Orano Andrews returns to win Tour de Tortola


Orano Andrews. Photo: Broadsword Communications

Orano Andrews. Photo: Broadsword Communications

Long, grueling, energy sapping, soul destroying and painful, were just some of the adjectives used to describe the British Virgin Islands Mountain Bike Club’s Tour de Tortola on Sunday May 31, 2015.

The race has gained the reputation as a serious challenge for the seasoned Mountain Biker, and this year’s race was no exception as it pushed each and every athlete to the limit and back. From multiple punctures, to vomiting from overexertion, to debilitating muscle cramps, to sheer exhaustion, to crashes.

Surprise appearances
Despite the challenges, some 17 riders proved willing to put themselves through what most have trouble even contemplating. Some of the sport’s “Big Guns” made surprise appearances, including Commonwealth cycling hero Orano Andrews who came back after missing the 2014 race, having won in 2013. There was also a face the Mountain Bike circuit had not seen for time, the VI’s top Ironman tri-athlete Richard Morgan. Road racing cyclist, Barry Jones from the Cayman Islands also made a surprise appearance.

The Course
This race is not only a test of endurance, but one of tactical savvy as the course consists of a total circuit of 36.85 miles and a total of 3,300 feet of climbing. “Go out too fast and you face the real prospect of burning out on the long climbs later in the race,” commented Dave Pettigrew.

The first half of the race is the ‘easiest’ section as riders headed out from the airport, along the coast road to Road Town, and onto West End, encouraging riders to put the pedal to the metal in an attempt to break away from the pack. And it was Morgan who broke early and fast, daring the pack to follow and challenge.

Initially, the riders held back and then the unmistakable form of Andrews, galvanised by Morgan’s taunts, flashed past in chase with Cayman rider Barry Jones close on his heels. Past East End the lead peloton flew and at Brandywine Bay, Andrews seized the opportunity and accelerated away from the rest, leaving road racing specialist, Barry Jones in second and having to find his way around the course solo.

At Steel Point, the flat riding vanishes and the real work begins and as previous racers will attest, whoever claims Windy Hill first will win the race. The King of the Mountain title easily went to Andrews who would sail to the finish unchallenged.

Despite making a few detours and coming off the bike, Jones would showcase his exceptional racing skills and secure second. The endurance of Ironman athlete Morgan began to pay off as he would capitalise on the less fit to earn the final podium position.

“All riders managed to finish and by that account all were deemed winners. Notably, as a group, the overall time to complete the race was fastest in years, a testament to perseverance of our little club. While one year older, we are no means slower,” commented Pettigrew.

1. Orano Andrews, 2 hours and 40 minutes; 2. Barry Jones, 2:52; 3. Richard Morgan, 3:08; 4. Carolina Pettigrew, 3:17; 5. Statius Taliman, 3:18; 6. Laurens Blok, 3:22; 7. Ian Walker, 3:31; 8. John Ayers, 3:40; 9. Aaron Gardner, 3:42; 10. Dave Pettigrew, 3:43; 11. Jim Cullimore, 3:47; 12. Liam Blok, 4:08; 13. Shane Donovan, 4:13; 14. Rusty Burns, 4:28; 15. Mike Masters, 4:43

Junior Division: John Cullimore, 1:31.

Smit dominates VG course in mountain bike race

By BVIPlatinum.com

Virgin Gorda Grinder Mountain Bike Race 2014. Photo: BVI Mountain Bike Club

Virgin Gorda Grinder Mountain Bike Race 2014. Photo: BVI Mountain Bike Club

In hot and extremely tough conditions for cycling, Justin Smit, current rankings leader, won the annual Virgin Gorda Grinder Mountain Bike Race held last Sunday in a preview of the Tour de Tortola at the end of the month.

At about 7:20 am, the riders were ready as they lined up to head up the first incline out of Spanish Town. As the flag dropped, so did the riders’ heads as they powered into the first crank of the pedal of the race, with the prospect of thousands more to come.

Jim Cullimore set the early pace and blistered into the lead, but this was not to last as Smit rolled past with the irrepressible Alistair Abrehart in hot pursuit, followed closely by Iain Walker, Shane Donovan and others.

Further behind were Cullimore, Lauren Blok, Rusty Burns and Mike Masters, still in shouting distance.

The first mile of the race saw the powerful Smit and the determined Abrehart climb away from the pack. It was evident at this stage that once again Smit had his eye on the prize and no one was going to stop him, although the progress of Abrehart suggested a solid challenge.

