Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven) and Amira Mellor (Paul Milnes RT) secured victory in round three of the British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-Cross Series at Durham University on Sunday.
Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven RT) took victory in round three of the British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-Cross Series at Durham University to move up to second in the overall rankings.
The 24-year-old from Dover – who was the national junior champion in 2007 and 2008 - took the win by 18 seconds from Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles), the 34-year-old Guildford rider who nevertheless secured enough points to go top of the overall series rankings with former leader Ian Field choosing not to ride.
Paton was sixth and fifth in the first two rounds of the National Trophy, but showed a big improvement in his form to take victory at Durham – a win which is his first senior national level victory.
While Crawforth was second, top under-23 rider Ben Sumner (Beeline Bicycles) took third spot, while Lewis Craven (Wheelbase) and Steve James (Hargroves Cycles) completed the top five.
A gritty race was in prospect with the light fading, the mist coming down again, and the chilly conditions and soft ground making for a muddy experience with plenty of work for the pit crews.
Paton made a good start and was at the front of the race from the off, with Sumner and Crawforth for company, while not far behind was Steve James (Hargroves Cycles), Tony Fawcett (Pioneer-Scott Synchros) and Lewis Craven (Wheelbase) in a group, with Jack Clarkson (Hope Factory Racing) and Nick Barnes (Pioneer-Scott Synchros) also in the mix.
After ten minutes of racing Paton was still out in front with Crawforth and Sumner stuck to his wheel, while behind the chasers were dropping back.
With six laps to go, Paton and Sumner attacked and put a little bit of daylight between themselves and Crawforth.
The gap wasn’t massive, but it was enough – although few of the top riders were risking a visit to the pits for a fresh bike.
Paton pushed the pace with five laps to go, and got a gap on Sumner, while Crawforth was around ten seconds back.
With three laps to go Crawforth had caught Sumner, and the pair were to spend much of the remainder of the race attacking each other, while Paton looked comfortable out in front.
As he headed for the penultimate lap Paton risked a bike change which went smoothly, meaning he could ease off just a little on his way to victory, while Crawforth made Sumner suffer and finally put a handful of seconds between them as he headed for second.
“I don’t think I will call that easy but quite controlled, in fact that was a hard race,” said Paton afterwards. “The plan was to settle in on the opening half of the race, maybe sit in and follow a few wheels and ride within myself then hit it hard going into the second half and it did pan out that way.
“I wanted to ride hard out of the corners get a gap and try and chill a bit on the easier sections. Last time I won a National Trophy race was I think 2007-2008 season, which is a long time ago.
“This is the first elite race I’ve ever won, so I’m really chuffed. My form is good which I’m pleased about with Milton Keynes coming up so I’m pretty chuffed at the moment.”
Junior ace Amira Mellor (Paul Milnes RT) won the elite women’s race at round three of the British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-Cross Series at Durham University.
The 17-year-old, third in the previous two rounds, now leads the overall series after her win.
She led a 1-2-3 for Yorkshire riders, with round one winner Annie Simpson (Hope Factory Racing) and round two winner Adela Carter (Hope Factory Racing) finishing second and third respectively.
Mellor, Carter and Merce Pacios Pujado (Beeline Bicycles) were all level on 60 points heading into round three. But Mellor now leads by 10 points from Carter, with Pacios Pujado now four points further back in third.
Mellor took the win by just two seconds from Simpson after overtaking her on the final lap, her bike handling skills coming good on an off-camber corner just before the finishing straight.
Simpson had led early on and on the first lap had 16-year-old Charlotte Broughton (Team Corley Cycles) for company. Meanwhile, Carter was eighth after an indifferent start, but steadily moved through the field.
Pacios Pujado and Mellor were not far behind, and Oxford-based Pujado actually took the lead with around 25 minutes of racing gone, with Mellor, Simpson, Broughton and Carter in her wake.
But with two laps to go Simpson hit the front with Mellor on her wheel, while Pujado was by now third and Carter fourth.
Simpson tried to drop Mellor, but the Paul Milnes RT rider looked comfortable in holding her wheel. On the bell lap Simpson did manage to get a small gap on her rival, but as they headed for the finish Mellor caught and passed Simpson on an off-camber section just before the finishing straight.
