A breath of fresh air. The Ladera Ranch Grand Prix gave the riders a break from the normal business park criteriums on the SoCal race schedule. The Ladera Ranch Grand Prix, which featured a course in the hidden community of Ladera Ranch, provided a chance to witness some great race action that saw the local community come out and support the event where vendors and teams set up for a great atmosphere.
SoCal’s unpredictable June weather came in play with some rain in the morning races, however the rain cleared by mid day for the remainder of the event during the day.
The Ladera Ranch Grand Prix is held on a technical .7 course, so you need to be on your A-game when it comes to your bike handling skills (for the most part). It’s also a deceptively hard course, so if you don’t have decent fitness then you can suffer when things get strung out.
With the Elite State Criterium Championship titles up for grabs in most categories, there was a strong presence considering some of the teams were split since they are competing at the PRT races in the midwest and east coast over the next several weeks.
The Pro1/2 race was one of the many races that were racing for the Elite State Criterium Championship title in addition to SoCalCup points. The race started out hot with a few primes on the line early on which would set the tone for the break to counter after the field got softened up after sprinting for the primes. A four man group of strong riders including Josh Stockinger (Monster Media), Brandon Baker (Stinner / Black Sheep), Adam Schepps (Nytro) and Benjamin Rathkamp (SDBC) got up the road and never looked back. The break went early in the race to hold about a 15 to 20 second gap for much of the race. With the teams blocking for the riders in the break, the chasers were not really making any ground on bringing them back. The four riders held off the field for over an hour of racing to finish with Josh Stockinger (Monster Media) taking the win ahead of Brandon Baker (Stinner / Black Sheep) in 2nd and Adam Schepps (Nytro) 3rd.
The Women’s race had a solid field that also saw a breakaway get up the road and would also stay away for the duration of the race.
Many of the Masters fields along with the Cat 3’s and Cat 4’s were also racing for the State Championship Titles, which led to large fields and aggressive racing for the State Championships.
Unfortunately, there was a bad crash in the Masters 45+, where long time friend and racer John Walsh (Davis Phinney Foundation) went down hard and was taken away in an ambulance to the ICU. John suffered a broken scapula, clavicle, several ribs and bleeding in his brain. Donations can be made to help John with his medical bills at gofundme.com/2mjn6bg. Christy and Frank at SoCalCycling.com wish John the best for a speedy and full recovery.
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Report & Photos by Frank Sarate / SoCalCycling.com