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Wind, wet course force cancellation of mountain bikes

Tornado winds and a flooded race course forced York Somerville of Showtime Promotions to cancel last Sunday's mountain bike races at Ocala _ _ the first segment in the six-race Florida State Mountain Bike Championship Series.

Scheduled for this weekend at Brooksville's Gran Canyon race course is an off-road biathlon and run on Saturday, and mountain bike races on Sunday. Expected to compete are 1991 Florida state expert champion John White of Jacksonville, and Florida vet champion Peter Joule of St. Petersburg.

The Florida State Mountain Bike Championship Series offers several thousand dollars in bikes and other prizes, and welcomes riders of all classes. No special racing license is needed, and the beginner and first-timer classes are popular with bay area novices seeking to give mountain biking a try. Races are on the toughest terrain in Florida, with elevation changes up to 1,000 feet at some sites.

Race dates and locations for the series: Oct. 11 in Brooksville, Oct. 25 in Arcadia, Nov. 8 in Gainesville, Nov. 15 (tentative) in Ocala, and Nov. 22 in Brooksville. Registration opens at 7 a.m., with practice from 7:00-8:30. The riders meeting is at 8:45 a.m. and racing starts at 9 a.m.

In addition to the off-road series, Showtime Promotions offers an Observed Trials Championship and a $1,000 downhill race. The downhill, to be held at Ocala, will consist of expert and beginner classes. For race information, call Showtime Promotions at (813) 546-0630.

Jahoda ride canceled: The University of South Florida Bicycle Club has announced cancellation of the 1992 Matt Jahoda Century Ride. The popular tour, scheduled for later this month, was named for USF graduate student Matt Jahoda, who was killed by an automobile.

Final hopes for this year's ride were dashed when the Pasco County sheriff requested $1,800 for police protection along the route.

USF bike patrol: Next year, USF students may see University Police patrolling on mountain bikes, according to USF Police Cpl. J.D. Withrow.

Withrow attended classes in Orlando earlier this year that were taught by Seattle Police Sgt. Paul Grady. Grady pioneered the nationally recognized Seattle program that soon will total 100 mountain bike officers.