Gibbs enjoys ‘Super’ time in HP Cycling Classic
One of the youngest contestants in the High Point Cycling Classic possessed a close NASCAR connection.
Ty Gibbs, 10, competed in a combination event for juniors and women. And yes, the connection is to NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs. Ty is the Super Bowl winning coach’s grandson.
“He calls him coachee,” said his mother, Heather Gibbs.
Ty is making the transition from mountain bike racing to road racing.
“We were in a mountain-bike race last week in Pennsylvania and he flew up there to see Ty race,” Heather said of Joe.
Ty is the son of Coy Gibbs, who tried his hand racing in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series and now runs a dirt-bike program for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Heather Gibbs said her husband built the bike Ty rode on Saturday. And what Ty likes about road racing should come as no surprise, given the family’s connection to racing.
“It’s fun and it’s fast,” Ty said.
Two of the preliminary winners at the High Point Cycling Classic were spurred on by extra motivation.
Alan Starnes of Clemmons, who won the Category 4/5 race that opened the slate of competition, was trying to make up for lost time after getting married earlier this year.
Barrett Garner from Greenville, who rides for Team Mob out of Winston-Salem, was motivated in the men’s masters category 3-4 race because his daughter was there.
“I always ride harder when she watches me race,” Garner said.
Starnes and Garner sprinted to the front in the late stages of the last lap of their respective events. Starnes edged John Adams of Winston-Salem after they swept around a breakaway rider on the final lap. Adams took the lead first, then was unable to hold off Starnes.
“Heading into the last corner me and the guy in the green jersey (Adams) decided to go,” Starnes said. “He went a little early and I got him with about 50 yards to go.
Garner rode in the pack with other teammates cutting the wind for him until he timed his move going into the final turn. His teammate Patrick Beeson followed and finished second.
“I won because of teammates,” Garner said. “We have a lot of good sprinters. I’m a good power ride and I timed it to make my move coming up the final hill.”
Heavy rain fell during a combination event for women and junior men. Jacob Richardson won that event in a runaway.
“It was cooler,” Richardson said. “I welcomed it as long as I didn’t crash. I just had to be careful going around the corner because there was standing water at the apexes. On the straightaways, there wasn’t much difference.”
Richardson, 16, usually races in one the men’s divisions but decided to compete in the junior race because had put in 300 miles of training this week, which he said was about 100 miles more than normal.
“It’s not that I thought it would be easier,” Richardson said after posting his third win of the year. “I just thought with the forecast for rain, I would try the juniors race.”
CHANGE OF PLANS
One winner didn’t plan to win. Bob O’Gorman of Wake Forest took the lead on the back part of the course and planned to set up his teammate Luis Flores for the win in the Masters race for better-ranked riders. But, Flores went down, leaving O’Gorman on his own.
“I was going to pull him until about 200 meters to go and then drop off,” O’Gorman said. “I heard a noise and saw that he had hit the curb. When he crashed, I had to do it by myself. So I went as hard as I could and held them off.”
Harris Bennett, a Buffalo native who grew up in Raleigh, competed on the Category 4,5 race wearing the colors of N.C. State.
“Several college around have club teams,” Bennett said. “We have a big team, Duke has a big team. Virginia Tech has a team. There’s about 10 schools I guess all the way up to the Naval Academy. I guess the biggest surprise is there is not a big team from UNC.”
The men’s category 3-4 race provided one of the most exciting finishes as winner Jacob Timmerman of Chapel Hill swept into the lead in the last 300 yards.