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Racers and Chasers Winter Series - San Diego, CA

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |February 18, 2012 2:43 PM
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Racers and Chasers Winter Series #1 - Balboa Park - San Diego, California

Written by: Jens Raz

2012 has finally arrived and the racing season is already starting to take shape in Southern California.  Being blessed with good weather and beautiful trails is a reason enough to enjoy the outdoors here.

Last weekend, the second of the four event "Racers and Chasers Winter Race Series” was held at Balboa Park, across from the San Diego Zoo and the downtown district.  The relatively flat four-mile course with long open stretches favored the power rider over the off-road expert. Nonetheless, even though no double diamond descents were present, a few technical nuggets of fun could be found on the backstretch next to the velodrome.

Aside from being a fun event, the proceeds of the race series are being put to good use.  Robert Herber, the race promoter, is using the proceeds to sponsor three Southern California high school mountain-bike teams; Hemet High, Murrieta High, and East Lake High.  Thanks to his donation of portions of the proceeds, the teams can purchase jerseys, helmets, and needed supplies for their season. As Robert puts it: "We have dedicated 3 of our events to help raise funds for each team individually.  We donate a portion of every entry fee directly to the team after the race.  The first race at Balboa Park was for the Hemet High team and were able to raise a total of $500 for the team on top of a ($250) donation we already made to the team.”

Many top vendors were also present and set up test rides and product demonstrations and included Zumwalts Bicycle Center, ESI Grips, Trek Super Store, O-tus safe sounds, Loaded USA, Siren Bikes (a Custom Frame Builder), Hub Cyclery, Shaklee Nutrition. Kids racing helped entertain the little ones and a catered food truck rounded out the event that included 250 guys and gals. Their biggest showing yet!

Turning to the racing action, a healthy Guy Sutton (Cal Coast) was joined by two of Zumwald’s Cyclery racers Tom Koerner and Aaron Hauck on the podium for the marathon event. The race started out with an exciting three-way battle for the lead between the eventual podium finishers.  However, after only half an hour, Guy on his beautiful Ibis Mojo began to pull a gap on Tom Koerner and his lead was never in danger again.  Not long thereafter, teammates Tom and Aaron separated and the finish order never changed again.  Aaron put in a phenomenal effort on his single-speed to finish third.  The final finish order was as follows:

1. Guy Sutton - Cal-Coast - 14 laps

2. Tom Koerner - Zumwalds - 14 laps

3. Aaron Haucke - Zumwalds - 14 laps (SS)

4. John Camerino - 13 laps

5. Peter Anderson - 13 laps

For the main event, legendary racer Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) came out for his first race of 2012.  He has a huge year planned, including the 24 Hour World Championships, and will need to make every race count.  The usual suspects challenging the veteran were Dana Weber (Pro Bike Supply) on his new BMC Four Stroke, KHS /X-Fusion Factory rider Hal Helbock and the cyclocross beast Brent Prenzlow riding for Celo Pacific.

Hal Helbock led early, but hit rocks on the trail and broke his chain. Helbock ran the course to the pits and soon rejoined the race.  Tinker, Brent, Dana Weber, and John Nobil (Bear Valley) were the other early leaders. The 4 riders were seen in a tight paceline for the first part of the race while Tinker tried to get away early. 

Prenzlow, using his cyclocross fitness was able to stick with the Cannondale rider and they continued together in a rotating line. Prenzlow tried his luck and stretched his legs with 2 laps to go when his rival Tinker slipped out on a turn.

The San Diego local wasn’t that lucky, and Tinker soon rejoined him. The race came down to a thrilling sprint finish between the two. 

In the end, Brent Prenzlow came from behind with only 3 corners to go and took the lead into the final chute for his win and a nice check for his work.  The final finish order was:

1. Brent Prenzlow - Celo Pacific

2. Tinker Juarez - Canondale

3. John Nobil - Bear Valley

4. Dana Weber - Pro Bike Support

5. David Sullivan - Sho - Air

Now that the first race of the new year is over, what’s going on next in Southern California?

Next weekend, Saturday the 21st, Tinker "The Predator” Juarez will take on Danny Munoz at the 12 Hours of Temecula to take revenge on this weekend’s loss.

On Saturday, January 28, the technical Sycamore Canyon race is held to benefit the Murrieta High MTB team.

The Racers and Chasers Winter Series Finale will commence on Saturday February 25th and will be held to benefit the Eastlake High MTB team.

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