Conquering the mud on day one of the British Cycling Cyclo-Cross National Championships in Shrewsbury were Maddi Smith, Tim Gould, Megan James, Ava Oxley-Szilagyi, Ben Tulett, Emile Alexander and Nick Craig, who all clinched national jerseys.
“It was amazing and a complete shock which I didn’t expect at all, said James. “I am speechless, I didn’t want to go out too hard and saved something for the end which worked.”
James, riding for Abergavenny RC, got off to a perfect start taking the lead ahead of Harriet Harnden (Malvern Cycle Sport).
A mechanical for Harnden saw the Welsh champion pull out a small lead before extending it to over 40 seconds with a lap to go.
The drama was played out behind as Harnden had another mechanical which saw her drop from a comfortable second down to fourth allowing Poppy Wildman (Nottingham Clarion CC) to clinch silver and Elspeth Grace (Welwyn Wheelers) an unlikely bronze.
The under-14 girls saw favourite Ava Oxley-Szilagyi (VCUK) distance her rivals before the half-way point and riding to victory ahead of Maddie Wadsworth (Beeline Bicycles UK) in second and Eluned King (Towy Riders) third.
The 13-year-old from Liversedge said: “I did what we set out to do and it was a strong course for me with the running and long straights.”
Ben Tulett (Beeline-Gener8) was the winner in one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the day, the under-16 boys.
The 14-year-old from Sevenoaks took the lead from Euan Cameron (Paul Milnes Cycles) on the second lap and never looked back increasing his lead every lap.
“I knew I could do it as I was training well in the week and it all came together on the day,” said Tulett.
Behind, Cameron looked a comfortable second until sliding on mud and hitting a barrier on the last lap.
This allowed Ben Healey (Solihull CC) to snatch silver medal ahead of Lewis Askey (Lichfield City CC) in third.
In the under-14 boy’s race Emile Alexander (Lichfield City CC) took an emphatic victory riding well clear of his rivals and despite starting minutes behind he caught all but four of the under-16s.
He said: “Just straight from the start I got distances and the aim was to win so to get my first national title feels really good.”
The battle for second was won by Freddy Birchill (Certini) who just edged Alec Gregory (Leicester RC) into third.
Veteran men 40-49
The final race of the day saw Nick Craig (Scott Racing) retain his veteran 40-49 title after battling it out with Rob Jebb (Hope Factory Racing).
As the rain lashed down the mud became thicker and riding became harder, but it was Craig who worked his way to the front before distancing his rival.
Craig said: “It was heavy and really tough, there was no easy riding and to beat Jebb on a running course is difficult. Once I got a gap in the wooded section I just extended it.”
In third was Ian Taylor (C and N Cycles RT) who slipped back after leading on the first lap.
Maddi Smith (Bolsover & District CC) went one better from last year to secure the veteran women’s title.
The 44 year-old from Sheffield took the lead from the outset and never looked back taking a comfortable win.
She said: “It is out of this world and I’m so pleased. I didn’t expect to win but it’s a nice surprise and I’m looking forward to the next race. My parents pitted for me and they are 70 and 80 so I have had great support.”
Last year’s winner Isla Rowntree (Islabikes) was out of action with illness which meant Smith was the strongest in the muddy conditions.
Behind Helen Pattinson (Solent Pirates) and Alison Kinloch (VCUK) were locked in an early battle for silver until Kinloch fell away as the race went on.
Nicola Davies (Beacon Wheelers) rode over to Pattison with a lap to go before beating her in a tight sprint and also took the over-50s title.
Veteran men over-50
Tim Gould (Zepnat RT) showed his form to retain his title in the over-50's veteran’s race, despite being run close.
The 51-year-old from Matlock was favourite going into the race having won the last three rounds of the British Cycling National Trophy Series.
He took the lead early on the first lap and kept a narrow advantage to the finish.
“Shrewsbury was my first comeback race last year and I suffered like hell as it was my first cross race and I didn’t have good memories of this course. I thought I would have a job on to defend but with all this rain it fell into place for me.”
Behind, Steven Davies (Hargroves Cycles) led the initial chase before being passed by Chris Young (Pedalsport CC) after the half distance while Gould had a 30-second lead.
Grant Johnson (Sunset Cycles) also passed Davies and looked comfortable in third position.
Young maintained chasing the leader and closed the gap to 22 seconds with a lap to go while Johnson and Davies dropped away.
Despite bringing the gap down Young fell away in the final lap allowing Gould to retain his title, Johnson was third and Davies fourth and first over-55.
