Lauren Bell continued her hugely impressive championships, while HUUB Wattbike p/b Vita Coco retained their men’s team pursuit title with a new track record on the final day of competition at the HSBC UK | National Track Championships in Manchester.
Joe Truman (men’s keirin) and Anna Shackley (women’s points) also won national champion’s jerseys, while Rhys Britton (men’s scratch) claimed his second individual gold of the weekend as the championships concluded.
20-year-old Bell won 500m time trial gold and team sprint bronze to take her overall weekend medal haul to four.
In the 500m, Bell set a blistering time of 34.305, which nobody else was able to get near – young sprint sensation Emma Finucane was closest, winning silver in 35.200, while Ellie Stone took bronze in 35.441.
Of a weekend which has also seen her claim keirin gold and sprint bronze, Bell said:
“It’s been the best weekend ever, really. There’s such a strong pool of girls at the minute, that I wanted to just come here and get the experience of racing the best girls and see how it went. This is mad!”
Later, Bell and Stone (Scotland A) combined to win bronze in the women’s team sprint, however it was Slingshot duo Blaine Ridge-Davis and Milly Tanner who truly shone in this event, taking gold with three exceptional rides over the course of the day.
They stopped the clock in 33.876 in qualifying, before backing that up with a 33.649 a matter of hours later in the second round. Lucy Grant and Lusia Steele (Scotland B) were their opponents in the final, but Ridge-Davis and Tanner had the upper hand, clocking 33.667 to claim victory.
Coming into the men’s team pursuit, HUUB had already enjoyed another profitable championships so far, with John Archibald winning the individual pursuit and Jonny Wale victorious in the kilo, and they looked in no mood to relinquish the title which they won last year.
In qualifying, the quartet of Wale, Archibald, Dan Bigham and Will Perrett posted a time of 3:57.962, setting up a meeting with Team Inspired (Rhys Britton, Alfie George, Ethan Vernon and Sam Watson, who clocked 4:01.514) in the final.
Despite making the catch at around 3000m, the HUUB quartet delighted the sold-out crowd by going on to record a time, eventually clocking 3:54.043 – the quickest ever in-competition time set in the 25 years of racing at the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre.
The bronze medal went to AeroLab Ward WheelZ A (Sebastian Garry, Michael Gill, Tom Ward and Oliver Hucks) who edged out the quartet from Wales Racing Academy to secure third.
Afterwards, Archibald said:
“We always enjoy coming to nationals – it’s something we love doing as a group and it means a lot to us. It’s not like we ever just expect to win; we’ve all come from a place where a national title could be the pinnacle of what you achieve, so to come here and win again is very special.”
Equally as impressive was Truman, who was dominant in the men’s keirin. Truman won both his heat and semi-final relatively comfortably, but had work to do in the final as Matthew Roper launched an attack shortly after the derny had departed the track.
Despite being forced high on the track, Truman timed his sprint perfectly, overhauling Roper as they came into the home straight to take the victory. Roper held on for silver, while Niall Monks completed the podium.
“It was a good race by Roper – I was happy that I had it under control, but I probably shouldn’t have let it go that far! I got a bit of a hit in the semi-finals as well, which was good practice. It’s good to race here – I never pass up the chance to race a keirin.”
In the women’s points race, a brilliantly courageous ride saw Team Breeze’s Shackley win in dramatic circumstances.
With no rider having yet taken a lap, Shackley attacked alone with 20 of the 80 laps to go. Her determined effort was rewarded by consistent backing from the Manchester crowd, but the back of the bunch remained tantalisingly out of reach.
However, maximum points on the penultimate sprint moved her up to within five points of the leaders at that stage – Jenny Holl and Sophie Lewis – and as she held her half-lap lead over the bunch, the ten points she secured by crossing the line first moved her up to 18 points to Holl and Lewis’s 13, meaning that one of those riders had to cross the line in second to deny Shackley gold.
They couldn’t quite do so – Holl finished third to add a further four points to her score, giving Shackley victory and the national title by a single point, 18 to 17. Lewis made up the podium, finishing on 15.
The final event of the afternoon and of the championships, the men’s scratch, was won by Britton, who added it to the points race crown he won yesterday.
Xeno Young, Jake Ragan and Matt Gibson were among those who tried to animate the 80-lap race in its early stages, with the unfortunate Young crashing out as he attempted to bridge the gap to a group of six who had responded to an attack by Ragan.
However, the bunch remained together and a mass sprint for the title looked like an inevitability, until Ragan and Jack Brough mounted one final attack with five laps to go. That injected additional pace into the bunch, and leading duo were just unable to hold off the challenge of the Team Inspired contingent, as Britton led home Max Rushby and Ethan Vernon.
Podium positions are listed below:
1. Lauren Bell (Black Line)
2. Emma Finucane (Di Mascio)
3. Ellie Stone (Black Line)
Men’s team pursuit:
1. HUUB Wattbike p/b Vita Coco (John Archibald, Dan Bigham, Jonny Wale, Will Perrett)
2. Team Inspired (Rhys Britton, Alfie George, Ethan Vernon, Sam Watson)
3. AeroLab Ward Wheelz A (Sebastian Garry, Michael Gill, Tom Ward, Oliver Hucks)
Women’s team sprint:
1. Slingshot (Blaine Ridge-Davis and Milly Tanner)
2. Scotland B (Lucy Grant and Lusia Steele)
3. Scotland A (Lauren Bell and Ellie Stone)
1. Anna Shackley (Team Breeze)
2. Jenny Holl (Team Breeze)
3. Sophie Lewis (Team Flamme Rouge p/b Grenade)
1. Joe Truman (Team Inspired)
2. Matthew Roper (Black Line)
3. Niall Monks (Glasgow Track RC)
1. Rhys Britton (Team Inspired)
2. Max Rusbhy (Team Inspired)
3. Ethan Vernon (Team Inspired)