Lewis Askey and Anna McGorum took the elite wins in the final round of the National Cross-country Series in Cannock Chase as McGorum and Grant Ferguson secured overall series wins.
The course at Cannock may not be considered overly technical, but the number of sharp, punchy climbs meant riders were working at their limits to top off a great season.
In the elite men’s category, a group of five got away from the rest of the field early in the race, trading places between themselves. Local rider Lewis Askey (GROUPAMA – FDJ) escaped on the final climb to win ahead of Corran Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing). A three-way sprint for the rest of the podium saw Huw Buck Jones (Wales Racing Academy) take the third ahead of Tom Van Ingelgom (Goeman Scott Cycling) and Jason Boutell (Espresso Library). Overall, the consistency of Grant Ferguson (Hope) meant he took the series win ahead of Cameron Mason (Trinity) and Joe Blackmore (Team Inspired).
Anna McGorum (Edinburgh University CC) took a convincing win ahead of Anna Kay (777) and Grace Inglis (Muckle CC) in the women’s category. Amy Henchoz (Scott), who is more of a marathon specialist, took fourth and Ruby James (Hope) picked up fifth. Overall, the series winner was Anna McGorum’s with Jo Thom (Torq) in second and Ella Maclean-Howell (Team Inspired) in third.
Expert and sport categories
In the men’s expert race, James Dilks (Big Maggys) tried for an early break but was caught by a group and the race ended with a sprint up the last hill for the top spot. Leo White (Reflex Racing) won ahead of Dilks, with Joe Barker (Shibden Cycling Club) settling for third and also taking the overall win. White finished second in the series, with Dilks in third.
In the women’s combined expert and sport category, Bronwen Jenkinson (Clwb Beicio Egni Eryri) took another comfortable win ahead of Amy Drysdale (Army Cycling Union). A late dash through the field from Ffyona Booker (University of Nottingham CC) meant she claimed the final podium spot. Overall, the series went to Jenkinson with Melissa Baker (Team Empella) second and Naomi Metcalfe (Army Cycling Union) in third.
A very close race in the men’s sport category led to a three-way sprint for the line with George Turner just taking the win ahead of Jack Bent (UEA Cycling Club) and Michael Wright (Gateway Racing). Jim Vernon (Ride Revolution Coaching) unfortunately suffered a mechanical during the race which meant his series lead disappeared and he got second in the overall behind Wright. Thomas Stegeman (RAF) took third in the overall.
A mechanical on the first lap put Max Greensill (Hope) out of the race, leaving Reuben Oakley (Rotor) to take full advantage and win commandingly. Behind him, Alfie Amey (GKR) and Billy Reed (Louth) battled the entire race for second and third, with Amey securing the silver medal spot, while Oliver Meentzen-Alldritt (Wolverhampton Wheelers) beat Ben Allan (Peebles) in a sprint for the final podium places. Overall, the series went to Greensill with Oakley second and Amey in third.
In the junior women’s race, Emily Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing) escaped from Bethany-Ann Jackson (Pine Sport) for the win. Kacey Eyeington (Derwentside) brought home the rest of the field, while Daisy Taylor (Royal Albert) outsprinted Lucy Allsop (Rotor) to finish the podium. The overall series win went to Eyeington ahead of Bethany-Ann Jackson and Daisy Taylor.
Youth and juvenile
Gus Lawson (Pentland Racers) outsprinted Luke Trafford (Shibden) to win the juvenile boys’ race and secure the overall series lead ahead of Trafford. Xander Graham (Scott) brought home the rest of the field and the third spot overall.
Olivia Poole (Deeside) has been dominating the juvenile girls’ category this season and the final round was no exception as she took another commanding win and the overall series. Rose Lewis (Halesowen A & CC) was second and Isla Pattinson (Solent Pirates) finished in third place, while second in the overall series placings went to Orla White (Dartmoor Velo) and third went to Pattinson.
Max Standen (Southfork Racing) took another win in the youth boys’ race to also take the overall win, finishing his race in Cannock Chase ahead of Alex Hart (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) as Dec Olham (Hope) grabbed the third spot. Leon Atkins (Welwyn Wheelers) finished second overall ahead of Aled Hart.
