Big changes are on tap for the 2007 BikeReg.com MABRAcross series as the burgeoning Masters class will be split in two and the Elite Women will be racing for roughly the same prize money as the Elite Men "In 2006, the BikeReg.com MABRAcross Series had top women competitors like Dee Dee Winfield, Georgia Gould, Melanie Swartz and Lisa Vible, who won last year's championship," said MABRAcross Series Coordinator Chip Sovek.
We want to build on that and develop an even bigger women's presence in cyclo-cross generally, and in MABRAcross specifically, by establishing parity in the Men's and Women's purses," Sovek continued. "While several races within the series have already been exceeding the minimum payout for women, the additional assistance we are receiving from BikeReg.com will allow all the races to bump up to this level."
On the men's side, the competition for that prize money will be tougher than ever, thanks to the new 'Double M' format. At the MABRA promoter's meeting in February, it was agreed to split the Masters class in two based on the new USAC license categories, with the elite-level 35+ racers competing head-to-head with the open-class elites in the Men's Feature race.
Like the Under 23 riders in many UCI races, the Elite Masters will be racing as a subset of the Open Elite feature race, not as a separate class, and will be competing against the Open Elite 'young guns' for the same purse at every race. Conversely, now that the elite racers are racing in the feature, the non-elite masters will now have the class to themselves. Under the old system, a recently-retired World Champion, like Lance Armstrong or Marty Nothstein, could have come out of retirement and beat up on the weekend warriors in the Masters class instead of racing with other elite-level competition. "We've closed that loophole," says BikeReg.com MABRAcross Coordinator Chip Sovek. "Yes, the Cat 1,2,3 masters will have to race one or two additional laps, but for the Cat 3,4 masters this will open the competition up for them!"
With these changes, the BikeReg.com MABRAcross series expects to maintain its leadership as the fastest growing cycling series in America. For more information on the 2007 BikeReg.com MABRAcross Series, see www.mabra.org.