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Mitchell crowned comeback king on first day of British National Track Championships

Mitchell crowned comeback king on first day of British National Track Championships

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Pete Mitchell was crowned comeback king in the men’s sprint and Neil and Lora Fachie took national titles on the first day of the British National Track Championships in Manchester.

In total, 10 national champions were crowned throughout the day, as the event returned to Manchester for the first time since 2020.

Men’s sprint 

Pete Mitchell (Black Line) stormed to the men’s sprint title, having come out of retirement to dominate and take his first senior individual national title.

Mitchell sailed through each round before facing Marcus Hiley (Team Inspired) in the gold medal ride off, where he took two victories to take the overall win.

Second fastest qualifier Hiley beat his Team Inspired teammate Hayden Norris after a close battle of three rides in the quarter-finals, before facing off defending champion Harry Ledingham-Horn (Team Inspired) to ease through to the gold medal ride off.

After qualifying fastest with a time of 9.926, Lyall Craig (Glasgow Track Racing Club) sailed through the opening rounds, before a close three rides against Mitchell saw him into the bronze medal ride off against Ledingham-Horn. Two cagey races saw Ledingham-Horn take the win and round off the podium in bronze.

Speaking after his win, Mitchell said:

“I’ve been training really hard and knew I was going well so just carried on so I could do well at nationals, so I guess it is a comeback! I did have a good three years away from training and had a nasty concussion which sort of ended by time on the GB team as I was out for a year. 

“It’s my first individual senior title so I can’t believe it really. I’m very shocked and definitely didn’t expect it. To win it is crazy! This is my home track and Manchester always delivers. For me, it feels like bringing it home and it's been a great day.”

Lora Fachie

Para-cycling B time-trial 

Lora and Neil Fachie asserted their dominance in the women’s and men’s para-cycling B time-trial races with golden performances. 

Lora Fachie (Black Line) and pilot Corrine Hall (Storey Racing) stormed to the women’s win, completing the 1km ride in 1:09.166 to take the gold medal. Fachie and Hall beat world champions Sophie Unwin (Private) and Jenny Holl (Loughborough Lightning), who finished a second behind in 1:10.239, while Natalie Jamieson (Born to Bike RT) and Emily Chilton (Jadan Vive le Velo Glasdon) took home the bronze.

Speaking after her win, Fachie said: “We weren’t really expecting this one, it’s quite a nice surprise. Training has been going ok but it’s nice to pull out a decent ride. It’s a confidence boost ahead of worlds in a few weeks' time.”

World champions Neil Fachie (Black Line) and Matt Rotherham (ESV Manchester) also secured the gold medal in the men’s equivalent, putting out a powerful performance to take the win in 1:00.764. James Ball (Private) and Steffan Lloyd (Wales Racing Academy) claimed the silver with a time of 1:01.371, while Thomas Wing (Private) and Josh Dunham (VC St Raphael) clocked 1:07.047 to win the bronze.

Fachie said: “Not a bad day at the office! This year has not been ideal prep for us so to actually come here and put in a good performance, it’s just such a good feeling. We’re competing against our teammates who are phenomenal athletes and it’s so good to be back in Manchester again. The line felt as smooth as anything, it’s hard to handle those bikes at those speeds around a tight velodrome and massive credit to Matt for that.”

Matt Rotherham and Neil Fachie

Women’s scratch race 

Jenny Holl (Loughborough Lightning) won the women’s scratch race after a flying final effort saw her hold on to take her first senior individual title in Manchester.

The 10km race saw Grace Lister (HESS) spearhead the front of the race from the gun, driving the pace forward with Cat Ferguson (Hope Tech Factory Racing). Dannielle Watkinson (Jadan Vive le Velo Glasdon) took control at the halfway point, driving on the pace, before being caught.

With 20 laps remaining, Kate Richardson (Lifeplus-Wahoo) and Carys Lloyd (Liv CC - Halo Films) got away but came back together, with Lloyd dropping off the pace and reeled back into the bunch. Richardson continued to ride strongly away with Lidl-Trek's Izzy Sharp chasing solo behind.  

Maddie Leech (Lifeplus-Wahoo) turned on her engine and flew round the two with ease, while Lister and Eilidh Shaw (Alba Development Road Team) were tight on her wheel before it all came back together.

