Olympic champion Jason Kenny battled back to take the national keirin title on the final day of the HSBC UK | National Track Championships in Manchester today.
The six-time Olympic gold medallist was forced to advance through the repechage after mistakenly sitting up a lap early in his heat, but produced a trademark surge of speed to edge out silver medallist Jack Carlin by a matter of centimetres on the line in the final. Joe Truman – who yesterday beat Kenny to the sprint title – took third.
“I didn’t think it was the last lap of the heat, but then I thought I heard the bell! It was a bit of a disaster to start the day, and I honestly thought it would be one of those days at that point. That’s life though – it’s happened before and it’ll happen again. Whether things go well or not so well, you always have to focus on the next race and keep chipping away, and that’s what I did.”
Elsewhere, Neah Evans followed up her silver in Friday’s individual pursuit to win points race gold. Evans produced a terrific solo break to take a lap early on in the race, timing her attack perfectly in order to also take sprint points.
Her fellow Scot Katie Archibald mounted an attack of her own later on in the 80-lap race, but despite some typically gritty riding, she was unable to latch onto the back of the pack and claim the 20 points on offer for a lap gain.
Archibald’s time out in front did see her win two of the sprints though, and it took a win on the final, double-point sprint for Emily Nelson to claim silver and edge Archibald back down into bronze medal position.
Afterward Evans – for whom this was a first national track title – said:
“It was an absolutely stacked field, so to come away on top is fantastic, and it means a huge amount. It wasn’t my plan to attack so early, but it was one of those where I saw an opportunity and thought I had to take it, and it paid off. At one point I was thinking I might regret it, but that’s the points race – you see an opportunity and you have to go for it.”
Evans’ HUUB Wattbike team-mates also retained the men’s team pursuit title they last won in 2017 today. Charlie Tanfield, Jonny Wale, Dan Bigham and John Archibald put in a hugely impressive performance to catch Team Inspired – Will Tidball, Ethan Vernon, Matthew Walls and Fred Wright – in the final 500m of the gold medal race.
The victory follows up HUUB’s world cup win in London last month, and Bigham says that bigger things are still to come from the Derby-based team:
“We want to break all world records – it’s as simple as that. We keep saying it, but we just want to be the best.”
Wales Racing Academy – Matt Burke, Daniel Coombe, Oscar Mingay and William Roberts – won bronze in a thrilling race, beating the University of Derby quartet by 0.24 seconds.
It was a landmark day in the long career of Shanaze Reade, who claimed her first ever national jersey in any discipline when she won the women’s team sprint alongside Blaine Ridge-Davies. They overhauled Team Terminator – Sophie Capewell and Milly Tanner – in the final lap to take gold.
In the bronze medal ride-off, there was a hugely popular victory for Vicky Williamson - just days after she made her international comeback at the TISSOT USI Track Cycling World Cup in Hong Kong - and her partner Lusia Steele, representing Black Line.
The women’s 500m time trial was won by Ellie Coster, who upgraded the silver she took in the keirin yesterday by recording a time of 35.311 in the penultimate heat. Her keirin conqueror, Jess Crampton, was last on track, however was unable to beat Coster’s time, posting a 35.509 which earned her silver. Lucy Grant won bronze in a time of 35.749.
In the final event of the championships, Ethan Hayter won a sprint finish to take men’s scratch race gold ahead of Mark Stewart (silver) and Will Tidball (bronze).
Earlier on in the weekend, Laura Kenny (scratch), Katie Archibald (individual pursuit) and Truman (sprint) claimed titles, while John Archibald recorded the second fastest individual pursuit time in history and Jody Cundy, Jon-Allan Butterworth and the tandem pairing of Neil Fachie and Matt Rotherham all set new world records (subject to ratification).