Cycle racers invade Brook for Saturday’s road race

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Bicycle racers from Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia,Louisiana, Texas and one racer from St. Louis, Mo., will gatherthis weekend for the Human Performance Company Mississippi GrandPrix Road Race. It starts Saturday morning at 8 o’clock at Heuck’sRetreat Baptist Church.

According to Herring Gas team captain Frank Moak, over 100riders are expected. After Saturday’s race, there will be acriterium Sunday in Natchez as part of the Grand Prix competition.It’s Memorial Day weekend and a large crowd is anticipated.

“We’ll have eight of our riders for the road race and nine forthe criterium,” Moak noted. He said the road race, coveringapproximately 80 miles, will feature a course through rural LincolnCounty, along Lake Lincoln, Sunset, Byhalia and Heuck’s RetreatRoads.

The top three levels of riders will race 80 miles. Level Fourwill race 60 miles and Level One, reserved for beginners, will go20 miles or one lap.

“We also are providing a race for women and juniors,” said Moak.”We want to have a race for everybody.”

Entry fee is $20 Saturday and $30 for both weekend races. Eachrider must pay a $5 entry fee to cover insurance.

The road race is sponsored by Bank of Brookhaven. The criteriumis sponsored by the United Mississippi Bank of Natchez.

“We want a safe race,” said Moak. The Lincoln County Sheriff’sDepartment is providing traffic control. A motorcycle, completewith flashing lights, will lead the race.

Serving as race director is Aaron Tiffee of Natchez. Lisa Brewerof the Human Performance Company is coordinator for the roadrace.

Brookhaven native Katie Newman, the reigning Miss Hospitalityfor Mississippi, will present awards at the end of the race. It isan amateur event, featuring $6,500 in prize money. Level 5competitors will receive medals instead of cash.

This is the second year for Brookhaven to host a road race. Lastyear the race started at the Multi-Use Facility.

Moak said efforts are being made to promote bicycle racing inMississippi and the nation. “Racing is really big in Europe. Wewant to bring it back.”

American icon Lance Armstrong, recognized as an internationalsuperstar, is seeking his fifth consecutive Tour de Francechampionship this year.

Moak said Saturday’s road race for Levels 1-3 would lastapproximately 3 1/2 hours. The weather report for this weekend hascooler temperatures in the forecast.

Looking at the 20-mile course, Moak said it features a number ofhills. The largest hill is located near a watershed lake about twomiles from the finish line and one mile from the Heuck’s Retreatrailroad crossing.

“You have to be in the attack mode when you near the finishline,” said Moak. “That’s a tough, huge hill to climb.”

Moak’s Herring Gas team has performed well this season. Moak hasfinished first in four races, including the Capital City Criterium,and second in two others. He has nine top 10 finishes.

Teammate Troy Porter of Baton Rouge, by way of Australia, hasrecorded three firsts and three thirds in nine races.

Race forms are available at the Human Performance Company or online at www.natchezbicyclecenter.com/grandprix.