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Mar 9, 1999

Highlight of La Ruta Maya Canoe Race

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Good evening, I’m James Adderley and you’re right on time for this fresh portion of Sports Monday. The 17th edition of the Belmopan Cycle Classic staged on Sunday brought at least 115 male and 4 female riders to the starting line at the Pound Yard Bridge here in Belize City. And cycling official Melvin Torres gives the final instructions to the riders making this 100-mile journey to Belmopan and back – and yes they’re off. In the meantime folks let’s check in on the female race which left Belmopan for the big finish at the Belcan some 50 miles later.

All 4 riders are still bunched together heading to the tape – this looks like a sprint to us and it appears it’s a close call between Norma Nuñez and Camille Solis, but wait a minute – that’s not the official finish line. It is further down as Camille Solis takes the “W” forcing Norma Nuñez into 2nd, Fiona Humes into 3rd while Jane Hannon, the American rider, finishes 4th.

Norma Nuñez, Second Place

“I thought the banner was the finish line so my sprinting was there and I knew what was ahead after the banner, but when I saw her continue riding that’s when I got behind her. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Q: “So you had to settle for second this time around?”

Norma Nuñez

“Yes, but I’ll definitely be back around.”


“You certainly were challenged and challenged in a big way for the title in this event.”

Camille Solis, Winner

“That’s what I thought was gonna happen too but like I told someone earlier it was one of the slowest races I have ever ridden because nobody wanted to pace; everybody was just watching Ms. Nuñez and myself.”

Q: “We spoke to Ms. Nuñez earlier and she said that there was a mistake with the finish line; she thought the Ovaltine sign would have finished the end of the race. When that did not transpire she saw you riding some more so she tried to keep pace but was unable to catch up. Is that a fact?”

Camille Solis

“Yes, that’s actually what happened. There was an Ovaltine sign a ways up before the finish line – a finish banner. And all of us sprinted for the banner thinking that that was the finish line but I did not see any of the officials there so I continued peddling until I saw them on the bridge.”

Q: “Was she ahead at that point?”

Camille Solis

“No she wasn’t; I was. I beat her both spots.”

So let’s get ready for the big male finish. It’s Robert Pineda of the Dominican Republic in the lead and he thinks he has won but Chris Fredericks of Santino’s Jamis knows better and zooms to the line to take first, Pineda recovers to finish second, the defending Cross Country Champion Ben Bernard places third and here comes James Frampton crossing the tape 4th to give Belize’s best finish. In the battle for 5th Douglas Lamb out sprints “Fresh” Fred Usher who settles for 6th.

Chris Fredericks, Winner

“The reason I feel so good is that we just got back from eight days in the Dominican Republic — a hundred miles a day. This is almost like a vacation. If this was last week you finish this race, you’d go to the hotel, sleep and wake up tomorrow and do it again. So this is great but it was tough too.”

Q: “How big is this win for Chris Fredericks?”

Chris Fredericks

“It was great; it’s the best win I’ve had so far. The biggest for sure.”

Q: “Of course you’re looking further down to the Cross Country; what does this do for your confidence?”

Chris Fredericks

“Definitely it builds my confidence but it also makes me a marked man but I’ll take it.”

Q: “You had the inside track to pick up the “W”. You were leading to the tape. Why did you give up?”

Robert Pineda, Second Place

“The line; I don’t know what happened today. The official said the line is down the bridge not on top of the bridge; that’s the problem.”


“You’re not the only one who got tricked, as the media we stopped where the Ovaltine sign was but then we saw them taking down the sign. And so you had calculated your strength to reach the sign and then when you got there it was a change.”

Robert Pineda

“I calculated the line down the bridge, not on top of the bridge. That was the problem.”

Changing gears, a massive crowd lined the area around the Belcan Bridge on Monday morning as 54 teams paddled toward the finish line on the last leg of La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. As the paddlers stroked into the stretch the boat sponsored by Black Rock Resort boast a small lead all the way to Belize City, but the late sprint from the Cayo boys was not enough to overcome the 12 minute cushion built up over the first three days by the Cheers team from Gales Point. The trio of Leonard Myers, John Moore and Albert Welch paddled the 175-mile route like a well-oiled machine. The combination of three days of station prizes plus the overall championship netted the men from Manatee close to nine thousand dollars in prize money. That’s big money. News Five caught up with the canoeists and their sponsor as they joined the festive crowd on the wharf.

Leonard Myers, Winning team member

“I feel just in shape; I am ready to go steering this afternoon about 2:30.”

Q: “What’s the secret to be able to do so well in this race?”

Leonard Myers

“My secret is to be in shape before you enter the race and keep up, all muscles in shape.”

John Moore, Winning team member

“From I was a little kid, I deal a lot with canoes – paddling along the lagoons – and so I think we’re a bit fit.”

Albert Welch, Winning team member

“From I first started I was conscious that we had more experience than them.”

Anita Tupper, Winning Sponsor: Cheers

“We didn’t have to do a lot just give them $200 for the entry fee.”

Q: “It looks like you did all right off of this race?”

Anita Tupper

“Yes, we did.”

The Cheers team’s victory was even more remarkable considering their canoe was not designed for racing. The second place Black Rock team boasted a custom made boat built from fiberglass coated cedar. But, its sleek design also caused problems as the craft flooded three times on opening day. That night a two-inch strip was added to each side to keep out the water. Third place went to the team from Pine Lumber. Later in the week News Five will have a full report on the unique race which, in only its second year, has successfully joined the worlds of sports, tourism and the environment.

And that’s it for us. We invite you back same time, same place next week. Jah over all. I’m James Adderley.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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