Ian Field and Nikki Brammeier cantered to the elite men’s and women’s titles on day two of the HSBC UK | National Cyclo-Cross Championships in Bradford.
Both riders led from the start and never looked back, while under-23 world champion Evie Richards, European junior champion Tom Pidcock and Billy Harding also won in similar fashion.
Hargroves-Ridley rider Field lost his senior title to Liam Killeen (Malvern Cycle Sport) at Shrewsbury last season but the Yorkshire-based rider wasn’t to be denied in front of a partisan crowd.
The 30-year-old from Keighley attacked on the opening circuit and saw his gap increase lap by lap until it was well over 30 seconds by the halfway point.
Behind, Killeen was alone chasing while an epic battle for third developed between Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) and Grant Ferguson (CST Brentjens MTB Racing).
Oldham put in several attacks to gap his younger companion who eventually cracked with three laps to go, leaving the Hope Factory Racing man clear to ride for bronze.
“It was fantastic to have a home crowd as I moved up here three years ago and it is a really tight cyclo-cross community here,” said Field following the win.
“There were so many supporters for me, it was brilliant. There’s no other feeling like pulling on the national championship jersey.
“I felt a lot of pressure being so close to home with friends and family here so it was nice to put in a solid performance and get the jersey.”
Defending women’s champion Nikki Brammeier (Boels Dolmans CT) took an emphatic victory in the elite women’s race.
The 30-year-old from Draycott near Derby never looked in any trouble and seemed to float around the muddy Peel Park circuit.
Fast starter Hannah Payton (Team Kinesis UK) flew up the starting climb and was followed by Annabel Simpson (Hope Factory Racing).
Within the opening half lap Brammeier showed her pedigree, establishing a gap and never looking back.
Simpson slid out on the bottom section on the opening lap and fell away from medal positions as the race unfolded.
Behind, National Trophy Series winner Payton put in a small gap on Bethany Crumpton (Boot out Breast Cancer CC) early in the race.
That 20-second gap remained roughly the same throughout the 40-minute event as they matched each other.
“I’m super happy as I really needed a win today and although Helen [Wyman] isn’t here it was still going to be a hard day and I needed a perfect ride,” said Brammeier following the win.
“On this course that was never guaranteed and I wasn’t quite sure how my form was beforehand. It’s always special to win a national jersey.”
Billy Harding (Oldfield-Phil Milnes Cycles) also rode to a solo victory in the under-23 event, leading from the start and opening his gap bit by bit over the chasers.
The 20-year-old from Bradford was initially chased by Frazer Clacherty (100% ME) but he went to hard in pursuit of the victory and was caught by Chris Rothwell (Ride 24/7).
Rothwell let the British Cycling Academy rider chase the leader before attacking him after three laps and drawing out a substantial margin.
Behind, Clacherty fended off George Fox (Paul Milnes-Bradford) for bronze and opened back up a comfortable margin.
“I found it a really difficult day as the course is so challenging and I haven’t ridden for a couple of weeks after being ill,” said Harding.
“I was just hanging on as today I felt horrendous, I’d avoided illness all year until a few weeks before this event and I wasn’t sure if I was going to ride so I would have been really gutted.
“I’m really pleased with how it went as I just live around the corner.”
Evie Richards (100% ME) showed just why she is world champion riding to a comfortable victory in the Under-23 Women’s event.
Sisters Ffion and Megan James (Abergavenny RC) led the initial charge away from the line before Richards regained the lead in the opening exchanges.
Ffion James tried to stay with the 19-year-old from Malvern but within the opening lap the reigning champion was well clear.
James slipped back to a chasing Amira Mellor (Next Wyman) who then passed the Welsh rider as the race approached its finale to clinch a clear silver medal.
“I really enjoyed the race, it played to my strengths as it was pretty muddy and there was some good running,” said Richards.
“It’s special every time you win so it just feels amazing to get the national jersey again. I knew I liked this course coming into it so I really wanted to do it proud.
Junior rider Emily Wadsworth (Beeline Gener8) road strongly throughout to take fourth place overall and at one point looked like she might catch James for third before being gapped on the final lap.
Initially she was chased for the junior title by Elspeth Grace (Welwyn Wheelers) but she was passed for second by a charging Sophie Thackray (Oldfield-Paul Milnes Cycles).
“I’m so happy as I knew I could do it if everything fell into place and today it did,” added Wadsworth.
European champion Tom Pidcock (Oldfield-Paul Milnes) added the under-23 national title to his collection in emphatic style.
Ben Turner (HMT with JLT Condor) led the initial charge and quickly formed a leading trio with Pidcock and Daniel Tulett (Specialized Racing).
After sitting on the others in the opening lap Pidcock, 17, from Leeds made his move and inched out a gap which quickly grew into an unassailable one.
Behind him, Turner gapped Tulett and defending champion Mark Donovan (Wheelbase Altura) rode over to the third placed rider.
However, after Donovan had bridged the gap Tulett galvanised and distanced the previous champion before chasing down Turner.
The gap was a handful of seconds between the two with only two laps remaining but Turner dug deep and distanced his opponent for silver.
“I wasn’t on top form but to be able to win by such a clear margin in front of a home crowd is something special,” said Pidcock.
“It’s a brilliant course maybe my favourite in the world. After the cross worlds, I want to do both cross and road.”