Another major sports competition on Saipan has been canceled due to Super Typhoon Yutu.
Organizers of the Hell of the Marianas Century Cycle Race decided to shelve this year’s edition of the 100-kilometer event to give way to the recovery efforts on island.
“It’s always tough to cancel such a great event. But at the end of the day, we need to focus on helping one another recover and rebuild. There will always be another race,” said Vince Seman, president of Northern Mariana Islands Cycling Federation, which is part of the organizing committee along with the Triathlon Association of the CNMI and Marianas Visitors Authority.
“The volunteers and government personnel needed to run the event are affected too and everyone is focus on the recovery efforts so we don’t want to be a distraction. With much regret, we have no recourse but to cancel the event but we will be back for a much bigger and competitive HOM in 2019,” said TRAC president Ricky Castro.
The 12th edition of the annual event was supposed to hit Saipan road on Dec. 1 with a lot of off-island bikers lined up to test the challenging course of the century race.
Defending champion Mark John Lexer Galedo of the Philippines is one of them and vows to return next year. He and biker groups from the Philippines and Guam also wished for fast recovery for Saipan and expressed their support for next year’s event.
“Totally understandable. The cycling community on Guam will once again do what we can to contribute to the recovery of the CNMI,” Eric Tydingco posted on Castro’s Facebook account where the cancelation announcement was made.
“Will see you next year. Pangasinan Development riders will be there,” Olympian Jazy Fernandez Garcia said in the same Facebook post.
Unclaimed entry fees going to Yutu victims
Meanwhile, Seman said organizers will issue refunds for those who had already registered for the race, including off-island bikers.
“We had a great lineup of off-island participants looking forward to our event. We will issue refunds to all who will make requests. Otherwise, all fee proceeds will go to assisting many of our cycling family members who have suffered losses from Super Typhoon Yutu,” Seman said.