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Buko, King-Hinds top Tinian bike race

TINIAN —  Joel Buko won the men’s open while Kimberlyn King-Hinds topped the women’s open in the 65K Pika Mountain Bike Race during the 15th Annual Tinian Hot Pepper Festival on Saturday.

Buko clocked 2:43:43, followed by  Tyce Mister, 2:44:20; and Mark Isip, 2:44:45.

Click to enlarge
Women’s open 65K champion Kimberlyn King-Hinds, center, with Ayano Braxton, second place, and Shawna Breenfleck, third, during the awarding ceremony.
Men’s open 65K champion Joel Buko, center, raises the hands of second placer Tyce Mister, left, and third placer Mark Isip.  Photos by Junhan B. Todiño

King-Hinds won the women’s open in 2:51:25, and was followed by Ayano Braxton, 2:52:38; and Shawna Breenfleck, 3:07:04.

The race started at 6 a.m. at  Kammer Beach.

Dawn Sarmiento, president of the Bikers Association of Tinian or BAT, said about 30 bikers from Saipan and Tinian participated in the race. The winners received cash and medals.

BAT organized the race in collaboration with the Marianas Visitors Authority and the Tinian mayor’s office

For the men’s novice 35K, Willy Barbo finished first followed by Renato Barros and Alex Gozon.

Norlo Jacosalem topped the men’s 46A 65K category. Floro Derexes was second and Fortaleza Cesar was third.

Dencio Bautista, the only participant in the 36-45 65K category, clocked 2:50:28.

Heather Taylor, the lone participant in the women’s 35B 65K category clocked 3:07:09 while Susan Marchitti clocked 4:30:35 in the women’s 46A 65K category.

Although Typhoon Yutu devastated Tinian, Sarmiento said it did not take away their sense of community and their desire to return to normalcy.

Due to their limited resources, Sarmiento said they had to make some adjustments to the race course.  “We eliminated most of the off-road portions. We had a good turnout from Saipan and everyone seemed to enjoy the race.”

Sarmiento thanked MVA and the Tinian mayor’s office for promoting the island as a premier MTB race destination.  

“We are now looking forward to working with all of our sponsors as we get ready for the Tour de Tinian 100k MTB race during the annual San Jose Fiesta in the first week of May,” Sarmiento said.