Sports — 02 January 2005 — by Tracey Garnett

One of Belize?s most talented and well- respected cyclists, Michael Lewis, took down fourteen elite riders, including Barney Brown from Cool Runnings, who won this race in 2002, and was declared the first champion in the Masters category. (Michael ?Big Wire? won the very first KREM Classic, on New Year?s Day 1991. Ernest ?Jawmeighan? was second in 1991.)

Saturday morning?s race started from outside the Corozal Free Zone compound near the Santa Elena border with Mexico. There were over 90 riders. A twelve-pack group got the early breakaway, and at the Mile 82 milepost, Guinness Smiling?s Wilbert Banks won the first station prize of $100.00.

Ernest Thurton, also of Guinness Smiling, and Santino?s Marlon Castillo battled for the second and third station prizes, respectively, at the Orange Walk by-pass and Town Office. Thurton won the $100.00 station prize at the by-pass, but Castillo outsprinted him to capture $100.00 at the Orange Walk Town Office.

These four riders managed to keep the lead until Santino?s Ernest ?Jawmaine? Meighan cleaned up the spectacular $1,000.00 station prize at Shell One Stop and won a Nokia phone at the Orange Walk Fire Station.

At the Crooked Tree Cut Off, Santino?s Mateo Cruz and Western Sunrise?s Rafael Choto, along with Santino?s Ernest Meighan, SanCas? Miguel Perez, Peyrefitte Brothers? Michael Lewis and Western Spirits? Shane Vasquez were close together.

Then Shane ?Hot Rod ? Vasquez broke loose and took 8 straight station prizes from Boom Cut Off to Belama Phase 2. A furious chase was mounted by Michael Lewis, who took the station prizes at Belama Phase 1 and Mile 2 ?, Northern Highway.

These two riders managed to distance themselves from the main peloton and ended up battling against each other for the win. Vasquez took the station prizes at the 1stRound -A-Bout and by Truck Parts of Belize, but Lewis won the $100.00 station prize over Vasquez at AAA Security.

At Mile 1?, Shane Vasquez won the $50.00 station prize and managed to reach the entrance of Belize City first with Michael Lewis, Mateo Cruz, and Ian Smith seconds behind him. The veteran ?Big Wire? Lewis outsprinted Vasquez near the Belcan Bridge and won $150.00 station prizes at Mando?s Store, Prime Cut Meats and Belize Ship Handlers to take the crown in 3 hours 54 minutes.

Michael Lewis won $2,000.00, a round trip ticket to the United States courtesy of American Airlines and a trophy. Shane Vasquez took second place, taking home $1, 500.00 and a trophy. He was followed by Ian Smith in third, winning $750.00 and a trophy. Mateo Cruz was fourth, followed by Robert Mariano in fifth; Charles ?Lee Wire? Lewis sixth; Barney Brown seventh, Ernest Meighan eighth; Greg Lovell ninth; and Ernest Thurton in tenth.

In the junior race, which started from Orange Walk Town with 15 junior cyclists participating, Peter Choto broke loose and rode solo for 15 miles before he had a flat and was caught by Domingo Lewis and others. Domingo Lewis of M&M Engineering took the first station prize, a trophy at Gerald Garbutt?s Farm.

The peloton then rode towards the Maskall Junction with Frederick Banner winning a dinner for 2 at Big Daddy?s. Western Sunrise?s young 13-year-old, Peter Choto broke away at Mile 9 and escaped from the pack, winning four station prizes from the Lords Bank Junction to the Green House near Courts.

Peter Choto, in a sensational ride, finished first in 2 hours 40 minutes 38 seconds. Peter won $300.00 and a trophy. He was followed by Justin Williams of BELCAL, who won $200.00, and Domingo Lewis of M&M Engineering took third place, worth $100.00.

The female race started from the Crooked Tree Junction with 13 ladies participating.

Sandra Vallesteros of M&M Engineering won the first station prize at Gerald Garbutt?s Farm. Meanwhile, Guinness Smiling?s Ann Marie Bennett, Johanna August of Western Spirits, and Marinette Flowers of SanCas exploded from the rest and managed to stay together.

At Mile 24, Johanna August out sprinted Ann Marie Bennett to capture the station prize at Gardenia Village. Closer to the city, Guinness Smiling?s Amelita Knowles emerged to win the station prize at the Ladyville Airport Road Junction and at Mile 5.

Marinette Flowers and Alicia Thompson silently crept up on the leaders, however, and by the first round-a-bout Marinette Flowers, the great Jawmeighan?s common-law wife, was leading the pack. Swoosh?s Alicia Thompson pedaled hard and managed to pass Flowers and win the station prize at Belcan Bridge.

Meanwhile, Marinette Flowers, Ann Marie Bennett and other cyclists trailed. At money time, the determined Marinette escaped from the pack and ?wheeled in? Thompson at the end of the race.

Flowers won first place. She was awarded $500.00 and a trophy. Alicia Thompson won second and the $300.00 prize. Amelita Knowles took third place, worth $200.00.

Other female cyclists included Ann Marie Bennett in fourth; Shalini Zabaneh in fifth; Fiona Gonzales sixth; Johanna August seventh; Anthea Sutherland eighth; Esperanza Leal ninth and Gina Lovell tenth. Congratulations to all the brave ladies, and maximum respect!

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