ahead of Zahra. Jamie Camilleri finished in third place.
A tighter finish awaited the 40+ category when Justin Gauci won the category by a breath of a whisker, with just one second separating him from Saviour Spiteri Peregin. In third place was Stephen Grima.
There were no surprises in the Ladies category when Marie Claire Aquilina once again took the win home. Nevertheless, there was tough competition for second place between Lara Buttigieg and Fiona Tedesco. Riding closely, a faster third lap by Buttigieg saw her widen the gap enabling her to take second place, twenty-one seconds ahead of Tedesco.
In the Junior Categories, U/15's Ryan Gatt took the win, emerging unbeaten throughout the whole series of races, whilst Justin Micallef took first place in the U/17.
"The Association is extremely satisfied with the outcome of the MMBA Summer Cup. It was very rewarding to see the action from the riders, all of whom gave it their all even when the going got tougher than usual. A big thanks to all taking part and those involved in the organisation" commented Pierre Zammit Endrich, President of the Malta Mountain Bike Association after the race.
The Association would like to thank Majjistral Park and O.R.S. Hydration Tablets for their support.
Photo Credits: Francesca Vincenti