The Masters Track National Championships continued over the weekend and so did POA’s Darin Marhanka’s winning streak. Earlier last week Marhanka, in a close battle, took the stars and stripes jersey in the points race. After that event the POA rider felt that his form was good enough to win in Saturday’s 45-49 year old’s scratch race.
While some events on the velodrome are harder to follow in regards to who wins as points need to be calculated or times compared, the scratch race is simple – the first rider across the finish line wins. Think of it as a criterium contested on a velodrome.
The masters were on the banked oval for 30 laps (ten kilometers). On lap six Marhanka went off the front with another rider. Perhaps recognizing that this was the race winning move, three others bridged and started working together. In the main field behind Marhanka was his teammate Steve Sperry.
With just ten laps remaining the five riders lapped the field – the winner would come from this select group. With the laps into single digits Sperry maneuvered his teammate to the front of the pack.
On the bell lap Marhanka was pushed to the top of the banking on the back straightaway. As he exited turn three and entered into turn four, he opened a gap by dropping down from the embankment and using that momentum for the win.
After the race the double national champion explained his thought process once he and his breakaway companions lapped the field. “Well, I’m guaranteed the podium might as well win the thing.”
And just like in the points race, his son was on hand to see him awarded his second championship jersey.
After a successful championships Marhanka and Sperry have their sights set on October’s Masters Track World Championships in Manchester, England. Can a rainbow jersey be added to his growing collection?