By Kirsten Robbins
The North American Cyclo-Cross Trophy (NACT) series came to a close in its inaugural season as Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Georgia Gould (Luna) claimed their respective titles during the final weekend of racing. The trophy was kept secret until the series podium presentation, held at the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup. The grand prize? A silver 'heavy weight' trophy belt, $7,000 cash prizes and UCI C1-level points.
Trebon became the NACT series' inaugural champion, solidifying his title during round seven of the eight-round series. He accumulated 360 points, winning three of the eight events; two in Gloucester and one in Southampton this weekend, plus podium places in the rest. Trebon's victory did not arrive without strong competition from runner up Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld.com) and third-place Todd Wells (GT). Johnson was trailing Trebon by 10 points going into round seven, but a knee injury rendered him unable to start the final weekend of racing and out of contention for the overall (see below).
"The NACT is a great series with good money, a lot of points and C1 level racing," Trebon said. "Tim not starting this weekend meant that I automatically took the series victory on Saturday. I'm super happy to have locked up the NACT, it means a lot to me to win a series. But, it's not just about winning a series, it's nice to be actually winning races again."
On the women's side, Georgia Gould (Luna) won both races at the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup and accumulated enough points to take the NACT 'heavy weight' trophy belt in the last race. She went into the finale sitting in second place, just 18 points behind the previous leader Amy Dombroski (Velo Bella-Kona). After an exciting finale she tallied 240 points to take the overall title ahead of second placed Dombroski and Sue Butler (Monavie/Cannondale) in third place.
"I'm excited to support a race like this because it offers equal prize money and I think it's important to support that," said Gould, who took on the UCI in 2007 with an equal prize money for female cyclist petition signed by nearly 3,500 supporters. "I also think the NACT is a great series and I would be really happy to win the overall. The organisers did a great job offering UCI points and great venues for the entire series."
Myles Romanow, NACT co-founder and Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup race director was pleased with the outcome of the newly created series. The series combined eight of most well-known cyclo-cross races in North America, all sanctioned under the UCI's 2008-09 calendar. It began in September at the FSA Star Crossed and Rad Racing GP and moved on to the Gran Prix of Gloucester, the Boulder Cup, ending with the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup.
"This is the end and the beginning of a great series," said Romanow upon the conclusion 2008 trophy presentation. "I think we were really fortunate that the four groups really embraced the idea of a national series. Everyone showed enthusiasm to benefit the racers with UCI points, cash prizes and national attention. We all feel that cyclo-cross is the fastest growing segment of cycling in America and we want to be on the forefront of bringing attention to it.
"This sport is fast, spectator-friendly and it's not attention-intensive like road racing can be; everything Americans need. Working out the details of this series was simple and everyone was on the same page and very supportive. We are already talking about the series in 2009 with better planing and bringing more national sponsors on board – it's going to be spectacular next year."