Veteran men 40-49
1 Nick Craig SCOTT Racing V45 40:51.0
2 Robert Jebb Hope Factory Racing V40 41:07.0
3 Ian Taylor C and N Cycles RT V40 42:11.0
4 James Bryan www.Zepnat.com RT V40 42:51.9
5 Crispin Doyle Hargroves Cycles Ridley RT V40 43:02.8
6 Darren Atkins Ride Coventry V45 43:03.5
7 Andrew Taylor C and N Cycles RT V40 43:07.6
8 Robert Thackray Oldfield/Paul Milnes V40 43:30.3
9 Andrew Peace Jedi Cycle Sport V45 43:33.9
10 Dan Alexander www.Zepnat.com RT V40 43:46.5
Veteran men over-50:
1 Tim Gould Zepnat RT V50 42:03.2
2 Chris Young Pedalsport CC V50 42:20.1
3 Grant Johnson Sunset Cycles V50 42:56.6
4 Steven Davies Hargroves Cycles Ridley RT V55 43:59.7
5 Kenny Johnson SCOTT Racing V50 44:10.1
6 Mick Style Manchester Whlrs Club V50 45:21.0
7 Mick Davies Pedal Power Loughborough V55 45:38.0
8 Geoff Giddings Team Jewson-M.I.Racing V50 45:59.3
9 Matt Wilson Mountain Goat Coaching V50 46:11.9
10 Mark Ferguson High Peak Cycles RT V50 46:27.5
1 Maddi Smith Bolsover & District CC V45 49:57
2 Nicola Davies Beacon Wheelers V50 52:36
3 Helen Pattinson Solent Pirates V45 52:36
4 Alison Kinloch PH-MAS VCUK Women's CT V40 53:53
5 Tracey Fletcher Team Empella Cyclo V50 54:09
6 Karen Summers Revolutions Racing V45 54:32
7 Martine Verweij Team Jewson-M.I.Racing V40 55:50
8 Elizabeth Clayton Lichfield City CC V50 56:18
9 Jackie Field Cycle Club Ashwell (CCA) V50 56:27
10 Brenda Callander Stirling Bike Club V45 56:42
Over-50s: Nicola Davies
1 Megan James Abergavenny RC 39:39
2 Poppy Wildman Nottingham Clarion CC 42:32
3 Elspeth Grace Welwyn Wheelers CC 42:56
4 Harriet Harnden Malvern Cycle Sport 43:04
5 Xan Crees Team Empella Cyclo 44:08
6 Anna McGorum Peebles CC 44:50
7 Fiona Turnbull Speedflex Race Team 44:51
8 Lucy Horrocks Hope Factory Racing 45:22
9 Cecilia Hime St Ives CC 45:36
10 Amy Perryman Solent Pirates 46:11
1 Ava Oxley-Szilagyi PH-MAS VCUK Women's CT 43:15
2 Maddie Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT 43:56
3 Eluned King Towy Riders 44:42
4 Sarah Briggs Matlock CC 45:57
5 Anna Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT 46:30
6 Anna Flynn Edinburgh RC 47:04
7 Amelie Wayte www.Zepnat.com RT 48:26
8 Sophie Lewis Cycle Club Ashwell (CCA) 48:43
9 Josie Nelson MnD Fusion RT Gearclub 49:02
10 Harley Pell Cycle Club Ashwell (CCA) 51:36
1 Ben Tulett Beeline-Gener8 34:11.2
2 Ben Healy Solihull CC 34:30.9
3 Lewis Askey Lichfield City CC 34:32.7
4 Euan Cameron Paul Milnes Bradford RC 35:22.4
5 Harrison Knight Solihull CC 35:36.2
6 Sean Flynn Edinburgh RC 35:39.0
7 Charlie Craig SCOTT Racing 35:39.2
8 Lewis Hartley Inspire VCUK Racing Team 36:01.9
9 Toby Barnes Lichfield City CC 36:05.1
10 Callum Macleod Palmer Park Velo RT 36:18.8
1 Emile Alexander Lichfield City CC 33:49.6
2 Freddy Birchill Certini 38:03.5
3 Alec Gregory Leicestershire Road Club 38:10.0
4 Oliver Stockwell Welwyn Wheelers CC 38:50.6
5 Matti Egglestone Beacon Wheelers 41:08.2
6 Adam Lightfoot Cycle Club Ashwell (CCA) 41:08.6
7 Jamie Johnston Pro Vision Cycle Clothing 41:13.0
8 Simon Wyllie Halesowen A & CC 41:16.9
9 Guto Dafydd Towy Riders 41:31.7
10 Christian Boon Derby Mercury RC 41:53.3