This was to prove a false dawn; however, as on the early climb from Spanish Town to Savannah Bay, a clear lead had developed with Smit at the head and although Abrehart was chasing, the going was always going to be tough.

Moving into the ascent from Savannah Bay the early leaders were Smit, who had by now developed a big lead with Abrehart chasing and Walker, Potgieter, Virgin Gorda’s own Angel George holding their own just behind with Donovan shadowing.

Then, a surge came from George as he broke away from both Walker and Potgieter and powered up the climb to beat his challengers to the descent in an attempt to gain some clear space and catch Abrehart, who sat in second. This tactic appeared to work as he raced down the hill to the turnoff to Nail Bay, bringing Abrehart into view.

This sight, understandably, urged George to push harder to overtake Abrehart and cruise into second, leaving both Walker, Potgieter and Donovan to join Abrehart for what was to become a momentous slog and scrap for third as the dreaded ascent up to Gorda Peak loomed closer.

As the riders hit the lower levels of the main climb of the day, with over 1,000 feet of relentless grind ahead for 30 minutes, Potgieter, Abrehart and Walker were locked in wheeled combat the fight continued until, as in past races, Abrehart faded to leave Potgieter and Walker to push through and on to Hogs Heaven.

Abrehart was now faced with a life or death struggle with Donovan for the spoils of 5th.

As Hogs Heaven came into view, third place Walker allowed himself to look over his shoulder expecting to see Potgieter on his tail, but was surprised to see he too had gone the way of Abrehart and had now resorted to walking.

The closing stage of the race saw a break from the hills, a cruise through Spanish Town and a welcome respite for tired muscles.

For the third time this season, a dominant Smit took the chequered flag in a super impressive time of 1 hour, 7 seconds. Angel George followed several minutes behind to take second with Walker taking third, Potgieter fourth, Abrehart fifth and Donovan sixth.

Next race is Sunday 17th May, East End Torture.


BVI cyclist makes his mark with U.S. racing team

By BVI Platinum

Darel Christopher jr, team Prima Tappa on the top step at the University of Georgia  Spring Breakaway race. Photo: Ariel Patrice Burgess

Darel Christopher jr, team Prima Tappa on the top step at the University of Georgia Spring Breakaway race. Photo: Ariel Patrice Burgess

Darel Christopher Jr. continues to progress well in his efforts to represent the Virgin Islands on the world stage and was recently selected as a member of a racing team in the United States, which will allow him to gain much needed experience.

On Saturday, March 14, 2015, Christopher officially started his category 2 cycling season for the first time in the U.S on team Prima Tappa p/b Mansfield Oil. This season opener was held in South Georgia. Christopher finished in 15th place and one of his teammates finish 6th.

On Sunday, March 15, the team competed in North Georgia and Christopher was victorious, giving him his first victory for the 2015 season.

All of this is a sign that Christopher is beginning to make his mark on the cycling scene in the United States where he has resided since July 2013 in hopes of reaching the professional level of the sport.

With his passion and goal to become a professional cyclist, he started competing in competitions in the USA as a category five cyclist. Ever since then, he has shown steady progress in his training.

About two months ago, Christopher advanced to category two which serves in the capacity of a semi-professional cyclist. He is currently working on advancing to category one on the professional level with a signed contract.

Darel Jr. continues to represent this Territory and is determined to make it to the top with the help and strength of God.

The BVI Cycling Federation led by Darel’s father, Darel Christopher Sr., noted that transitioning from a junior cyclist to a category A cyclist in the BVI Cycling Federation and now to his current position, he has shown that once you are determined and you work hard, you can achieve the unthinkable.

For those who are interested in following Darel Jr. log unto www.usacycling.com and enter is name, Darel Christopher, to get information on the races he has participated in.

Orano Andrews wins BVICF time trial

Orano Andrews. Photo: Broadsword Communications

Orano Andrews. Photo: Broadsword Communications

The BVICF held the first time trial of the cycling season on Sunday, March 15.

Four riders competed to win the title of BVICF time trial champion. The race started at Palestina and headed west to the junction at Frenchman’s Cay before returning to Palestina for the end for the course.

Race results:
1st place         Orano Andrews                     26.36
2nd place         Barry Jones                            29.51
3rd place          Chris James                            30.51
4th place          Status Talian                         33.49

The BVICF thanks all who came out to assist and support the BVICF race and riders. The next BVICF race will be held on April 19, 2015 starting at Slaney to loop round Sea Cows Bay.

