Mason and Couzens master the mud in Falkirk National Trophy Series

Mason and Couzens master the mud in Falkirk National Trophy Series


Riders battled the elements as well as one of the toughest courses at the second round of the Cyclo-cross National Trophy Series in Falkirk as Cameron Mason and Millie Couzens proved strongest of the field.

Elite Women

Millie Couzens (Crelans-Fristads) stormed to victory ahead of Alderney Baker (Team Empella Cyclo-Cross.Com) on a challenging day of racing, sealing a win in her first National Trophy Series race of the season. 

On a day where persistent rain meant riders were battling the course as much as the other riders, Couzens and Baker had stiff competition from Ishbel Strathdee and Lotta Mansfield (Montezuma's Race Team).

Couzens started fastest and set her stall out from the beginning, showing that this was a day to race from the front. Behind, a battle for Couzens’ wheel erupted as riders hit the first of the many sharp climbs in a testing course.

By the end of the first lap, Couzens had a five second lead, fearlessly hurtling down the steep descents with Baker, Mansfield, Strathdee, and Elena Day (Ignite) in quick pursuit. The switchbacks and technical course did not favour a chasing group, who were unable to match Couzens’ speed. Couzens worked well on her own, enjoying the freedom to pick her own lines on the muddy course.

Behind, Elena Day lost ground while Sophie Thackray (CAMS-Basso Bikes) made her way through the splintering groups after a slow start.

After two laps, Couzens had a small lead, but she couldn’t relax as Baker was holding the gap at less than 25 seconds.

However, Couzens’ consistency would prove to be the determining factor in the race for the win - Baker lost time on lap three and, despite a spirited comeback and two fast closing laps, she was unable to bring back a storming Couzens who crossed the line 35 seconds ahead of Baker in second place.

Behind, Strathdee was in a close battle with Lotta Mansfield. Unable to close the gap to Baker, a slow final lap from Mansfield put the result beyond doubt and Strathdee cruised in to take the final step on the podium.

A clean sweep of the podium by under 23 riders means that Alderney Baker takes the lead in both the elite women’s standings and the under 23 standings.

alderney baker

Elite Men

Cameron Mason (Trinity Racing) showed that he is closing in on his best form as the cyclo-cross season ramps up, taking a masterful win at his local National Trophy Series round in Falkirk.
Mason was tipped as a favourite before the race. However, with number one on his jersey, he was a marked man and a strong contingent of the British scene was ready to battle him for the win.

Toby Barnes (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport) had already shown fine form at the first round in Derby, and he set off from the start like a rocket. Alongside him was Rory McGuire (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli), while Mason was slower from the line and back in fifth after the first climb of the day. Undeterred, Mason worked his way through the field, and was at the front by the end of the first lap.

Heavy rain was turning the course into a true challenge, and Mason’s technical ability shone through as he accelerated towards the end of the first lap.

Barnes was the closest to the leader in pace, and he worked hard in the technical sections to hold Mason’s wheel, but it was only a matter of time before a gap opened. Mason set about building his lead, stretching it out to over a minute.

The battle for second and third was hotly fought, with Barnes trying to hold off Ben Chilton (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus). Chilton had closed the early gap and coming into the finale was only a few seconds behind Barnes.

In a dramatic finish, Chilton overtook Barnes on the final lap and held off a valiant chase, crossing the line exhausted in second place.

Mason took a well-deserved win ahead of Chilton, with Barnes rounding out the podium in third. Jenson Young (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge) was the only other rider within two minutes of the winner.

With his second podium in two rounds, Barnes takes the National Trophy Series lead, while Chilton leads the under 23 men’s competition.

national trophy series falkirk

Junior Women

The junior women’s race was packed full of action and the lead changed hands multiple times on the challenging course.

Libby Bell (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge) forced an early advantage, accelerating away from the field and leading through the technical sections on the flat, with big gaps forming after only one lap.

Niamh Murphy (Liv Cycling Club Halo Films) was two seconds back after the first lap, while Alice Colling (Shibden Cycling Club), Elizabeth McKinnon (Montezuma's Race Team), Emily Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing), and Hope Inglis were battling for the minor placings.