The overall title for the youth girls was one of those which came down the last race of the season. With two wins each, Evie Strachan (RR23 - runandride.co.uk) and Madeline Moorhouse Smith (Hope) battled for the final overall series win, with Strachan securing the top spot. A surprised Daisy Wilkinson (Scotia Offroad Race Team) finished in second place in Cannock Chase ahead of Moorhouse Smith, who settled for second in the overall series ahead of Zoe Roche (WXC) in third.
Paul Oldham (Hope) won the men’s veterans race again to be crowned the overall series winner. A delighted Alan Gunner (Verulam) finished the race second ahead of Richard Freshwater (Hunt). Sam Humphrey came in second overall ahead of Gunner.
Ruth Miller (Ben Thomas Coaching) took top spot in the women’s veterans race, with Rowena Duffield (Cwmcarn Paragon) second and Karen Heppenstall (Race Off Road) in third to also reflect the results of the overall series.
In the grand veterans, it was the same three riders that have been on the podium all season as Nick Craig (Scott) won a closely fought race over Mark Chamberlain (Hunt Wheels) with the race being decided on the final hill. Dougie Cameron settled for third to also repeat the same podium as the overall series.
Cheri Mills (Oneplanet Adventure) concluded the season with another win in the women’s equivalent, but it took a sprint finish to decide the race between Helen Pattison (Montezuma's Race Team) and Miriam Whitehurst (Reflex Racing). Whitehurst managed to claim second on the overall series ahead of Caroline Mansfield (Magspeed) in third.
In the absence of Grant Johnson in the super veterans category, Kirby Bennett (Team Enable - M.I.Racing) took advantage to grab the win ahead of Kevin Holloway (Racing Club Ravenna) and Stewart Coates (All Terrain Cycles Ride). Overall, Johnson took the title ahead of Holloway and Andy Weaving (Cotswold Cycles RT) in third. Carolyn Speirs (Kendal) took the win and the overall title in the super veteran’s women’s category.
With Max Greensill missing this round, it was local lad Ben Askey (Groupama-FDJ La Conti) who won the senior/junior race in another sprint finish. Rhys Hidrio (Caesarean CC Jersey) grabbed second spot and Joe Griffiths (Saddleback Racing) in third. The title overall belonged safely to Greensill (Hope), Rhys Hidrio second and Sam Howes (Sleaford Wheelers) in third.
Anna Kay (777) won the women’s race ahead of Anna McGorum (Edinburgh University CC) with Grace Inglis (Muckle CC) third. Overall, the title went to Anna McGorum. Bethany Ann Jackson (Pinesport) was second and Elena McGorum (Mighty) in third.
The youth and juvenile racing has been fast and close all season and the final round did not disappoint. Alex Hart (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) took the win he’s been hunting for in a sprint finish ahead of Max Standen (Southfork Racing) as Gus Lawson (Pentland Racers) brought home the rest of the field. Overall, Leon Atkins (Welwyn Wheelers) took the top spot with Standen second and Hart third.
An absolutely delighted Daisy Wilkinson (Scotia Off Road Team) took the win in the girls’ race with Tulsi Bakrania (WXC) in second and Lara Dix (Dartmoor Velo) in third, confirming Tulsi as the overall winner. Grace Ward (365 Shutt Ridley) took second overall ahead of Charlotte Lissaman (Newark) in third.
The veterans race saw a three-way battle for the full 20 minutes, with Paul Oldham (Hope), Nick Craig (Hope) and John Hopkinson constantly trading places. Oldham took the sprint ahead of Craig with Hopkinson having the settle for third. Oldham also secured the overall series win, with Richard Freshwater (Hunt) in second and Stewart Crooks in third.
Cheri Mills (Oneplanet Adventure) had a flyer in the women’s veteran race, taking her first podium of the weekend ahead of Natalie Smith (Rotor). Overall, it was the consistency of Rowena Duffield (Cwmcarn Paragon) which made her overall winner, with Karen Heppenstall second and Mills’ win meaning she took the third spot.