Cyclists Andrews and Blackmore win Jason Bally Memorial Race

Orano Andrews. Photo: Broadsword Communications

Orano Andrews. Photo: Broadsword Communications

The BVI Cycling Federation hosted the 2014 Jason Bally Memorial Race on October 5. The annual race, now in its 14th year, commemorates cyclist, Jason Bally who was killed 15 years ago.  Visiting cyclist from Antigua, Timothy Thomas was one of 16 cyclists who participated in the different age groups and categories that formed  part of this year’s event.

Orano Andrews and Sally-Ann Blackmore were the respective winners in the Men’s and Women’s categories. Kelichi Bolondia won the Juniors’ race while Anthony Spencer came first in the Mountain Bike category. Phillipe Leroy was forced to drop out of his category following an injury sustained during the race.

The federation thanked Hon. Myron Walwyn, the Minister for Education, Culture and Sports for his attendance and for his brief remarks at a candle light service for Jason held before the race.

President of the BVI Cycling Federation, Darel Christopher Snr wished Leroy a speedy recovery and thanked the supporters and cyclists in the event. The president went on to acknowledge the BVIOC for its support saying, “We would also like to thank the B.V.I Olympic Committee for their monetary contribution to aid in hosting the race.”

The next race will be held in 2015 and all cyclists are encouraged to participate.

The BVI Cycling Federation invites anyone interested in cycling to become a member of the federation. Interested persons may call 543-1526 Darel Christopher, President or speak to any of the other executive members.

Race results:

Cat A
1st   Orano Andrews   3hrs 15 mins
2nd  Antonio Andrews 3hrs 20 mins
3rd   Timothy Thomas 3hrs 20mins
4th  Shaguil Samuels 3hrs 24mins
5th    Statius Talium     3hrs 24mins
Philippe Leroy   —- (Dropped due to Injury)

Cat B
1st   Adrian Dale 2hrs 8mins
2nd  Andrew Willimas 2hrs 22mins

1st  Sally Blackmore 2hrs 8mins
2nd  Kay Reddy         2hrs 8 mins

1st Kelichi Bolondia 1hr 13mins
2nd Deraun Noel       1hr 13mins
3rd  John Cullimore   1hr 48min

Mountain Bike
1st Anthony Spencer 1hr 1min
2nd Rusty Burns  1hr 17mins
3rd  Jim Cullimore 1hr 17mins

Virgin Islands Cyclist Is Creating A Storm In The Category 3 Division

By: Charlie Jackson
Daryl Christopher JrDaryl Christopher Junior is chomping at the bite to get the 2014 Cycling season going as he has much to look forward to and much to achieve now that he has reached the status of a USA Cycling Category 3 ranked Rider.

Christopher Jr. began his journey towards the Pro Ranks, not only on the roads of Tortola and the Caribbean, but also larger races in the United States over the last couple of years

“I started in Cat 5, which is basically for Amateurs,” explained Christopher Junior, “In Cat 5 I did about 5 races, coming 6th in the first one and then won the rest. I was moved up to Cat 4 and also had success there.”

After about 6 more races in Category 4, he achieved Cat 3 status, which is an equivalent to being semi pro.

“Most of the races have different levels, pro 1, pro 2 and pro 3, so I’m at the lowest level of being a professional, but joining a development team which has ex-professional rider, Nathan O’Neil, will be a great help in moving up.

Christopher Junior’s season starts by the end of February and one race he is looking forward to is a stage race in Wisconsin, which lasts for 11 days with 9 criteriums and a couple of time trials.

“I love stage races, just being able to ride for two or three weeks is what I like. I will be doing more training for stage races. After a race in Georgia I will be heading to Wisconsin and hope to do well at that one.”

Christopher Junior, who has the likes of Peter Saga, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins as role models, has become much more focused in doing well and being a success.

“It’s a different environment, a different atmosphere; everyone works together and wants to see each other do well. You have to eat proper, sleep and get to training on time, everything plays a part.”

Whilst Christopher Junior might not be able to race again on the roads of Tortola, he would still like to be a part of representing the Territory in events like the Caribbean Championships, but it will all come down to his Coach as to whether time would allow it.

Dad, Daryl Christopher Senior is very proud of his son and will be hoping to watch some of the upcoming races.

“I knew he was always dedicated to the sport, always focused and am thankful now that he is in the right environment and surrounded by the right people, in terms of coaching, so we can see his development in the sport. As soon as the team gets going, maybe like mid season, I will be hoping to go watch one of the big events, like Wisconsin.”