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Gruelling terrain causes upsets at National Point Series opener

Anchu Kogl on top of the podium alongside Luke Vella (left) and Clyve Chetcuti.

In mountain biking, as riders brave rugged terrains, they meet with a multitude of challenges that can swiftly alter the course of any race.

This dynamic nature means that placings can change in the blink of an eye as was the case during the second race of the Cisk 0.0 XC National Points Series.

Hosted by the Malta Mountain Bike Association in Mġarr, this particular course is considered to be one of the most challenging in the series.

Luke Borg, a favourite to step on the podium following his win in the first race, was making good progress leading the pack, consisting of Anchu Kogl, Jason Vella, Clyve Chetcuti, and Mark Bonnici from the start. 

Borg’s efforts to take a second win where thwarted in the third lap when a puncture cost him precious time. Similar fates awaited Sultana and Etienne Cutajar, whilst a crash in the first lap nearly dashed Vella’s hopes of a podium placing.

Nonetheless, with grit and determination, Vella was back in the leading pack with Anchu Kogl and Clyve Chetcuti. Ultimately it was Kogl who finished first ahead of Vella and Chetcuti.

There was further disappointment in the Ladies’ race when Diana Muscat, who was neck to neck with Marie Claire Aquilina, suffered a similar fate resulting in her losing a chance of being on the podium. 

Aquilina went on to win the race with a comfortable lead over second-placed Lara Buttigieg. Fiona Tedesco finished in third place.

In the Sport Category Josmar Vella took the lead and the win.  Following him on the podium were Robert Grech and Christian Zammit. 

Meanwhile, in the 40+ class, Joaquin Rojas maintained his winning streak making it two wins out of two races. In second place was Liran Ben-Ari ahead of Alex Portelli.  

The 50+ class saw veteran rider Patrick Scicluna make his first appearance for the season, staving off competition from Stephen Grima. Carmelo Abela finished in third place.  

The race saw the re-introduction of the E-Bike Category after an absence of a few years.  The category was won by Robert Magro, with Kenneth Galea and Keith Bartolo following in second and third place respectively.

Meanwhile, numerous junior riders participated across various categories.

In the U-19 category, James Vassallo, Kyle Scicluna, and Saviour Vella stood on the podium. Ryan Gatt emerged as the sole rider in the U-17 boys’ category.

Strong competition unfolded in both the U-15 Boys and Girls categories.

Liam Daly clinched victory in the Boys category, with Neil Cassar trailing behind him and Jake Refalo securing a podium spot.

The battle for the U-15 Girls’ podium featured the same trio as the previous race, with Nina Debono extending her winning streak. Kim Micallef Cann surpassed Katie Anne Vella Wood to claim second place this time.

In the U-12 Boys category, Zac Bugeja once again claimed the top spot, followed by Zack Saliba and Kurt Grech.

Mickaya Fava emerged victorious in the U12 Girls category, ahead of Ria Debono.

The Malta Mountain Bike Association is supported by Cisk 0.0 Lager,  Gatorade and San Michel.  The Association also thanked the Community Police for their assistance in hosting the race in Mġarr. 

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