By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 02/02/2023; Updated 02/02/2023

Our Thursday night series this week took us to the Makuri Islands, for a single lap of the Chasing the Sun route, which starts in Neokyo with a moderate climb to the Rooftop KOM, and then proceeds to Yumezi for a bigger dirt climb to the Temple KOM, before returning to Neokyo for a flat finish.

With around 200 starters, there was a big group up front at first, but this quickly broke up on the first climb. The front group was down to about 30 riders by the time we crossed over into Yumezi, with Jay, Dusty, Zinj, and me up front, Melissa sitting in chase one, and Tim a few seconds further back. The second climb shattered the front group, and all of us were separated after that. Jay went off the front with the leaders, Dusty dropped me near the top, Zinj fell a little behind me, and Tim and Melissa swapped places at some point.

I spent the rest of the race with one other guy who was pushing hard the whole time, but we still felt constant pressure from behind from Zinj’s group of three. My guy dropped me at the end, and I managed to limp in just ahead of Zinj’s group. Jay secured a top-ten finish, but Tim and Melissa continued their domination of the points standings, taking the top spots on the podium and extending their overall leads in the season series.

Results for Week Five:

  1. Tim Downey (C) – 27 of 143 – 106.4 points
  2. Melissa Warwick (B) – 39 of 143 – 100.2 points
  3. Jay Gump (B) – 10 of 143 – 98.4 points
  4. Dusty King (B) – 16 of 143 – 94.0 points
  5. Jonathan O’Keeffe (B) – 18 of 143 – 92.5 points
  6. Zinj Guo (B) – 20 of 143 – 91.0 points

Series Standings after Week Five:

  1. Tim Downey (5 races) – 504.5 points
  2. Melissa Warwick (5 races) – 471.5 points
  3. Dusty King (5 races) – 470.8 points
  4. Zinj Guo (5 races) – 466.6 points
  5. Jonathan O’Keeffe (5 races) – 454.8 points
  6. Henry van den Broek (4 races) – 344.8 points
  7. Chris Stratton (2 races) – 140.6 points
  8. Jay Gump (1 race) – 98.4 points
  9. Charlie Bailey (1 race) – 74.4 points