The first race of cyclocross season is always exciting. New equipment, warmer weather and the months of anticipation leading up to the first race all add up to a great weekend between the tape. Now add flame cannons.
DarkCross, the first race of the 2018 Manitoba cyclocross season, has always been a bit more dramatic than other races. The night time race spices up cyclocross racing with added element of racing under the stars, and under the flood lights of Red River Co-op Speedway. For the eighth edition of DarkCross, organizers ratcheted up the excitement even further by adding a pair of fire cannons to the course.
“We try really hard to keep things fresh and exciting,” said Race Director Chris Huebner of the Dark Red Racing Cycling Club. “It is extremely gratifying that after eight years of hosting this event, we are still able to elicit surprised gasps of excitement from both racers and spectators.”
Judging by the crowd gathered around the fire cannons, which arrived at the venue courtesy of LT Wiens Fabrications to help light the farther, darker side of the DarkCross course, the new feature was a highlight.
A new partnership with Shimano Canada helped Dark Red Racing Cycling Club turn DarkCross up a notch this year, making the season opener a big prairie cyclocross party at the Red River Co-op Speedway venue.
“I’m not sure how we’re going to top it in 2019,” said Huebner. “But come to the Speedway next September to find out.”
Danick Vandale (Silber Pro Cycling) took the victory in the Mens Cat 1/2 race ahead of Mitch Ketler (Applewood Garneau p/b Smart Savvy) and Jason Wiebe (Prairie Fire Racing). In the Womens Cat 1/2/3 Race, teammates Caitlyn Roy and Rebecca Man, both of Team Manitoba, pushed the pace all race long before Roy rode to the win on the final lap. Chloe Penner (Team Manitoba) rounded out the podium in third place.
Full results for the 2018 DarkCross Cyclocross race can be found at Darkcross.ca