21st Feb 2022
The Malta Mountainbike Association hosted the Cisk 0.0 Cross Country National Point Series season opener on Sunday morning where it welcomed a strong crowd of riders who thronged the Mi?ieb woodland for some adrenaline-pumping action.
Although Mi?ieb has been regularly featured on the MMBA’s calendar of events this year’s course was moved to another side of the woodland. Nevertheless, it was not short of technical turns and drops.
Maurice Formosa, whose 2021 season was not one of his finest, returned to his winning ways when a mix of fine riding and experience saw him outwitting other riders and slowly edge his way to the front. Out on the first lap, Brandon Sultana shot out to register the fastest lap but with Maurice Formosa, Mark Bonnici and Jason Vella hot on his heels, it was not going to be an easy race for him. Formosa’s experience enabled him to prevail in with a final time of 1:03:59. Sultana finished 10 seconds behind Formosa. Making his way to the podium was Jason Vella who had to fight off stiff competition from Mark Zammit until the latter suffered a puncture in the last lap.
Photo Credit: Kieran Borg
There seems to be no stopping Marie Claire Aquilina who shot out to take the lead in the four-lap course. Vying for second place were Lara Buttigieg and Fiona Tedesco. Buttigieg led the way with Tedesco narrowing the gap in the third lap. Despite valiant attempts from Tedesco, Buttigieg took second place with a 26-second lead. Worth a mention, was the fourth rider in the group, newcomer Felicienne Cini. What Cini lacks in experience she makes up for in spirit.
Photo Credit: Angie Conti
Christian Zammit emerged winner of this category with a determined performance to gain a comfortable advantage over second-placed Ariel Cruz Diaz and Carl Saydon. Diaz started in third place after the first lap with Keith Bartolo one second ahead. By the third lap, Saydon had slowly edged ahead and by the end of the race, Saydon, fourteen seconds behind Diaz made it to the podium.
In the 40+ Category, Justin Gauci and Stephen Grima went on a neck-to-neck battle for the category win. Grima edged Gauci in the third lap, however, a massive push from Gauci in the fourth and final lap saw him win with a mere four-second advantage. Completing the podium was Paul Zarb. A three-horse race ensued in the 50+ category. with Enrico Bradamante claiming top spot. Joining him on the podium were Frederico Sermarini and Raphael Fenech Adami. The U17 race was won by Matthew Galea.
With the adult races out the way, the Association welcomed over forty junior riders, some as young as five years of age to ride a short course.
The U15 Boys category saw Ryan Gatt, Chylen Fava, and Savio Galea take top honours. Whilst in the U12 Boys category it was the turn of Julian Bugeja, Mathion Cini and Nicholas Spiteri. Joining them on the Girls' podium were Nina Debono Curmi, Rakela Camenzuli, and Katie-Anne Vella Wood.
“The response for this first event was overwhelming both from the adult riders and the young riders who were given the opportunity to race a shorter course but still enjoy the thrills mountain biking has to offer” commented Pierre Zammit Endrich, President, Malta Mountain Bike Association. “There was a considerable response from the Gozitan community who came in full force for this event. This is notable, particularly because of the extra effort they have to make to compete in these races”.
The Malta Mountain Bike Association would like to thank the FKNK for their continuous and support and co-operation as well the many parents who encourage their young children as they participate in kid’s racing categories.
The Cisk 0.0 XC National Points Series is sponsored by the award-winning alcohol-free beer Cisk 0.0, Gatorade, and San Michel and supported by Malta Cycling Deal and Noel Vella Engineering Works.
The second race of the Cisk 0.0 XC National Points Series will take place on Sunday 20th March at Ta’ Cenc in Gozo. Information can be found on https://www.maltamountainbike.org.mt/