Feiss and Baranoski Take Home Title in Fastest Man On Wheels
The weather didn’t seem to be ready for the fast and furious racing that was slated to occur during Deer Park’s Fastest Man on Wheels competition. The Lehigh Valley was left questioning all day whether or not racing would happen. Once the decision was made that the World Series of Bicycling would go on, the riders put their best foot forward to erase the memories of the gloom of the morning and early afternoon and replace them with world class cycling action.
To decide the Fastest Man and Woman on Wheels riders had to gain points throughout the evening to qualify into the final event of the night, which would be the deciding factor on who claimed the title. The riders would lay it all on the line in a motor paced scratch race. In this new event at T-Town, riders are paced by a motorcycle ‘keirin style’ for the first two kilometers of the race and are not allowed to pass the bike until it pulls off with one kilometer to go.
With limited spots available in the feature event, the racing was intense throughout the evening as riders attempted to gain entry into the race for the title. The male sprinters had an extra opportunity to mix it up with an invitational sprint tournament taking place alongside the mass start racing.
The men started their evening off with a super sprint elimination. The 26 rider field was quickly whittled down to 12, where the race took on the form of a five-lap scratch. Jackie Simes kicked it over the top of the strung out field with one to go to take the win over Patrick Kos of the Netherlands and Poland’s Rafal Jeziorski.
Next up for the men was a five mile scratch race. Jamaican Marloe Rodman was a key animator of the race picking up two premes in commanding fashion. However, he was no match for seasoned track racer Ryan Oelkers who took his first win of the season over Rodman and Simes.
After a short break, the field took the rail for a 25 lap points race that saw many T-Town locals come to the forefront. Randy Smargiassi, Zach Semian, and Nick Roeder all participated in creating a very animiated race. Mateusz Mikulicz collected Poland’s first win for the evening followed by Pure Energy’s Zach Semian and Jackie Simes.
The men had their last opportunity to qualify to ride for the title of Fastest Man on Wheels in a 12-lap point a lap. Michal Michcinski picked up Poland’s second win for the evening over compatriot Jeziorski and Kos.
The battle for the title of Fastest Man on Wheels was hard fought. Lanell Rockmore tried to ride it from the motor, but once the motor pulled off and he hit the wind the sprinters took over. Andy Lakatosh attempted to lead it out and it appeared that he would have another commanding victory until his team mate Matt Baranoski came flying over top with Rodman in tow to take the win and the title of Fastest Man on Wheels.
Local sprinters Andy Lakatosh, Matt Baranoski, and Giddeon Massie duked it out early in the evening to put themselves into the gold medal ride for the sprint tournament. Lakatosh, leader of the Rider of the Year competition, had another impressive ride to hold off Massie and Baranoski.
Dana Feiss got the women’s racing off to a fast start by taking the first two points sprints in the points race. Her early start proved to be enough to secure her the victory over Poland’s Karolina Karasiewicz and Paulina Cywinskia respectively.
In the ten lap scratch, Nadia Latzgo made a move with four to go and brought England’s Hayley Edwards with her. Edwards was able to hold off a hard charging Latzgo to take the win, while Colleen Gulick won the field sprint.
The women’s unknown distance saw a couple of moves, but nothing seemed to stick. The bell rang with Feiss in third position, a prime spot to come around for the win, but Gulick had an impressive late kick to take the win by a bike throw.
In the motor paced scratch race Canada’s Catherine Couture took the lead and held it until three to go when the motor pulled off the track. Poland’s Karolina Karasiewicz tried to make it a long one, but she was reeled in by a hard charging Feiss with Scotland’s Charline Joiner hot on her tail. “Its one of those things where you see the rider in your peripheral vision and you’re ready to either celebrate the win or pee in your chamois,” Feiss said. Feiss was able to celebrate, as she claimed the title of Fastest Woman Wheels.
Next Event: The World Series of Bicycling returns Friday, August 17, with Corporate Challenge. Racing starts at 7:30. Tickets start at just $5.00 and kids 12 and under are free.
Article by: Elspeth Huyett
Photo by: Anthony Skorochod of Cycling Captured