The fit race 'cross and 'cross gets 'em filthy!

Pilarcitos On-Track for UCI Cyclocross in 2015

1 May 2014

Tom Simpson and Pilarcitos received confirmation from USA Cycling that the 2014-15 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Calendar (CXNC) has a stop in San Francisco. Nine years afterwards, the GP Clark Natwick returns after its last appearance at Golden Gate Park, to run on 21 September 2014. This version’s venue is Candlestick Point. Tom Simpson said this particular venue is in part because of difficulty in running at Sierra Point in September, a heavy boating month on the Bay.

Other events on the CXNC calendar include the Florida CX National in Dade City (31 August 2014), VeloCX in Blaine, MN (1 November 2014), and Ruts ‘N Guts in Tulsa, OK (6-7 December 2014).

This Candlestick Park Backdrop to Dennis McGovern (Roaring Mouse) will see CXNC Racing later this Year

This Candlestick Park Backdrop to Dennis McGovern (Roaring Mouse) will see CXNC Racing later this Year

Last December, Simpson revealed to NorCal Cycling News an effort was underway at returning UCI Cyclocross to the Bay Area for 2014.

A plan for moving the Sierra Point Night Race to follow ‘Cross Vegas, and entice top international racers to make a short detour west from Sin City, fell through because of protocol. Pilarcitos has eight UCI races to its credit but the lack of an event on the 2013 CXNC made a UCI event for this year a big ask of USA Cycling. According to the USAC web site, those “races that seek UCI inscription and inclusion on the USA Cycling Pro Cyclo-cross Calendar (Pro CX) must first be part of the CXNC for at least one year.”

With the confirmation from USA Cycling, Simpson and Pilarcitos are back on track and now have a new stepping-stone to qualify for a UCI race, this time in 2015. Planning is already well underway. Providence Competition Director Patrick Goguen will visit Candlestick Point later this November, to assist in preparations for the following year. Pilarcitos is reaching out to its current sponsors.

Supporters of a San Francisco event include UCI Cyclocross Coordinator Peter van den Abeele and Brook Watts of ‘Cross Vegas, reports Simpson. Speculation goes both ways for a 2015 UCI Cyclocross World Cup race in Vegas, witness these reports from Cycling News and Velo News. Regardless, should all go to plan, Simpson’s decided appetite could very well come to fruition and Northern California ‘cross enthusiasts will “see and meet the celebrities, the star power of our sport”.

A Pioneer and a Local Name
GP Clark Natwick is a recognition of the last time such an event ran in the Bay Area as well as the ‘cross racer himself. Clark Natwick has four National Cyclo-cross Championships to his name (1981, 1982, 1986, 1987) plus one at the Junior level. He raced in the heady seventies against Jim Gentes, Joe Ryan, and Laurence Malone and Natwick represented the USA at World Championships. Many consider him one of the pioneers of the sport both locally and throughout the nation.

By e-mail, Natwick wrote, “The last time the Clark Natwick Grand Prix was held in Golden Gate Park it was a huge successes. I brought my whole family to see the race. Including my Dad who has the same name as me, Clark!

“I’m always happy to help out Tom in any way I can. If he feels it’s fitting to host a first class cyclo cross race and call it the “Clark Natwick Grand Prix” I’m honored.

“Cyclo cross was a really fun sport when I competed in it and held the USA National Team Coach position. I’ve watched it grow over the years, its popularity has increased every year. It’s become more [than the] sport that we marvel at the athletics skills of the Belgium’s racing it. The next step is the Olympics.”

Clark Natwick now coaches in San Mateo (clarknatwickcoaching.com) and plans to attend his namesake ‘cross race.

Bay Area Super Prestige
The CXNC event is separate from Pilarcitos’ Bay Area Super Prestige (BASP) series of races.

For the upcoming 2014 season, BASP may see weekend formats at the Sierra Point and Candlestick venues with a single-day finale at Coyote Point. In short, the same number of race days as in 2013 but across three weekends. Tentative dates are 8-9 November at Sierra Point, 22-23 November at Candlestick Point, and 7 December at Coyote Point.

Simpson explains, “We want to experiment with double days, not for every field but as much to offer more fields single category racing, instead of the usual mixed and crowded fields.”

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