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Maclean Howell crowned cross-country queen in Kirroughtree’s opening national round

Maclean Howell crowned cross-country queen in Kirroughtree’s opening national round

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Ella Maclean Howell was crowned the cross-country queen in Kirroughtree, claiming the elite short track and Olympic title in the opening round of the National Cross-country Series, as Hope continued to dominate with Max Greensill taking his first elite short track win and Thomas Mein securing the Olympic victory.

After the postponed round at Cannock Chase, the National Cross-country Series was finally underway, returning to the glorious scenery at Kirroughtree, Scotland. Turbulent weather gave a mix of racing conditions for an exciting start to the season.

Short Track

Ella Maclean Howell (Hope) claimed her first win of two at the opening short track race, beating Grace Inglis (Saint Piran) and junior rider Bethany-Ann Jackson (Pine Sport) for the top spot.

Hope teammate Max Greensill took his first elite win in the open race with Rhys Hidrio (Caesarean) and Sully Berry (Rotor) following him to the line.

It was a close battle in the youth open race between Leon Atkins (258 Protégé) and Arthur Limb (Matlock), but it was Atkins who came out on top as Dan Ward (Rotor) followed closely in third.

In the female category, Daisy Wilkinson (Scotia Offroad Race Team) brought the field home ahead of Jess Duffield (Cwmcarn Paragon) and Heidi Roscoe (CTW Racing). Rowena Duffield (Cwmcarn Paragon), mother of Jess, won the female veteran category ahead of Karen Heppenstall (Grity Race Team) and Natalie Smith (Rotor).

Paul Oldham (Hope) returned to his winning ways in the open veteran class, with Tom Colley (Chase Racing) beating John Hopkinson to the line for second and third.



Maclean-Howell claimed her second title of the weekend in the female elite race, battling the rain and muddy conditions to take the win in style. Inglis finished in second once again, but it was Elena McGorum (Mighty Cycles) who finished in third after a gutsy performance. Anna Flynn (Spectra Racing) and Emily Carrick-Anderson (Trek) completed the podium.

Close racing in the open elite class led to a sprint finish between Thomas Mein (Hope) and Corran Carrick-Anderson (Scott Pioneer DJ), with a happy Mein describing his win as ‘a bit of a shock’.

He added: “I felt I was a bit stronger on the steady climb but Corran had the advantage on the descent.”

Recovering well from a fall on the penultimate lap Greensill finished in third in his first year as an elite rider, with Jason Boutell (Destination Bike) fourth and Lewis Martin in fifth.


Max Standen (Southfork Racing) had a very consistent race to take the win in the open junior race. Innes McDonald (Scotia Offroad Racing Team) took second ahead of Alex Hart (Grity Race Team). Ben Coppola (Scott Pioneer DJ) and Dec Oldham (Hope) rounded off the podium spots.

Jackson took her second podium of the weekend with a commanding win in the junior female race. Lawless took second ahead of Daisy Taylor (Royal Albert). Evie Strachan (RR23 and Tulsi Bakrania (Montezuma’s) completed the podium.

Watch the highlights from the elite and junior XCO races, courtesy of XCOMTB, below:

Youth and juvenile races

The youth race saw another fight between Atkins and Limb for the top of the podium, before Atkins made it his second win of the weekend. Jacob Steed (Sherwood Pines) claimed third place. In the female race, Maizie Harper (Pine Sport) dominated the race to claim the win, with Daisy Wilkinson (Scotia Offroad Racing Team) in second and Zoe Roche (Ribble-Verge Sport) in third.

In the open juvenile race, Ben Whitehouse (RR23 took his first national win. Zach Buchan (Pentland Racers) was second ahead of Zachary Hutchinson (Clifton CC. Olivia Poole (Deeside Thistle) returned to winning ways in the female equivalent, finishing well ahead of Aoife Scawn (Dartmoor Velo) and Harriet Butcher (Lee Valley).


Oldham dominated the veteran open race with Alan Gunner (Verulam) taking second place ahead of Paul Newman. Helen Jackson (Kendal) took a commanding win in the female race with local Sofia Christiansen (Galloway Hillbillies) second and Alison Banford in third.

Nick Craig (Scott Pioneer DJ) set a tough pace from the start in the gran veteran category, escaping off the front in the opening lap. Craig showed no signs of slowing down as he picked off riders both in the grand vet and veteran categories. Despite starting well after the veterans, Craig caught up to Oldham in the final lap and the pair crossed the line together taking the wins in their respective fields. Marc Chamberlain (TY Cycles) was second with another big gap back to the rest of the field, while Ian Taylor (Shibden) rounded off the podium in third. Julie De Leeuw went off the front in the female race to take a commanding victory, while Melissa Pearson and Deborah Whittaker completed the podium.

Grant Johnson took the win in the open super veteran race, with Mick Pilcher (Numplumz Mountainbikers) in second and Andy Weaving (TY Cycles) in third, as Carolyn Spiers (Grity Race Team) won the female race.



Will Weatherill (Hope) took a commanding win in the open expert class ahead of Al Griffin (Addform Vive le Velo), with Finlay Taylor (Royal Albert) in third. Evie Steed (Sherwood Pines) won the female combined expert sport category ahead of Hannah McClorey (Doltcini – Cycle Division) and Charlotte McDowell.

Sport and fun category

Corben Haynes started strongly in the open sport race, leading from the front until a mechanical allowed Rory LaTrobe to close the gap. LaTrobe and Haynes battled to the line, with LaTrobe taking the win in a dramatic sprint finish, before Joshua Newbould (TY Cycles) claimed third place. In the fun category, Hunter McCrone beat Gareth Hacker and Ross Duffield (Cwmcarn Paragon), while Sarah Broadhead won the female race.

Photo gallery here