Statesville, Cyclo-cross

North Carolina Cyclo-Cross Series #8

The 8th race in the NC State Cyclo-cross Series was held at the Statesville Airport. It’s a new venue for the series and event organizer Neal Boyd of Charlotte Sports Cycling. The airport provided a mostly flat course with tons of technical turns, stairs and a gravel section It featured a drop into a bowl that was dry but showed signs of being of a being a former pond.

The overall series leaders, Jon Hamblen (Smartstop-MockOrangeBikes p/b Ridley ) and Robert Marion (American Classic/Blue ) were set to go head-to-head. Early in the first lap, a crash at the barriers left Hamblen crossed-up and standing still. With his rival in the back of the pack, Marion charged to the front and lifted the pace for a couple of laps. It took until about the midway point for Hamblen to fight back to the his position in the front group. As Hamblen returned, his teammate Travis Livermon (Smart Stop/Mock Orange pb Ridley ) attacked, in what would prove to be the winning move.

“My teammate and friend Jon Hamblen tripped on the barriers, so I waited for him to catch up and kind of settle down before I went. I wanted to make sure he was comfortable.” Said Livermon.

Regarding the competition, Livermon said, “They’re all fast guys. I guess I’m one of the more experienced guys here. I guess a combination of that and being one of the stronger ones – I was able to take [the win]. But, there are definitely a lot of fast guys in North Carolina.”

With Livermon likely out of contention for the overall series, the race to watch today was still Marion v. Hamblen. It was Marion that lifted the pace and found two helpers.

“We had 4 or 5 seconds [on Hamblen] when I went to the front and drilled it, then Nathaniel (Nathaniel Ward Ken’s Bike Shop/Embrocation Cycling Journal) came through and was just putting in incredible pulls, then Scott (Scott Frederick Inland Construction ) came through and was smooth through the corners. So we all complemented one another pretty well for different parts of the course. And when someone would start to fade, someone else would take over. It looked like the group behind us was pretty much making Jon Hamblen do all the work. With three of us, against him, I knew, we should start to open the gap. It worked out well.” Said Marion.

Marion won the sprint for second place followed by Ward in third and Frederick in forth. Nathanael Wyatt (Carolina Fats pb Industry Nine) finished 5th ahead of Hamblen who took 6th place.

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