A memorable evening at the Portland Trophy Cup cyclo-cross race (Photo Gallery)
The Portland Trophy Cup cyclocross racing series is always a special event. It takes place in a place so close to where many people live (Portland International Raceway, just north of downtown Kenton), that it attracts as many spectators as runners. This gives it more of a communal hangout vibe than most other races. And there’s just something about a weekday after-work race that hits the spot (the same goes for the Mount Tabor Circuit race, MTB Short Track, and other big local events). Add in the darkness that shrouds the final races and a course that runs through the team tent area and you have a great recipe for fun.
But last night there was something more than large amounts of dust hanging in the air. The death of motor racing fan and devoted presenter Luciano Bailey was made public earlier today and his presence was greatly missed. Many Portlanders can easily conjure up the image of Luciano perched somewhere near the start/finish line, serenading the crowds and runners with his heartfelt banter. He was a regular at the PIR and it wasn’t the same without him.
Amid last night’s races, the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association held a ceremonial lap around the course to honor Luciano. OBRA official Dave Roth spoke to hundreds of riders before the ride. “While you ride, talk about him. Talk about bikes. Talk about bike racing,” Roth said, fighting back tears. “Just celebrate Luciano and enjoy what he gave OBRA and all of us. We just want to remember him.
And remember him, they did!
Luciano’s lap was part of a wonderful racing night. There were so many smiles and even more hugs and high-fives than usual.
The Trophy Cup has seen huge fields this year as Portland’s racing scene comes back to life after the lean Covid years. Our local bike racing scene has always had a strong and tight-knit community vibe, and being separated by the pandemic and losing people we love has reminded us all how lucky we are to share these experiences together.
I can’t think of a better way to honor Luciano than to continue to build a fun, competitive and inclusive racing scene. Thanks to the organizer Clint Culpepper, all the teams and all the sponsors who make the Trophy Cup possible! Stay tuned for a video of the action. For now, check out more images below.