However, everything changed in the space of two laps as Bell and Murphy were forced to abandon after crashing.

Elizabeth McKinnon was best placed of the chasing riders and worked hard to build a lead ahead of Colling and Carrick-Anderson.

Coming into the final lap with a slim lead over Colling, McKinnon pushed all the way to the line, celebrating with a cry of relief and joy.

Behind her, Colling took a comfortable second place and Emily Carrick-Anderson came home for third ahead of a shattered field.

national trophy series falkirk

Junior Men

In the junior men’s race, Oli Akers (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport) proved to be the strongest rider once again, winning ahead of long-time rivals Max Greensill (Hope Factory Racing) and Alfie Amey (GKR Racing).

Akers won the National Trophy Series round in Derby with a fine display of race-craft, but his victory in Falkirk showed that he is equally capable of taking a win built on pure strength and technical ability.
Akers took the lead from the first lap and the others struggled to come to terms with him throughout the rest of the race.

In the fight for second place, Greensill took an early lead and it looked for a short time that he would be leading the charge behind Akers. However, he was unable to back up his fast start and Amey worked his way up to Greensill and quickly went past. Undeterred, Greensill fought back and overtook Amey again, gradually pulling away in the hunt for Akers.

Despite the best efforts of Greensill, Akers was untouchable and increased his lead to 40 seconds by the end of the race, crossing the line with his arms aloft for the second time this season. Amey rolled in for third, 30 seconds behind Greensill in second.

national trophy series falkirk


A full list of podium placings is below:

Elite Women

Millie Couzens (Crelan - Fristads)

Alderney Baker (Team Empella Cyclo-Cross)

Ishbel Strathdee

Elite Men

Cameron Mason (TRINITY Road Racing)

Ben Chilton (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus)

Toby Barnes (Garden Shed UK-Ribble)

Under-23 Men

Ben Chilton (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus)

Jenson Young (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport)

Bjoern Koerdt (Shibden Cycling Club)

Under-23 Women

Millie Couzens (Crelan - Fristads)

Alderney Baker (Team Empella Cyclo-Cross)

Ishbel Strathdee

Junior Women

Elizabeth McKinnon (Montezuma's Race Team)

Alice Colling (Shibden Cycling Club)

Emily Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing)

Junior Men

Oliver Akers (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport)

Max Greensill (Hope Factory Racing)

Alfie Amey (GKR Racing)

Men’s U16

Innes McDonald (Edinburgh RC)

Peter Carpenter (C and N Cycles RT)

Noah Ellison (Shibden Cycling Club)

Men’s U14

Noah White (Mid Shropshire Wheelers)

Xander Graham (Jukebox Cycling Team)

Daniel Davies (Maindy Flyers CC)

Women’s U16

Madeline Moorhouse Smith (Shibden Cycling Club)

Arabella Blackburn (Deeside Thistle CC)

Zoe Roche (WXC World Racing)

Women’s U14

Melanie Rowe (Deeside Thistle CC)

Olivia Poole (Deeside Thistle CC)

Rose Lewis (Halesowen A & CC)

Women’s Veterans 40-49

Ceris Styler (Backstedt Bike Performance)

Lucy Siddle (Reifen Racing)

Deborah Smith (Nova Race Team)

Women’s Veterans 50-59

Helen Pattinson (Montezuma's Race Team)

Caroline Harvey (Peebles CC)

Clare Hoskins (Cardiff JIF)

Women’s Veterans 60+

Nicola Davies (

Carolyn Speirs (Kendal Cycle Club)

Elizabeth Clayton (RT23)

Men’s Veterans 40-49

Adrian Lansley (

Tony Fawcett (SCOTT Racing)

Robert Jebb (Hope Factory Racing)

Men’s Veterans 50-59

Nicholas Craig (SCOTT Racing)

Ian Taylor (Shibden Cycling Club)

Nicholas Whitley (Chester RC)

Men’s Veterans 60+

Grant Johnson

Michael Davies (Pedal Power Loughborough)

Brendan Roe (Ryan's Bike Surgery)