Visitors from San Francisco and Italy flew in this past Sunday to participate in the second official Francesco Martucci race of the SoCal Fixed Gear Series. The race’s future was unknown just last week, as race promoters were forced to move the series underground after the city of Huntington Beach threatened to shut the series down.
Despite some unexpected heat, the race moved forward in an undisclosed location in southern California, where 137 loyal racers participated in the women’s, elite men and attack categories.
First place in the women’s category went to Jo Celso, who flew in from Oakland, Ca. Celso was a crowd favorite last season who had a very comfortable lead, but her relocation to Northern California forced her absence the remainder of the season. Celso certainly proved her dominance in the course once again, lapping the field and proving her strength as a racer.
“I feel like everyone thinks I roll into these races super confident,” said Celso. “But every time I go there’s this sense of ‘it’s getting harder every time’ and ‘anyone can win.’ I never roll into this thinking ‘I got this.’”
Other females in the race included Kym ‘Nonstop’ Perfetto who was outsprinted at the finish line by Alex Reich and Erica Schwanke. There were also two new brand-new racers, Stephanie Alcala and Anneliese Martin, who had never raced on a fixed-gear bike prior to Sunday. Alcala participated in her first women’s CBR road race last Sunday. Martin was pulled along by SoCal Fixed racer Sarah Bartlett for a leg of the course. A number of the women also competed in the attack category.
Team Zero Miedo also proved victorious, as Kenan Gunbil took the lead with a breakaway win for first. Francesco Martucci, the Italian racer who the race is named after, took second place, and Throne Cycles racer Jerry Rios took third.
Gunbil, who frequently trains at the race location, says that he liked this location just as much as the previous course in Huntington Beach.
“I love left-handed hairpins,” said Gunbil. “They come naturally to me.”
Zero Miedo also had a large hand in the design of the course. As the local Long Beach team favorite, they designed a course that targeted the safety of the riders.
“We knew that we could design this race safely and with minimal traffic,” said Gunbil. “I don’t think we had a single car pass through during the entire race.”
Perhaps Zero Miedo’s most impressive feat came from rookie racer Raul Pedraza, who took his second consecutive win in the attack category of the series. The Tijuana, Mexico native said he was excited to race and that racing with his team was a “dream come true.”
“At first I wasn’t as confident, but after the first lap my teammates started to motivate me and just keep the pace and stay up in the peloton,” said Pedraza.
However, the young racer is feeling a little heat from the competition.
“I do feel pressured because now I’m being targeted,” said Pedraza. “But I’ll keep strategizing with my team, see who’s going to block and talk about ratios and all that.”
As of now, the standings of the series are as follows:
1. Alex Reich/Erica Schwanke with 17 points
2. Sydney Richardson/Jo Celso with 12 points
3. Kym Perfetto with 11 points
4. Amy Luu with 9 points
5. Evelyn Delgado/Ash Ketchum with 7 points
6. Asia Morris with 6 points
7. Lynn Kennedy/Sarah Bartlett with 5 points.
1. Raul Pedraza with 24 points
2. Josmar Gomez with 16 points
3. Nylsen Escajeda with 13 points
4. Daniel Gonzalez with 9 points
5. Omar Munoz/Kenny Cruz with 8 points
6. Tristan Barrios with 7 points
7. Leslie Makepeace with 6 points
8. Joan Flores/Jose Lopez Valenzuela with 5 points
1. Manuel Barra with 25 points
2. Nigel De Sota with 18 points
3. Cesar Valenzuela/Kenan Gunbil with 17 points
4. Robert Roman with 14 points
5. Addison Zawada with 9 points
6. Jerry Rios/Andrew Blanco with 8 points
7. Hector Morales/Izzy Romero with 6 points
The format calls for a top-five result, therefore the standings are expected to fluctuate as the season progresses. For information on further races, reach out to race organizers directly for details.