Afterwards, Amira Mellor said: “I knew in my mind I had a win in me soon. Today I knew I had to stay with Annie until the end because I know she has quite a kick on her, so I decided to stay on her wheel and kick her at the end.
“The race was a wearing down race, We were with a small group for most of the race and gradually ended up with myself and Annie on the last lap. I think I’m a bit better at the technical sections and I just stuck to my lines and I knew if I was going to pass her it would be on a slippy part which I did and just gave it everything till the line.
“I’ve increased my training for this season which has really helped but it’s something I have had to do to be able to compete at this and International level. I’m still at college so there is only so much you can do in any one day but I guess that’s life.
“I have Milton Keynes in a couple of weeks and I’m riding for GB which is amazing - I can’t wait! It’s going to be such an experience to get out and ride at that kind of level. On home soil and half of Yorkshire is coming to watch, it’s going to be great!”
Nick Craig took a fine victory in the over 40 veterans race in Durham. The current National Champion, Craig (Pioneer-Scott Synchros) secured the win by a slender 16 seconds from overall series contender Ian Taylor (Jedi Cyclesport), while Darren Atkins (Ride Coventry) finished third and surrendered the series lead back to Taylor.
Dan Alexander (Zepnat RT) didn’t help his series chances with a late arrival at gridding and a demotion to the middle of the order, and his third place standing in the series was taken by Mike Simpson (GS Henley) with a creditable fifth even though his head met with the barriers mid race.
Atkins took the lead mid-way through the opening lap, but both Taylor and Craig were quick to react and the three soon formed a group that - barring an incident - would form the podium.
The lead exchanged between the trio throughout the race but it was Craig who still has that edge and without the pressure of a series jersey took the final lap alone to the finish line. Derwentside CC’s Tony Glover took fourth spot much to the approval of the crowd.
Steve Davies took the victory in the Over 50s veterans race. The Hargroves Cycles rider proved too strong for both Phil Roach (Team Jewson) and Chris Young (Pedalsport CC) who finished second and third respectively, three seconds deciding the podium.
Young retains the leader’s jersey by just four points at the mid-point of the series from Roach and Davies win has put him third one point to the good of Tim Gould.
Maddy Smith (Bolsover and District CC) took the win in the veteran women’s race and the series lead, holding off Marie Jackson (Paul Milnes RT) into second and Tracy Fletcher (Team Empella) into third.
For the third time of asking, a jubilant Lewis Askey (Lichfield City CC) took the win in the Under 14s race beating Ben Tulett (Hargroves Cycles) into second place and leaving the door open for some exciting racing in the second half of the series. Charlie Craig (Pioneer-Scott Synchros) finished third after a disappointing Southampton outing.
The race could have gone either way with the two riders wheel on wheel for the whole race but it was the final couple of bends that ultimately decided the outcome, Askey just getting better of Tulett to take the win by a slim three seconds.
Poppy Widman (Nottingham Clarion) made it three wins from three in the Under 14 girls race, again riding a dominant race to secure the victory a full 120 points, Elena Smith (Fossa Racing) and Nicole Clarke (Birkenhead North End CC) finished second and third respectively.
Harry Yates (Hargroves Cycles) took his first win of the series in the Under 16s race. A busy field which at times is almost impossible to follow, again had its spills and thrills. Douglas Toms (Iceni Velo) taking a trip a trip over the bars ended his quest for a win but still holds on to third place in the series.
A last lap chain off for Thomas Mein (Derwentside CC), didn’t help with his endeavours but the local rider kept his cool to finish on the podium and keep the series lead going into Milton Keynes. Second place Mark Donovan (Beacon Wheelers) rode superbly to finish second and his results are improving every round.
With Lucy Horrocks out injured, the door was opened up for any of three to take the series lead in the Under 16 girls race, Maddie Gammons (Bourne Wheelers) took her second win on the bounce to keep her in the title hunt but with three consistent rides it was Rhianna Stoves (Derwentside CC) who takes the series lead into Milton Keynes.
Alfie Moses made it three wins from three in the junior race, the Paul Milnes rider almost looks unbeatable but was given a great race by Tom Seaman (Nutcracker Racing) who is improving every round. Arthur Green (Matlock CC) finished third after a poor start to his campaign and David Barnes (Team Corley Cycles) keeps his second place in the series standings after fourth in Durham.
Full results (with lap splits)
Overall points (after three rounds)