The final seven laps saw some chaotic racing, with Watkinson again making a move with four laps remaining. Shaw continued to show her strength as Scottish champion and overtook, before Holl showed her immense speed to sail well ahead of the field.

The final lap saw Leech and Ferguson chasing tightly but Holl held on to pinch the win. 

Having already claimed a silver in the tandem events, Holl said: 

“It was a pretty chilled start which was quite nice. It’s a long race with that many girls, no one is going to go too early. I tried to make sure I was super relaxed throughout, keeping myself out of trouble. There were a few dangerous moves, Kate Richardson had a really good move towards the end and then I just saw a moment with about five [laps] to go and I decided I had to be all in and thankfully it paid off. I’ve won a few national titles, but I’ve never won an individual one on my own, so this means a lot.”

  Nigel and Jenny Holl

Women's 500m time-trial

Rhianna Parris-Smith (Team Inspired) stormed to her first national title in the women’s 500m time-trial, recording a time of 33.954 seconds. 

It was a Team Inspired clean sweep as Lowri Thomas came second 0.238 seconds behind, and Milly Tanner finished third less than a tenth of a second behind.

Parris-Smith said: 

“Honestly, it’s just a shock and surprise but I’m just trying to take it all in. It’s just about trying to go as fast as I can. In the second half I was trying to stay as aero as possible, which I managed to do, so I’m really happy. It’s really nice to have a crowd in here – they’ve been amazing all day.”

Rihanna Parris-Smith

Para-cycling C1-5 time-trial

World champion Jody Cundy (Para-T) put down a blistering time of 1:04.527 to take another national title in the men’s C4-5 1km time-trial. Blaine Hunt (Para-T) took the silver in 1:05.181 while Archie Atkinson (Para-T) claimed the bronze.

Speaking after his win, Cundy said:

“It was a good ride - I wasn’t really sure where I was performance wise. It was nice to do a good performance today and the best thing is, I’m doing the morning kilo tomorrow so it doesn’t stop there! I’m looking forward to a little bit of noise in here and performing in front of a crowd again is so nice.”

Daphne Schrager (DI MASCIO) retained her title in the para-cycling C1-5 500m time-trial, clocking 38.187 to take the national stripes. Rebecca Newark (Contiki Velo Bavarian RT) finished second in 40.442 to claim the silver medal, while Katie Toft (Storey Racing) finished third on 42.006.

Jaco Van Gass (Para-T) won the national title in the men’s time trial para C1-3 with a time of 1:07.417. Finlay Graham (Para-T) came in second with a time of 1:08.206 and Matthew Robertson (Woolwich CC) picked up the bronze medal with a time of 1:10.447.

Jody Cundy

Men's individual pursuit 

Michael Gill (Private) stormed to the individual pursuit win to take his first ever national title in a blistering time of 4:09.400.

Having qualified fastest on 4:11.020, the final saw Gill catch Will Roberts (Saint Piran) within the final kilometre, and carry on to clock a personal best time. Roberts settled for the silver while Matthew Brennan (Visma-Lease a Bike Development Team) took the bronze on 4:17.852 to just beat William Perrett (Spirit TBW).

Speaking on his first national title, Gill said:

“In qualifying, I was just trying to put a ride together, really. I’m not really sure where I was. Going into it, I hadn’t really done an individual pursuit. I was mainly focused on the team pursuit.

“I just wanted to build on that and put a good ride together, so I’m pretty pleased to come home with two personal bests.”

  Michael Gill

Women's team pursuit

Team Inspired put on a dominant display in the final of the women’s team pursuit to take the national title.

The team made up of Maddie Leech, Grace Lister, Kate Richardson and Izzy Sharp made the catch in the final kilometre, beating Tofauti Everyone Active’s Erin Boothman, Carys Lloyd, Abigail Miller and Mari Porton to the gold medal.

Sharp said:

“It’s really nice being surrounded by the team because we can pick each other up. It’s great to be in Manchester, but it’s kind of weird here because it’s our training ground and it feels like we’re already racing in a way and the crowd were amazing.”

Day one photo album

Tomorrow the riders will be racing for the national stripes in the men's and women’s C1-5 pursuit, men’s 1km time-trial, women’s sprint, men’s team sprint, women’s individual pursuit, men’s and women’s B pursuit, and the men’s points race.