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Monday, May 19, 2008

Kissena Track - George Hincapie

Reports and vintage pictures were found on JAMES B. SWAN's website Centerport Cycles, see link below.

This is me with a guy that you might have heard of; George Hincapie. I think this was 1986. George was from the same town (Farmingdale) as I. His father, Ricardo, was and still is a fixture in the local racing scene. George and his older brother Richard got their start doing the races here on Long Island and in New York City. As you might imagine, the Hincapie brothers showed considerable promise. My friend John Issendorf (who took this photo) set up an elite junior squad, built around Rickey, George and John's son Charlie. They were sponsored by Atala / Corso Distributors. In this picture George is wearing the Atala kit as well as a very stylish Bell V1-Pro helmet.

In the photo we were doing a points race. I attacked and George covered me. Once we were away I told him that we should take turns winning the sprints. He went along with that until the final sprint which is good for double points. After I took the next to last sprint George attacked me and I was not able to respond. The field was bearing down on me but somehow I hung on for second place.

In 1989 (I think) George left Atala to ride for Toga. Fred Mengoni sponsors a big race every October in Central Park. In '89 George and Charlie Issendorf were Juniors but they rode in the Pro,1,2 race. Charlie got away and George bridged up to him. The two "kids" stayed away and embaressed the national caliber field. They crossed the finish line side by side and caught the attention of Fred Mengoni. Fred approached John Issendorf. They cut a sponsorship deal. The Atala team became G.S.Mengoni and George came back from Toga.

Interestingly, George placed second at the Junior Worlds during the year that he rode with Toga, and he still had a year to go in that age group. The next year Junior Worlds were in Colorado and everybody figured George for a shoe in. George's team-mate, Jeff Evanshine got in an early break. George was forced to block and he (only) finished 5th. Evanshine won the race. John Issendorf had to go meet with Fred to explain why George didn't win. John stood there like a school boy in the principle's office and told the story in three part harmony. After John finished, all Fred had to say was "he should-a make-a da break." End of meeting.


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