Holy Saturday 
March 30, 
*Cross Country 



Each year as we approach the Holy Week of the Easter Season we stop have remember the Annual Cross Country Race which comes after the usual of the Crucifixion of Our Lord on Good Friday. 

It is something we all look forward to with great anticipation from the time of its beginning in 1928. That is why the British Honduras Amateur Cyclists’ Association is attempting to revive it as a noble and historic event. Not many of us today are acquainted with the history of its founding and the noble people behind it.

On Baron Bliss Day, 9th March, 1928, the late Capt. Monrad Metzgen journeyed to Freetown, a little village about 10 miles on the Old River, to watch a cricket game. On arrival he noticed quite a few people from Belize City were present; some went by car and quite a good amount went by bicycle.

A team of four—Monrad, Hilly Haylock, Matron Lois Roberts and Dr. James Cran. Chief Medical Officer, began working immediately on a plan to organize a cycle race from Belize to Cayo, and two days later, on the 11th March, a meeting was held and the first expedition from Belize to E1 Cayo was organized. The Officers was as follows: Chairman, M. S. Metzgen; Secretary. H.C. Fairweather; Treasurer, William McField; Reporter P. S. Woods; and Committee Members were Hilly Haylock, Basil Burns, Gregg Castillo and Harold Graham.

Due to the condition of the 90 odd miles trail, the expedition was to start on the 5th of April, and return to Belize City on the 9th, so as to give riders some time to recuperate. When news of the expedition spread, people from all over the country were prepared to lend their support.

The Government did all that was in their power to do. The then Governor Sir John Burdon, extended his distinguished patronage. Business houses all over the country, merchants large and small and even many individuals contributed generously some cups and medals. The Police, the Public Works and Telephone Departments gave special assistance; no wonder it was such a great success


The first non-stop cross country race was held in 1948 from Belize City to El Cayo and back. This race was won by the well known cyclist of the past, Altreith Smith who also won other races during his career as a cyclist. He finished second in 1942, 1950 and in 1952.


Robert Ferguson known as Sir Rob started his racing career at the age of I4yrs. He retired in 1951 with 23 years of active cycling to his credit. Robert won three first place in the Cross Country, and one second place. During his time he also won various Track and short Road Races.]


Donald Lightburn Better known as Baboo Lightburn in his late teens when he started Cycle Racing and has been known as a very hard and consistence pacer. The height of his career was between 1928 to 1936. During that time he won three Cross Country and held second twice. He also won other shorter races. He retired in 1937, but he however made a comeback in the first non-stop cross country in 1948. Together with Daniel Graham leading from the starting point up to mile 8 on the return, but was defeated by Altreith Smith.


Kenneth Sutherland or Powder as he is commonly known was unfortunate prior to 1966 the year in which he won the first cross country race. He also successfully represented the country in November 1965 in Merida. Yucatan when he won their annual race in style.


Sometimes called The Veteran, was the oldest on the track and was one of the trickiest riders on the wheel. He started his career in 195l and has since participated in many Cross - Country. He rode in the 1967 cross country. He was considered to be the most unfortunate rider as he encounter mishaps over the years. Duncan is also a very good sprinter and dominated the Track meeting of June 6th 1953 at the Home Park Cycle Track. He also won many races at the Newtown Barracks.

His record for the Cross Country race is 2 first and 4 seconds.


When news of the expedition reached El Cayo the people were in their glee. They immediately began preparing a grand reception in their usual western traditional hospitality for which they are known. It was no surprise when two youth, Cyril Simmons and Leopold (Hardware) Neal took to the road on bicycles from El Cayo to Belize to enter the race, the latter riding a lady's bicycle. Our history is very proud to honour these men as the first to cover the distance by bicycle.

Many of those old timers or Trailblazers as they were called, are the fathers and grandfathers of some of our present day distinguished cyclists.

Those first events can easily be called "A Man's Job", as there was no road from Belize to Cayo. What we had in those days were mere trails that is, if you care to give it a name. These trails were actually cattle tracks used by cattlemen leading from one village to the other along the river banks. with its many turns and twists like a giant cobra.


What was called a mere expedition in 1928 in now known as the Annual Cross Country Race. It has been held each year from the time of its inception in 1928 except for the year 1932 when it was not possible to hold one owing to the disturbance caused by the hurricane. The route of the race is the only thing that is altered some years.

As time went by, the controlling hands of the cycle association changed and interest waned, particularly after the telling blows of the 1931 hurricane. However, spirits were not broken but only dangerously bent.

The cyclists are a very brave people and in 1933 the association was sufficiently revived to continue blazing the trail. By this time many young riders were preparing to make their debut

The expedition by then, had taken a more competitive form, as the winners were not only getting national recognition but also prizes, trophies and the honour of being the usual wreath bearer to the tomb of the first champion, the great Elston Kerr, who after taking first place in the first two events and second in the third, died after a very short illness. It was rumoured that when he entered the third event he was already a very sick man. He was truly a very brave champion who defended his title at great risk, and was only beaten by his team-mate the also famous Norris Wade, who was the only man to follow him closely in the two events.

During the years 1957 to 1962. the Association was very inactive and the races for these six years were organized and controlled by Melville Smith and Allan Burgess. It was through the efforts of these two people that cycling was kept alive in the period mentioned and one could not pass without making mention thereof. 


The year 1954 is the year when Jeffrey O'Brien set up the record time of  7 hours and 44 minutes. Many people wonder how it was possible to do the 144 miles in a time so much faster than other years. Some even wonder whether it would ever be possible to come anywhere near to this record time, let alone beating it. But it was raining off and on throughout the entire race. Then too the wind was carrying the riders both ways to and from El Cayo. Hence, riders gained two advantages: the coolness of the day and the welcome assistance of the wind. Also, the condition of the greater part of the Western Highway today is quite unlike what it used to be in those day.


The year 1953 was the first and last of its kind. Four youths were given a half hour jump over the older competitors as a mark of encouragement. The youths, Leonard Bernades, John (Shamba) Dominguez, Russell Gill and Clinton Castillo left Belize City at the stroke of five on the morning of Holy Saturday, April 4th. The older riders left half an hour later to catch up with Bernades, Dominguez and Gill somewhere on the return leg. However. Castillo, then 16 years of age, was never caught and he went covering the 144 miles in 8 hours and 18 minutes. Twenty minutes afterwards, Jeffrey O'Brien and the others including two of the handicapper. Dominguez and Gill, came down on the tape.

Outstanding Figures

 ASTON GILL-----The only cyclist to have won three consecutive cross conrtry races was Aston Gill. Gill is therefore considered by many as the most outstanding cross country rider yet. There are some who take the view that, had he not suffered machine troubles in year 1948 and 1949 races, Gill would have won six consecutives years. His record for Cross Couniry stands at four first and one second. 

The first and only race from Belize City to Benque Viejo and back was won by Gill in 1950. This race was not a non-stop one and Gill was able to win due to his better fine performance over Jeffrey O'Brien who however was able to squeeze his way through to win the sprint into Belize City.

Aston Gill's next cross country race was in 1953 when he had to retire due to machine troubles. He was however back again in 1954 when he was successful in winning third place. It will be recalled that 1954 was the year the best time was set by Jeffrey O'Brien. Gill rode again in 1955 and 1959 but unfortunately, his efforts were not successful. Hence, the year 1959 saw the end to the cycling career of this remarkable Cross Country Champion.

 JEFFREY O'BRIEN   ------ The year 1956 brought an end to the cycling career of the Champion, Jeffrey O'Brien who for  many years was considered a very good sprinter.

O'Brien began to show his colours as a threat to all other cross country cyclists in the 1950 Benque Viejo race when he defeated Aston Gill in the sprint finish in Albert Street that year. That very sprint in fact was to have determined victory for either Aston Gill or Altreith Smith, had Smith not collided into Royal Bank Building along with his team-mate George Gabourel. 

This great rider, and probably the best sprinter won the Cross Country in 1951, 1952, 1954, 1955—all in a sprint finish and took second place in 1953, the year of the Handicap race.

It should not be forgotten either that Jeffrey O'Brien had displayed his sprinting qualities in many other races and that he was a member of a local team of cyclists that was invited to take part in a series of races in Puerto Barrios in 1953. On that occasion O'Brien had won the 1000 metres scratch race beating Barrios' No. 1 sprinter at the time, McCala.

 EDWARD MIGUEL ------ Up came the 17 year old high school student. Edward Miguel in March, 1956 to snatch the 660 yards sprint championship crown away from O'Brien. Miguel then went on to dethrone O'Brien in the 1956 Cross Country race by defeating his opponents in the sprint finish. 

Edward Miguel hung up his wheels throughout 1957 but was back in 1958 to regain the Cross Country Championship from Duncan Vernon which he defended successfully in 1959.

Miguel's last Cross Country race was in 1961 when although he came in first he was disqualified for a breach of the rules governing that particular race. The first place was therefore given to Duncan Vernon who had come second to him in the sprint finish in Cemetery Road opposite Jake's Service Centre.

Miguel's last appearance in races was at the Newtown Barracks when he was defeated in all the races in which he participated. On this occasion it was sprinter Roy Neal who had emerged as the victor by defeating him in the 660 yards championship and other events.

 JOHN MIGUEL — Edward's younger brother, John. started his cycling career at an early age of 12yr Although he had participated in many races during the years 1952 to 1957 he had not met with success due his smallness in stature. In those years he was the smallest though not always the youngest rider at the time. John's first Cross Country victory was shared with Duncan Vernon in 1960 when for the first time in the history of Cross Country Races in this country, the judges had given a decision of a tie. 

John Miguel had also won the first race held from Belize City to Ciudad Chetumal on 15th September, 1962.

The 1965 race which was held to Orange Walk and back finishing in the National Stadium after a completed eighteen laps around the horse track, was also won by John. He edged out Duncan Vernon in the sprint to win the first Cross Country to finish on track a pattern which is universally followed. It might be well to recall that this same sprint might have meant victory for Kenneth (Powder) Sutherland, had his chain not jumped his chainwheel. Sutherland was leading in the sprint by a large margin when this unfortunate incident occurred.

 ~~~~~~~~~ To be updated (check back) ~~~~~~~~~~

The first  Cross Country race - 
started Thursday, 5th April 1928, returning on Monday 9th
Due to the condition in 1928, of the 90-odd miles trail to El Cayo, the expedition was to start on the 5th of April, and return to Belize on the 9th, so as to give riders some time to recuperate.
 When news of the expedition reached El Cayo the people were 
in their glee.   They immediately began preparing a grand reception in their western traditional hospitality for which they are known.  It was no surprise when two youths, Cyril Simmons and Leopold (Hardware) Neal living in Cayo, took to the road on bicycle and head to Belize

Our history is very proud to honor these men as the first to cover the distance by bicycle.

The first non-stop cross country race was held in 
1948 from Belize City to El Cayo and back. 

 A run down on the history of the Annual Cross Country Race is as follows:---

1st. Place winners  ~~~~~   2nd. Place Winners

1928 ----- Elston Kerr,---------------Norris Wade ---------------- to El Cayo 
1929 ----- Elston Kerr,-------------- Norris Wade ---------------- to El Cayo 
1930 ----- Norris Wade,------------ Elston Kerr ------------------ to El Cayo 
1931 ----- Donald Lightburn,------ Anselm Waight ------------- to El Cayo 
1932 ----- NO RACE DUE TO 1931 HURRICANE 
1933 ----- Robert Ferguson,------- Donald Lightburn --------- to El Cayo  
1934 ----- Robert Ferguson,------- H. Gentle ------------------- to El Cayo 
1935 ----- Donald Lightburn, ------ Dinsdale Lord ------------- to Corozal 
1936 ----- Donald Lightburn, ------ Hendicott Croft ------------ to Corozal
1937 ----- Jose Sosa, --------------- Jim Melin -----------------   to Corozal 
1938 ----- Jose Sosa, --------------- Luther Tucker  ------------ BZE-CZL-BZE 
1939 ----- Ben Sanchez,-----------  Jose Sosa  ---------------- BZE-CZL-BZE 
1940 ----- Hendicott Croft, --------- Ben Sanche z ----------   BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1941 ----- Goldburn Ferguson,---- Altreith Smith  ------------ BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1942 ----- Goldburn Ferguson, --  Altreith Smith  -----------  BZE-CZL-BZE 
1943 ----- James Robateau, ------ Charles Payne ----------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1944 ----- Robert Ferguson, ------ Goldburn Ferguson ----  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1945 ----- Aston Gill, ---------------- Robert Ferguson, ------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1946 ----- Aston Gill, ---------------- Melford Ramsey, -------- BZE-Cayo-BZE
1947 ----- Aston Gill, ---------------- Colly Coffin,  ------------- BZE-CZL-BZEl 
1948 ----- Altreith Smith, ----------- Melford Ramsey,--------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1949 ----- Alvin Joseph, ------------- Aston Gill,---------------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1950 ----- Aston Gill, ----------------- Altreith Smith ----------- to Benque Viejo 
1951 ----- Jeffery O'Brien,----------- Colly Coffin, ------------ BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1952 ----- Jeffery O'Brien, ---------- Altreith Smith,----------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1953 ----- Clinton Castillo (HC),-- Jeffery O'Brien, ---------  BZE-Cayo-BZE   
1954 ----- Jeffery O'Brien (RY), -- Duncan Vernon,   ------ BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1955 ----- Jeffery O'Brien, --------- Colly Coffin -------------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1956 ----- Edward Miguel, --------- Duncan Vernon --------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1957 ----- Duncan Vernon, -------- Barry Parks -------------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1958 ----- Edward Miguel,  ---------Duncan Vernon --------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1959 ----- Edward Miguel, --------- Arthur Miguel -----------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1960 ----- Dead Heat or Tie  with John Miguel and D. Vernon ------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1961 ----- Duncan Vernon, ------- Arthur Miguel -----------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1962 ----- Arthur Miguel, ---------- A. McLaren -------------   BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1963 ----- Lindford Sutherland,-- Clinton Castillo ---------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1964 ----- John Miguel,--------------L. Longworth ------------BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1965 ----- John Miguel,  ----------- Miguel Ruiz,  Anthony Hutchinson ------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1966 ----- K. Sutherland, --------- Clinton Castillo ---------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1967 ----- Clinton Castillo, ------- Louis Peyrefitte --------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1968 ----- John Miguel, ------------ Rudy Migue ------------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1970 ----- Rudy Miguel, ----------- L. Longsworth ----------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1971 ----- Pablo Calderon, ------  Miguel Ruiz,  Anthony Hutchinson  ------- - BZE-O/W-BZE 
1972 ----- Anthony Hutchinson,- Pablo Calderson,  Noel Gordon  ------------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1973 ----- Anthony Hutchinson,- Kenrick Halliday  --------------------------------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1974 ----- Kenrick Halliday, ------ Alfred Parks,  Henry White ----------------- -  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1975 ----- Kenrick Halliday, ------ Eugene King,  Enrique Rosado ------------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1976 ----- Alfred Parks, ----------- Jose Rendon (Mexico),  Anthony Morris -- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1977 ----- Kenrick Halliday, ----  Alfred Parks,  Eugene King -------------------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1978 ----- Kenrick Halliday, ----  Alfred Parks,  Barrington York -------------- - BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1979 ----- Alfred Parks, ----------  Glen Gorden,  Raymond Sheppard -------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1980 ----- Alexander Vasquez,- Anthony Morris,  Andrew Smiling -----------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1981 ----- Alpheus Williams, --- Joselyn Chavarria,  Rodney Sheppard ----  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1982 ----- Alpheus Williams,---- Vincent Smith,  Elden Hyde ------------------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1983 ----- Lindford Gillett, -------- Vicent Smith,  Wennell Reneau ------------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1984 ----- Alpheaus Williams,--- Karl Smith,  Andrew Smiling -----------------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1985 ----- Robert Massiah, ------ Warren Coye,  Melvin Torres -----------------BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1986 ----- Matthew Smiling, ----- Michael Lewis, Mark Dennison -------------  BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1987 ----- Ward Zauner, ---------- Charles Lewis, Robert Massiach ----------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1988 ------Steve Steward, -------- David Licker, Fitzgerald Joseph ------------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 
1989 ----- Frank Cannon, -------  Michael Lewis, Noel Wade  ------------------- BZE-Cayo-BZE 


1990 ----- Camille Solis,  Hazel Morrison LeticiaWestby Mile 26-Cayo-BZE 
1991 ----- Camille Solis,  Hazel Morrison ----------------------------- Mile 26-Cayo-BZE 
1992 ----- Camille Solis,  Monica Miller ------------------------------  Mile 26-Cayo-BZE 
1993 ----- Camille Solis 6hrs.  10mins. -------------------------------- Mile 26-Cayo-BZE 
1994 ----- Camille Solis 5hrs.  58mins.--------------------------------  Mile 26-Cayo-BZE 
1995 ----- No Finishers    
1996 ----- Sonja Stilp Clara Cuella -------------------------------------- Cayo-BZE 
1997 ----- Fiona Humes   Cayo-BZE 
1998 ----- Alma Bennet Camile Solis ---------------------------------- Cayo-BZE 
1999 ----- Camille Solis Fiona Humes Jane Bannon ------------- Cayo-BZE 

~~~~~~~~~ To be updated (check back) ~~~~~~~~~~

Elston Kerr  1928 

Age 26 years, winner of the first Bicycle race from Belize to Cayo (90 miles) and back, April 5th, 1928

Prizes: $100.00,  2 Cups,  and 2 Medals

Those first events can easily be called "A Man's Job",   as there was no road from Belize to Cayo.  What we had in those days were mere trails that is, if you care to give it a name.  These trails were actually cattle tracks used by cattlemen leading from one village to the other along the river banks, with its many turns and twists like a giant cobra.

Alfred Park (1976)
Twenty-Three year old champion Alfred Parks covered the 145 miles classic in eight hours and fourteen minutes. 
  Kenrick Halliday (1978), is still King

 Cross Country Champion and the third cyclist in history to win four Cross Country races.  

Kenrick is King,  for the fourth time.
If you have any pictures or reviews on any of the above Belize Cross Country Cyclists, and would like to have it publish on this site.     

 Some info was published in the: Amandala, Reporter,
Chetumal to Bacalar 1960's
Cycle Races @ MCC Grounds 1960's
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Anselm Waight,   2nd. place 1931

1990 (April 14) ------- Charles Lewis ---------------------------- Ronald Sutherland
1991 (March 30) ----- Charles Lewis ---------------------------- Christopher Eash United States
1992 (April 18) -------- Michael LewisLeancy Gomez Cuba
1993 (April 10) -------- Collet Maheia ---------------------------- Roque Matus
1994 (April 2) ---------- Charles Lewis --------------------------- Bobby Lee United States
1995 (April 15) -------- Orlando Chavarria --------------------- Gustavo Carillo Guatemala
1996 (April 6) ---------- Chris Blake "United States" ----------Gustavo Carillo Guatemala
1997 (March 29) ------ Ernest Meighan --------------------------Bobby Lee United States
1998 (April 11) --------- Ben Barnard "United States" ------- Gustavo Carillo Guatemala
1999 (April 3) -----------Chris Fredericks United States ----- Steve Muejack United States
2000 (April 22) ---------Gustavo Carillo "Guatemala" -------- Ben Jones United States
2001 (April 14) -------- Ernest Meighan --------------------------Andrew Smiling
2002 (March 30) ------ Eduardo Uribe "Mexico" -------------- Gustavo Carillo Guatemala
2003 (April 19) ---------Chris Harkey "United States"--------- Abel Jochola Guatemala
2004 (April 10) -------- Chris Harkey "United States"--------- Shane Vasquez
2005 (March 26) -------William Elliston "United States"------ Michael Lewis
2006 (April 15) ---------Shane Vasquez --------------------------Jose Robles Colombia
2007 (April 7) -----------Boyd Johnson "United States"------- Anthony Taylor Jamaica / United States
2008 (March 22) ------ Ryan Baumann  "United States"-----Michael Lewis
2009 (April 11) --------- Carlos Lopez "Mexico" ----------------Carlos Manuel Hernandez "Mexico"
2010 (April 3) -----------Miguel Perez "Guatemala" ------------Wilmen Bravo Isaga "Venezuela"
2011 (April 23) ----------Luis Alberto Santizo "Guatemala"---Carlos Gabriel Hernandez "Guatemala"
2012 (April 7) -----------Giovanni Choto ------------------------- Brandon Cattouse
2013 (March 30) ------ Darnell Barrow ---------------------------Juan Pablo Magallanes "Mexico"
2014 (April 19) ---------Juan Pablo Magallanes "Mexico"-- Alejandro Padilla Miranda "Guatemala"
2015 (April 4) -----------Justin Williams "Belize / United States"-- Scottie Weiss "United States"
2016 (March 26) -------Alejandro Padilla Miranda "Guatemala"--- Jose Maria Julio Padilla MirandaGuatemala
Kenrick Halliday
Belize Cross Country Cycling Champion 'Aston Gil'
Kenrick Doc
Charlie Lewis
3 times Alpheus Williams 
Johnito Miguel
Anselm Waight  
Justin Williams
2016 and 2018  Champ
1969 Rudy Miguel & Duncan Vernon
Alfred Parks