Bicycle race events come to Brookhaven

Published 6:00 am Friday, March 26, 2004

Veteran bicycle racer Frank Moak of Brookhaven is excited. Forthe first time in history, a Criterium will be held in downtownBrookhaven. The popular, exciting event, part of the HumanPerformance Company Mississippi Gran Prix, will be held Saturday,April 3.

“This is a first for downtown Brookhaven,” said Moak, his blueeyes sparkling with excitement. “I’ve dreamed about having acriterium in Brookhaven. We’ve had two road races here.”

Recognized as the Cellular South Downtown Criterium, it willbegin at 3 p.m. on Railroad Avenue. The Bank of Brookhaven RoadRace will be next Saturday morning, starting at 8 a.m., in front ofthe Heucks Retreat Baptist Church.

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The road race, starting Saturday morning, will feature three19-mile laps, through the rolling hills and two long climbs. Therewill be a women’s division and a men’s division, including 150riders. The men’s awards ceremony will take place around noon.

Around 100 riders are expected to rub elbows and scrape pedalsin the criterium. It will be an 8/10ths of a mile course, featuring8 turns, plus spills and chills. Speeds reach 25-40 miles per hour.There will be a Masters 35-plus category and a Senior Level 1-2-3category.

Also featured will be a 1-lap celebrity race, including severalnotorious residents. Moak extended an invitation for me to race andI eagerly accepted.

Now, if I can just keep from breaking my neck on a 10-speedbike, I’ll be okay. How does that saying go?

“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play thegame.”

The cost to enter each event is $20 apiece or $30 for both.Preregistration forms are available at The Human PerformanceCenter, 510 Hwy 51 North in Brookhaven on Friday, April 2, from 6-9p.m. Riders must be at least 16 years of age.

Newcomers can enter the 20-mile road race and win a medal. ASenior Level 4 race of 40 miles will be run, with the top 6 placessharing $250 in prize money.

The 77-mile road race for Senior Level 1-2-3 will award$850.

Racers can also register on line at

Email for moreinformation.

Moak serves as team captain for the Brookhaven-based Herring Gasracing team. He recently won the season opening time trial inMonroe, La. Teammates Tim Regan and Erich Metae also won forHerring Gas in Jackson , La. Two weeks ago, teammate Troy Porterwon the time trial in Shreveport.

It will be a big weekend for Brookhaven. Moak said racers fromAlabama, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and Arkansas are expected to behere.

This also will be a big test for Brookhaven’s logistics. Moakhopes to make the road race and criterium an annual event. Thecriterium is a crowd pleaser and draws plenty of spectators.

The Gran Prix continues Sunday at Natchez with anothercriterium, this one sponsored by United Mississippi Bank. Last yearMoak was third in the road race and first in the criterium, gaininghim the Omnium points title for the weekend.

Brookhaven native and head coach Stephany Smith brought somelocal NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament excitement to this areawhen her Middle Tennessee State University Lady Raiders upset NorthCarolina in Sunday’s opening round in South Bend, Ind. NorthCarolina was seeded No. 4 and MTSU was No. 13. The Raiders were 14of 15 from the free throw line and prevailed 67-62.

Unfortunately, the Cinderella story crashed Tuesday night whenNotre Dame eliminated Smith’s squad 59-46 in the Joyce Center. TheLady Irish (21-10), seeded No. 5, were playing on their home floorwhich gave them a distinct advantage. They are 15-0 on their homecourt.

Divots: The Brookhaven Country Club will host a Two-Man ShambleTournament this weekend, March 27-28. There will be 8 a.m. and 1p.m. shotgun starts on Saturday and Sunday.

Oil Can Harry’s will treat the entrants to a Sunday buffet. Theawards ceremony will be late Sunday afternoon.

Entry fee is $60 for members and $75 for non members. The feecovers carts, prizes, mulligans and Sunday’s brunch.

To register contact either Ronny Ross, Jay O’Hern or Ed Norwoodat 833-6841.

Another special BCC event, known as The Masters, is scheduledfor Saturday, April 10. It will be a one-man scramble with a blinddraw for a partner. Each player will draw a name out of the hat forone of the professionals who is playing at THE MASTERS in Augusta,Ga. Their Saturday score will be combined with the local entrant’sscore to determine the finish.

A crawfish boil is scheduled for that Saturday night.