Halamek and McGough win in front of thousands in Easton
2023 Easton Twilight Crit presented by Lehigh Valley Health Network, kicked off Memorial Day weekend in Easton, PA on Saturday, May 27, 2023. A new start-finish line on the uphill finish on Northampton Street brought the race to the center of Downtown Easton with thousands of spectators along the course at the many restaurants and bars, making for a lively atmosphere for the Pennsylvania State Crit Championships. The day started off with the Community Ride presented by Crayola, followed by races for juniors and masters. The PA State Championship races started for the amateur women and a sold-out men’s race at 100. Champions were awarded fresh PA State Championship jerseys thanks to Hindle Power.
The evening started with a 1-Mile Dash on the criterium course where runners sprinted for $1000 in prizes for men and women. It was followed by a Wheelie competition that had the crowd voting for the winner with cheers and applause. This segued to the two professional races at twilight in front of packed restaurants and lined course barriers.
The Pro Women’s race was action-packed thanks to enthusiastic crowd primes that kept coming. With strong pre-reg numbers, the field grew on race day with nationally recognized riders such as Taylor Kuyk-White (Miami Nights) and last year’s champion Katia Martinez (Goldman Sachs ETFs) signing up day of. Multiple $100 primes from sponsors and local businesses kicked off the night with a lot of aggressive racing that kept the crowds engaged. LA Sweat kept the pace high and was the most aggressive team overall, collecting $1,300 in primes throughout the night, including a massive $750 gambler’s prime by Hindle Power and The Perfect Bungee. But the final lap saw a swarm at the front with Butcherbox, Automatic Abus, and individuals taking over the pacesetting. It became a 5-wide sprint on Northampton between Mariana Valadez (LA Sweat), Julianna Rutecki (BikeWorks PA), Laura Van Gilder (Van Gilder’s Jubilee Restaurant), Stephanie Halamek (Unattached), and Katia Martinez with Halamek coming to the line for the victory. “I wanted to be first or at the front on the last turn on the last lap,” eventual race winner Stephanie Halamek (Unattached) recalled, but the pace was high and I found myself 5th or 6th wheel. I was nervous with the riders that were here, but with the uphill finish, I was able to time my sprint later than normal to take the win.”
In the Pro Men’s race, Danny Estevez (Miami Blazers), Clever Martinez (Miami Nights), Ryan Jastrab (Butcherbox pb LOOK), Thomas Gibbons (Automatic ABUS), and Connor Sallee (Austin Aviators) led a 94-strong field through the streets of Downtown Easton. A headwind on the backstraight kept the attacks at bay for the early portion of the race. At the halfway point, attacks started to fly, led by local strongmen like Matt McLoone (Total Civil Construction) started to really strong things out. A few primes in the mix stirred the dynamic enough that Automatic ABUS sent the entire team to the front to try and keep the pace high and pop riders off the back. But attacks came again from McLoone and then Colin Fitzgerald (Bikeworks PA) countered the move and got a significant gap. Gibbons, Clayton Travis (Velocious Sport), Brad Green (Star Track), and Cormac McGough (Good Guys Racing) bridged across to Fitzgerald and established the winning break with 9 laps remaining. The field chased, but it could not claw back any time. Up in the break, a $250 UNDRBDR prime caused some fracturing of the break, but the counterattack from McGough was decisive. McGough, who just returned from a 2nd overall in the GC at the Ras in Ireland, came to Easton with strong fitness and enough motivation to get a race win to get the job done. With two laps remaining, Gibbons absolutely destroyed himself fighting to bring McGough back with an impressive turn of speed, driving the crowd wild. McGough had enough time to celebrate before the line while behind Clayton Travis and Brad Green sprinted for the podium.
- Stephanie Halamek, Unattached, Brooklyn, NY
- Katia Martinez, CWA Racing pb Goldman Sachs ETFs
- Laura Van Gilder, Van Guilder’s Jubilee Restaurant
- Cormac McKeigh, Good Guys Racing
- Clayton Travis, Velocious Sport
- Brad Green, Star Track Racing