|Photo by Ken Conley|
On Sunday June 29, Rock Racing’s Rahsaan Bahati successfully defended his title to win the 47th annual Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. The pressure was on for Bahati as Rock Racing was a presenting sponsor for the race and he was racing in front of his family.
“It’s like a monkey off my back, it’s weird going into a race that you’ve won the previous year, to have all my family out here, Rock Racing sponsored it. It’s a lot to accomplish you know in one race, to entertain you guys, represent the sponsors well and to win the bike race, and as a team today, phenomenal.” said a relieved and happy Bahati.
As in previous years, the race came down to a bunch sprint with positioning in the final corner of supreme importance, especially as a crash took out Bahati’s leadout man, Freddie Rodriguez. Bahati come out in third wheel and powered to the win. Coming right behind him were Ricardo Escuela (Successful Living) and Brad Huff (Jelly Belly) who both avoided the crash.
“I came into the last corner probably third, Freddie Rodriguez and Nic Sanderson. Nic Sanderson crashed, caused Freddie to crash and I came through the corner first so I just had to go, I couldn’t float it. I pretty much wound out Rahsaan and Ricardo Escuela, I got them up to speed and all they had to do was give a little pop. You know I was content with that because it kept me out of trouble, if I had tried to float it a little then they would have been more of a swarm so it’s just better if I really stay on the gas and risk losing to possibly win.” said Huff.
Rock Racing made their numbers work as one of the few teams present with a full roster. A few breaks, seemingly always with Dan Ramsey (Time Pro), went up the road during the 80 minute of racing around the paperclip-shaped 1.4-mile course but everything was brought back in time for the final bunch sprint.
“Actually when I attacked, I told him to go with me, I made sure I had him because I knew that Rock Racing was the team to beat today so it was perfect to have their team block for us.” said Ramsey about going on his a break with Kayle Leogrande (Rock Racing). “You know you’re going to get brought back, you give it a shot though, maybe a small group could have bridged up with a Toyota rider and one or two other teams represented and the race could have been over, but….”
Top 10 Results
1 Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing)
2 Ricardo Escuela (Successful Living Pro Cycling)
3 Charles (Brad) Huff (Jelly Belly Cycling Team)
4 Jonathan Cantwell (Jittery Joes)
5 Antonio Cruz (BMC Racing Team)
6 Hilton Clarke (Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team)
7 James Esser (Southern California Velo)
8 Kyle Gritters (Health Net Professional Cycling)
9 Cody O”Reilly (Successful Living)
10 Cody Stevenson (Jittery Joes)