Manhattan Beach, Calif. — Rahsaan Bahati won his sixth race of the season in convincing fashion Sunday, scoring an impressive second straight victory at the 47th edition of the Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.
Bahati swept across the finish line on a sun-splashed afternoon at Live Oak Park ahead of runner-up Ricardo Escuela (Successful Living presented by Parkpre) and Brad Huff (Jelly Belly Pro Cycling).
“I had a lot of trust in my teammates and they delivered,” Bahati said before being congratulated by Rock Racing Team Owner Michael Ball and a host of teammates and cheering fans. “With a lap to go, I was concerned about us getting swarmed. But our lead out was tremendous. The guys started sprinting with a kilometer to go.”
Ball said he was thrilled that Rock Racing could be a part of the long-standing event. Several thousand fans lined the 1.4-mile (2.2 km) hot dog-shaped course that borders the Pacific Ocean.
“Being able to celebrate a victory again makes our involvement this year even sweeter,” Ball said.
Rock Racing was an official sponsor of the race and the team’s official vehicle, a Cadillac CTS, served as the pace car. The iBN Sports network also provided live, online coverage of the entire event, which is available on-demand at www.ibnsports.com.
The victory was Rock Racing’s 20th of the season and its second at a National Race Calendar event. Santiago Botero won the overall title at the Redlands Bicycle Classic to open the NRC calendar in April.
In last year’s race, Bahati edged out Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United Pro Cycling) while Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance) was third.
This time, Bahati said having so many teammates around him at the end of the 90-minute race was reassuring. Rock Racing controlled the front the final laps of the race on the strength of Fred Rodriguez, Kayle Leogrande, Peter Dawson, Jeremiah Wiscovitch and Sterling Magnell. Rock Racing even chased down a move of six late in the 90-minute race that included its own Rudolph “Rudy” Napolitano.
“We just couldn’t put all that pressure on Rudy to come through at the end so we told him to just sit on and the rest of our guys helped bring them back,” Bahati said.
Halfway around the world Sunday, Rock Racing’s Oscar Sevilla scored a runner-up finish at the Spanish national championship road race. Racing without any teammates, Sevilla finished second to Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) in the challenging 130-mile (210 km) race. Oscar Pereiro, another one of eight riders from Caisse d’Epargne in the race, was third.