Leroy and Lawrence victorious in JEEP Tour de Tortola


JEEP-TOURPhilippe Leroy easily won the race in two hours and 22 minutes.  He managed to maintain a blistering pace despite riding solo for the entire race and no real challengers to spur him on for the 2014 title; 2013 winner Orano Andrews did not compete this year but retains the record of 2 hours and 14 minutes. Tim Clipstone (2:56) came in 34 minutes after Philippe for second place. Mountain bike newbie Rowena Lawrence shocked the field by taking third place overall with a time of 3 hours and 12 minutes, beating seasoned ladies Sally Blackmore and Carolina Pettigrew by a slim three minutes. Sally, jokingly calling for age groups in the Ladies division after the results were announced, was 10 minutes off her winning 2013 time.

General consensus was that this year’s course change, with the start and finish at Beef Island, not in Road Town, made the course harder by putting the Windy Hill climb later in the race, with more climbs before it than previous years.

Notably, John Ayres chopped 30 minutes off his previous time; Liam Blok, with a time of 3 hours and 28 minutes, beat his father by twenty minutes, his uncle by 10 minutes, and became the youngest ever Tour participant at 12 and a half years old; there were three ladies in the top five finishers; Jim Cullimore, president of the BVI Mountain Bike Club, completed his 17th Tour de Tortola.

Patrick Falenstine and Nina Wurzi Burger, visiting from Georgia, finished the course together after five hours on the road.

The Cadet course was completely off road along the old airport road to Minine’s and then all the way back to Well Bay.

The Under 7s saw two competitors. Katrin Jones powered away from the start and completed the whole course in a very fast time for her age, and Sean Munro made very good progress on the day and won the most improved rider.

The 8-and-under two-lap course, was a lot for the young guns. However, Noah Cottreau put on a confident display of tactical riding and stayed out in front for the whole two laps and won comfortably. Barnaby Schilder on a new bike, suffered technical issues and a crash, but coped well and came in second.

In the Under 10 category the riders were truly put to the sword as they were asked to complete three laps in honour of the “Tour”. Tai Thomas and Gethin Jones set the early pace and were the first to the turnaround point closely followed by Johannes Blok and Alex Fountain. Alex then wiped out but Tai was quickly to his rescue to make sure Alex was fine; Tai stayed with his friend until help arrived. Gethin and Johannes also checked to see if Alex was okay and continued the race.

Gethin, in his best race of the season so far, poured on the power. After a pit stop to take on refreshment at the end of lap two, he soldered on to complete the race and take the glory. Johannes, also after a pit stop and much needed shade break, completed the last lap and came in a strong second. Tai, after his selfless act early, set a ferocious pace in an attempt to rejoin the leaders but had to settle for third place (but won the sportsmanship award of the day). Alex Fountain dragged himself to the line and came in a creditable fourth.