Payson To Host Inaugural Grand Prix


Former state champion Wayne Gorry, cycling veteran Brian Goble and members of Rim country's Soggy Dog racing team will be among the 300-plus mountain bikers expected to participate in the Payson Grand Prix.

The race is slated to begin about 9 a.m. April 3 at Rumsey Park.

The race is the sixth in a series of eight Mountain Bike Association of Arizona State Championship competitions. It is sponsored locally by Manzanita Cyclery and Adventure Sports.

According to longtime mountain biking guru Dan Basinski, the Grand Prix is not to be confused with the Payson Mayor's Cup that has long been a highlight on the local sports scene.

"We'll still have the Mayor's Cup but it will be in late October," he said.

The 60-year-old Basinski, a former state champion, has stepped aside from competitive racing after suffering serious injuries in a cycling accident last fall.

He, however, will serve as a race official at the upcoming event.

According to Basinski, the Grand Prix will get off to a running start in three waves.

At 9 a.m., the professional riders begin the competition.

"There should be about 70 of them," Basinski projects.

At 9:15 a.m., the sports classes take to the course. The final group, the beginners, will be off and peddling at 9:30 a.m. Basinski expects those two classes to draw about 100 racers each.

All three classes will receive a police escort from the start at Rumsey Park onto the outlying course.

The race courses for each of the three classes -- beginners to pros -- will differ.

Most courses, however, take riders over Crackerjack Mine Road onto the Doll Baby Ranch and over Snowstorm Mountain.

The pros will detour down Pole Hallow on the course to Snowstorm.

"Racers can thank Wayne Gorry for that one," Basinski said. "It will be challenging and elevated."

The beginners' course, about 30 miles in length, should prove to be especially challenging for the rookie riders.

Basinski has dubbed the courses his favorites among those used in the MBAA state series.

Racing should wrap up about 2 p.m. and an awards and post race party begin about 2:30 p.m.

Spectator area will be available at the trailhead where onlookers can view both the start and finish.

For more information on the Grand Prix, call Devin Wala at Manzanita Cyclery (928) 474-0744.

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