The KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic on January 1 is the traditional start of the cycling season for the last 23 years. But this year’s race carries numerous wrinkles. There are a total of 70 riders, 11 of whom are from outside Belize. Race promoter Kwame Scott shares details on the most dangerous of them.
“We are expecting eleven foreigners and these include tow Guatemalans brought by the new Team Smart, two Mexicans riding for Team Benny’s. There are also four Mexicans neighboring from our border town municipalities “Depredadores”, also BelCal who are featuring for the first time, and American by the name of Raniel Sanchez. There is also a special invitation to the Jamaican-American Anthony Taylor who has been in Belize for the last fifteen or sixteen years. These should make up the core of what the foreign competition will be like- dangerous foreigners I might add”.
We asked Scott for his take on the Belizean contingent, which has seen numerous shifts and changes in teams since September. He gave us a few names to watch.
Mr. Kwame Scott: “For example, in defending champion of this particular Krem Classic, David Henderson Jr. was riding last year for Team Santino’s; he now rides for Team Benny’s. His former teammate and the current cross-country champion Darnell Barrow who used to ride for Team Santino’s, he is now the leader of a new Team Smart. So, we can see many movements happening. Also, we have noticed that out west , the Choto Brothers have left the Western Spirits fans and they now ride for Cayo High Road. So, Cayo High Road now features Eiden Juan, Juan Manna, four of the Choto Brothers and get this one…also Brandon Cattouse which makes them a formidable team if they are ready to compete. For the first time in the Krem Classic, there will not be a Santino’s Team. There is a Master’s Team that always will ride their name to victory that features Mr. Santino himself, but that’s for the Master’s Race which is run from Orange Walk to Belize”.
Most importantly there is the issue of the road. The Belize Cycling Association has received assurances from the Ministry of Works that any trouble spots –and there are many of them – will be attended to. But Scott notes that cyclists are their own best friend in this situation.
Mr. Kwame Scott: “Riders will have to say an extra prayer before the race. We are saying our prayers because a successful race for us from our organization’s standpoint is one that is one that is accident-free, so to speak and eventually the best person who was competing in that particular day. However, because of the road conditions. it makes the variables even bigger, larger, wider, deeper because on spill can change the entire race not for only one person, but for the entire pedalthon, so to speak. So, it does change your carefulness or your cautiousness, but there is only one thing you can do.
There will be thousands of dollars in prizes available, including four $1,000 prizes in San Roman, Orange Walk Town, Maskall junction and Ladyville. At the finish line on Central American Boulevard, top elite winners will receive $2,000 cash and a round trip ticket to the U.S. from American Airlines, as well as a cell phone from Smart and a trophy. Junior males, females and Masters category will run from Orange Walk Town to Belize City beginning at 9:30 a.m. while the main race leaves the border half an hour earlier.