[qualifier group 3 / picture by Disorderly Habits]
I'd like to introduce you to our new supported fixed crit rider Cornelius Kersten. Or Corno as some say. Corno just came back from his first ever Red Hook Criterium, in London. Corno is fast.
I love fixed gear criteriums. I've been involved in this since some years now - it started with 2013 with (co-)managing Team F.A.S.T.. In our first Red Hook Crit, the one in Barcelona, Stefan 'Fish' Vis took the victory right away. This year, I co-founded the Dutch Crit Cup, or Vast Verzet Bokaal in Dutch: a series of 12 fixed gear criteriums all over The Netherlands. (Come race with us or watch!) And last but not least: I've designed the Bombtrack Needle, a steel track bike made with crit racing in mind.
It's tempting to start a new team, especially now that I see new talented riders joining the racing scene through our own crit series. One who definitely stands out is Cornelius. Together with Bombtrack and Django's Bike Shop, I've started a support programme that might lead to the formation of a team in 2016. Cornelius is our first supported rider. And we set up him up with a Bombtrack Needle and other good gear, like the speedsuit produced by Swagmen. Django, Cornelius' local bike shop in Haarlem and good friend, supports with parts.
Cornelius' main focus is speed skating, both on ice and wheels. He was junior Dutch Champ on the sprint distances in 2014. Speedskating on ice is The Netherlands' most popular winter sport and has an amazingly professional training culture. Working towards becoming a world class skater could probably have good fitness for crit racing as a by-product, or so I figured.
[Cornelius during the Dutch Junior Sprint Championships / picture by Sander Chamid]
Cornelius didn't disappoint: he took his first victory in the Dutch Crit Cup in the 5th race, and went on winning the 6th and 7th. It was clear that he was ready for a bigger challenge: Red Hook Crit!
Red Hook Crit London: a tough school
The very first Red Hook Crit experience was both extremely promising and disappointing. Disappointing in the normal way that races can be disappointing due to a crash.
The course was a technical one, with narrow corners and lots of variation in the surface. This resulted in many, many crashes during the qualifier rounds. Each round was paused because of crashes, of which some were serious. In Cornelius' group, there was a huge crash in the second round, with a bike almost flying over a tree. Unfortunately, Cornelius and many others ended up in the pile-up that followed the crash. He could continue afterwards and set an extremely fast lap, which turned out the be the 6th time overall. This meant he could start the main race in front row, ahead of many big names to which he looks up.
[start of qualifying rounds, Cornelius, Thomas and Eric / picture by Disorderly Habits]
That's an amazing result and shows that Corno is super fast and seems to have a bright future in Red Hook Crit racing.
He ended his qualifying round in lots of pain, still from the crash. It turned out that there was a small crack in his shoulder blade. Luckily, Cornelius was still able to ride the main race. Or luckily...?
[in pain, but with a fast qualifying time / picture by Disorderly Habits]
No, not really lucky. Cornelius had a good start in the final. He looked confident and could keep up with the speed of the head of the peloton. But then: in the second round he crashed in a very nasty way, face first. Results: broken tooth, a crack in the jaw, broken collarbone, a concussion and lots of bruises. And: no chance to prove his ability.
[Start of the main race / picture by Disorderly Habits]
As said before, his debut was both promising and bitter and yes, this is all part of the game.
Heal well, Corno, and hope to have you back soon!
Cornelius can be followed here:
And he's supported by:
Django's Bike Shop
Bombtrack Bicycle Co.
Find out more about Red Hook Crit here.
And here's a little impression of the race: