Couzens and Mason conquer muddiest course yet in this year’s HSBC UK | National Trophy Series

Couzens and Mason conquer muddiest course yet in this year’s HSBC UK | National Trophy Series

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Cyclo-cross is known for its challenging conditions, but we’ve had to wait five rounds for the first mud-caked race of this year’s National Trophy Series.

Now that the mud was here, Cyclopark hosted an all-star field where everything was to play for.

Elite Women

Abbie Manley of Montezuma's Race Team came into the women’s race as the Series leader. Standing in her way was a strengthened Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus team.

Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus’ new signing, Josie Nelson, was looking to put her form to good use in her first National Series outing for the team, while her teammate, Amira Mellor, had a shot at the National Trophy lead.

However, Crelan-IKO’s Millie Couzens, had other plans.

A quick start saw Couzens in pole position ahead of the Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus pairing of Josie Nelson and Xan Crees. Taking the initiative on the muddy course, Couzens attacked early.

Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus had three riders in the top five and Abbie Last (SCOTT Racing) was taking the fight to them. But Couzens was five seconds faster than Nelson over the first lap and she pushed on from there, knowing that a sustained chase was difficult given the conditions.

Further back, Abbie Manley, the Series leader was under pressure. She was off the pace and shocked the field as she abandoned on lap three.

The drama in the main field didn’t faze Millie Couzens, who proceeded to lap ten seconds faster than Nelson, only easing off in the finale once her victory was assured. Nelson crossed the line 21 seconds later, followed by Annie Last, who set the fastest lap of the day on her way to rounding out the podium.

With Manley out of the points, Mellor took the lead in the HSBC UK | Cyclo-cross National Trophy with one round remaining.

Elite Men

In the men’s race, the return of TRINITY Racing’s Cameron Mason was the story of the day, but it wouldn’t be plain sailing for the young Scottish rider.

As the flag dropped, each rider knew that positioning was crucial on a course that had been chewed up by two days of racing.

Exiting the starting straight, disaster struck.

A crash on the left of the bunch forced riders to slow or stop, with Cameron Mason losing almost 20 seconds to the leaders.

Three familiar names were unaffected by the crash and they established themselves at the front after the first lap: Corran Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing); Joseph Blackmore (ROTOR Race Team; and Rory McGuire (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli).

Two laps later, the gap between the leading trio and two chasers - Cameron Mason and Ben Chilton (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus) - was coming down rapidly and the frenetic pace saw the trio fracture and Mason drop his companion.

It wasn’t long before a dominant Cameron Mason came hurtling past the three leaders, picking them off one by one in quick succession.

The punishing pace changed the dynamics at the front of the race, and Mason soon had an unassailable lead that grew all the way to the finish line.

Carrick-Anderson held on for second place to extend his lead in the overall standings, while Ben Chilton worked his way onto the podium. Behind, Rory McQuire had mechanical difficulties in the closing stages and dropped out of the top five.

That means Corran Carrick-Anderson has strengthened his lead in the overall Series before the final showdown in North Yorkshire in January.

Junior Women

Ella Maclean-Howell’s winning streak finally came to an end on Sunday in the mud of Cyclopark, but her lead in the Series standings remains unassailable.

A slow second lap from Maclean-Howell (Tofauti Everyone Active) gave Emily Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing), Elizabeth McKinnon (Derwentside CC), and Libby Bell (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport) a chance to take a 30-second lead.

Emily Carrick-Anderson pushed on and consistently set the quickest lap times ahead of McKinnon, while Libby Bell lost almost two minutes on the penultimate lap and slipped out of contention behind Maclean-Howell.

In contrast, Carrick-Anderson was riding the perfect race. She stretched her lead to almost a minute ahead of Elizabeth McKinnon and Ella Maclean-Howell, who finished in second and third respectively.

Junior Men

In the junior men’s race, Nathan Smith (Garden Shed UK‐Ribble‐Verge Sport) showed he is the rider to beat right now as he dominated the race all the way to the top step of the podium.

Smith got away from the line faster than his closest rivals, Max Greensill (Hope Factory Racing) and Ben Askey (Backstedt Bike Performance RC), and he took control of the race from there.

Greensill and Askey were a constant presence for the majority of the race, but Smith was a class above the rest as he crossed the line with a minute to spare, where he emulated Tom Pidcock’s ‘superman’ celebration from 2019.

Greensill managed to distance Askey, who took third place a further minute down.

Men’s U16

Alfie Amey and Oscar Amey put DB Racing on the top two steps of the podium in the Men’s U16 race. The two riders excelled in the conditions - Alfie led from start to finish, while Oscar dueled with Peter Carpenter (C&N Cycles RT). Oscar eventually took second place by five seconds ahead of Carpenter in third.

Men’s U14

Once again, Leon Atkins (Welwyn Wheelers CC) was unstoppable, winning by more than a minute ahead of Jacob Steed (Sherwood Pines Cycles Forme). Steed’s teammate, George Cooper rolled in alone, almost 40 seconds later, to claim the final step on the podium.

Women’s U16

Cat Ferguson (Hope Factory Racing) was the strongest rider in the women’s U16 race. She took the lead on lap one, leaving Alice Colling (Shibden Cycling Club) and Florence Greenhalgh (Paul Milnes ‐ Bradford Olympic RC) chasing hard.

Colling proved the strongest of the two chasers, but Ferguson was in a class of her own, taking the win by fifty seconds. Florence Greenhalgh came in eighteen seconds after Colling to claim third.

Women’s U14

Aelwen Davies of Velo Myrddin CC p/b Y Beic took the win in the women’s U14 race ahead of the previous round’s winner, Zoe Roche (WXC World Racing). A tight battle came down to the wire as Davies just got the better of Roche on the final lap. Rose Lewis (Halesowen A & CC) claimed the third step of the podium.

Women’s Veterans 40-49

Kate Eedy (Team Empella took to the top step of the podium after narrowly beating Ceris Styler (Backstedt Bike Performance RC) in a final sprint. The two riders built up a minute’s lead ahead of the third place rider, Alison Kinloch (PH-MAS - Paul Milnes Cycles), who had a further twenty seconds on Caroline Reuter (Dulwich Paragon CC).

Women’s Veterans 50-59

Helen Pattinson (Montezuma’s Race Team) rode to a fine win ahead of Catriona Ross (Bridport CC) to take the women’s veterans 50-59 category in Gravesend. Meanwhile, Tracey Fletcher (Magspeed Racing) finished in third place, a further thirty seconds back.

Men’s Veterans 40-49

Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) took the win yet again, this time with Paul Lloyd (Banjo Cycles/Raceware) thirty seconds down in second place. Adrian Lansley ( put in a solid ride to take third ahead of David Earth (Rose Race Team).

Men’s Veterans 50-59

Nicholas Craig (SCOTT Racing) rode to victory ahead of Nicholas Whitley (Chester RC). He took a solo win by twenty seconds after consistently proving himself the strongest over almost every lap of the race. Daniel Alexander ( RT) battled back and forth with Whitley, and Alexander had to settle for third by the finish.

Men’s Veterans 60+

Robin Delve (Mid Devon CC) was victorious once again in the men’s 60+ field. He took a dominant win ahead of Michael Davies (Pedal Power Loughborough) and Paul Caton (Verulam -, with large time gaps separating the three rides after a tough race.

Photo gallery


A full list of podium placings is below:

Elite women

Millie Couzens (Crelan-IKO)
Josie Nelson (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus)
Annie Last (SCOTT Racing)

Elite men

Cameron Mason (TRINITY Racing)
Corran Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing)
Ben Chilton (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus)

Under-23 women

Millie Couzens (Crelan-IKO)
Josie Nelson (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus)
Xan Crees (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus)

Under-23 men

Cameron Mason (TRINITY Racing)
Corran Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing)
Ben Chilton (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus)

Junior women

Emily Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing)
Elizabeth McKinnon (Derwentside CC)
Ella Maclean-Howell (Tofauti Everyone Active)

Junior men

Nathan Smith (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport)
Max Greensill (Hope Factory Racing)
Ben Askey (Backstedt Bike Performance RC)

Men’s U16

Alfie Amey (DB Racing)
Oscar Amey (DB Racing)
Peter Carpenter (C&N Cycles RT)

Men’s U14

Leon Atkins (Welwyn Wheelers CC)
Jacob Steed (Sherwood Pines Cycles Forme)
George Cooper (Sherwood Pines Cycles Forme)

Women’s U16

Cat Ferguson (Hope Factory Racing)
Alice Colling (Shibden Cycling Club)
Florence Greenhalgh (Paul Milnes - Bradford Olympic RC)

Women’s U14

Aelwen Davies (Velo Myrddin CC p/b Y Beic)
Zoe Roche (WXC World Racing)
Rose Lewis (Halesowen A & CC)

Women’s Veterans 40-49

Kate Eedy (Team Empella Cyclo-Cross)
Ceris Styler (Backstedt Bike Performance RC)
Alison Kinloch (PH-MAS - Paul Milnes Cycles)

Women’s Veterans 50-59

Helen Pattinson (Montezuma's Race Team)
Catriona Ross (Bridport CC)
Tracey Fletcher (Magspeed Racing)

Men’s Veterans 40-49

Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing)
Paul Lloyd (Banjo Cycles/Raceware)
Adrian Lansley (

Men’s Veterans 50-59

Nicholas Craig (SCOTT Racing)
Nicholas Whitley (Chester RC)
Daniel Alexander ( RT)

Men’s Veterans 60+

Robin Delve (Mid Devon CC)
Michael Davies (Pedal Power Loughborough)
Paul Caton (Verulam -