Mountain bike racing returned to Tamaqua on Heritage Day.

The Reading Anthracite Coal Cracker Classic was held on Sunday, Oct. 10, the first such outlet for mountain racing enthusiasts since 2004.

The race picked up where previous races staged by the Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission (ESRC) left off, beginning and ending at Tamaqua's Bungalow Park and taking advantage of trails on the outskirts of the borough boundaries.

The event was organized through the efforts of two Tamaqua Area High School graduates, Richard Chwastiak and Aaron Berger. Both are currently college students; Chwastiak (TAHS Class of 2005) is in the Master's degree program in percussion performance at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, while Berger (TAHS 2007) is attending Lehigh Carbon Community College/Temple, seeking a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering.

Both were long-time mountain bikers and racers who wanted to see the sport return to their home town.

"We had an idea to start a bike race and we did it," said Berger. "We were avid bike riders before, and we said when they canceled the races that we wanted to bring it back."

"This is bringing something back to the community," added Chwastiak.

The first Bungalow bike race was held in 1999. Previously, the races were held in conjunction with Tamaqua's Summerfest in June and Heritage Festival in October. ESRC and the former Jama Bike Shop in Tamaqua were the organizers of the races. When Jama Bikes closed, the races fell by the wayside until Berger and Chwastiak worked to revive the concept.

The course is a 5 1/2 mile lap that runs from the Bungalow to the village of Newkirk in Schuylkill Township, covering property owned by the Reading Anthracite coal company. The race directors thanked Brian Rich of Reading Anthracite for his involvement in setting up the race; Rich even rode in the event.

The race featured three classes, based on the number of laps. The Expert Class covered three laps and 16 1/2 miles, while the Sport Class covered two laps and 11 miles. The Beginners Class covered one lap.

The inaugural Coal Cracker Classic drew a total of 86 entrants. "That's the most since the first three races," said Jason Boris, executive director of ESRC.

Berger said he would like to see the race become a biannual event again. "We're looking at expanding the course," mentioned Berger. "The sky is the limit."

The overall winner of the Beginners Class was Bernie Shea, who was clocked at 39 minutes, 23 seconds, one second ahead of Andrew Levanti. Joe Luby won the Sport Class in 1:12:02. The Expert winner was Dan Ellis, who crossed the finish line in 1:33:52.

Beginners Class Results

1. Bernie Shea 39:23, 2. Andrew Levanti 39:24, 3. Quenton Rexroth 42:05, 4. Michael Kashlak 42:37, 5. Serge-Emile Simpson 42:50, 6. Daniel Fendler 44:40, 7. Robert Storm II 44:41, 8. Adam Burke 44:45, 9. Samuel Beishline 47:04, 10. Lee Curry 47:37, 11. Chris Bolish 47:49, 12. Tom Mealing 48:51, 13. Jessica Nankman 49:02, 14. Joseph Luby, Jr. 49:34, 15. Andrew Bruns 52:15, 16. Janine Hockman 52:14, 17. Andrew Spradlin 56:53, 18. Andrew Mastriania 56:59, 19. Christopher Keenan 57:01, 20. Kevin Earley 58:15; 21. Steve Geusic 1:00.41, 22. Jason Myer 1:02:06, 23. Merlin Benner 1:04:53, 24. Joan Slawich 1:07:28, 25. Harry Skene 1:13:28, 26. Todd Moser 1:26:25, 27. Stanely Shala 1:28:40, 28. Kevin Keller 1:57:52.

Sport Class Results

1. Joe Luby 1:12:02, 2. Cameron Ruth 1:12:59, 3. David Kibler 1:15:34, 4. Joel Nankman 1:15:56, 5. Ryan Walp 1:17:22, 6. Darin Benson 1:18:48, 7. Kevin Cullen 1:19:34, 8. John Van Horn 1:20:00, 9. Brian Despot 1:21:04, 10, Jeff Sweeney 1:21:34, 11. Roger Stricker 1:21:36, 12. Benjamin Benner 1:22:38, 13. Travis Serfass 1:25:13, 14. Zach Reed 1:25:41, 15. Joel Oberman 1:27:18, 16. Robb Dunn 1:28:30, 17. Frank Fendler 1:28:39; 18. Rob Novack 1:29:34; 19. Jason Meyers 1:30:28, 20. Richard Stevens 1:35:07, 21. Mark Dennis 1:35:38, 22. Henry Tressler 1:36:18, 23. Jeremy Seiders 1:36:52, 24. Scott Scherffler 1:37:10, 25. Jake Possinger 1:39:29, 26. Bob Joos 1:41:51, Richard Becker 1:47:37, 28. Sandie Reynolds 1:50:17, 29. David Weiler 1:50:49, 30. Kevin Casey 1:52:56, 31. Brett Michael 1:57:02, 32. Hannah Johnston 2:01:53.

Expert Class Results

1. Dan Ellis 1:33:52, 2. Daniel Stewart 1:36:37, 3. Mark Elsasser 1:37:32, 4. Lath Carlson 1:38:48, 5. Bob Eichlin 1:40:08, 6. Mike Carter 1:41:43, 7. Werer Freymann 1:42:35, 8. Jared Strowbridge 1:45:13, 9. Gary Grim 1:45:33, 10. Jeff Myers 1:45:46, 11. Tom Flaherty 1:46:26, 12. Blake Bricker 1:47.00, 13. Mitchell Nye 1:47:08, 14. Steve Sillet 1:47:58, 15. Cole Oberman 1:53:10, 16. Juan Delgado 1:54:55, 17. Lenny Chai 1:56:11, 18. Gerard Nugent 1:59:35, 19. Bill Kemmerer 2:00:16, 20. Stephanie Surch 2:12:25.