Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles-Ridley RT) and Hannah Payton (Team Kinesis) took victory in Southampton in the opening round of the 2015/16 British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-cross Series.
Field held off a chasing Graham Briggs (JLT Condor) who was the only rider able to get close to the winner.
Field, the current National Champion, didn’t have an easy opening few laps, having to be content to sit some six places back while Briggs set a vicious pace on the hard, fast surface.
But as the race settled into its rhythm, so did Field and a lead group that saw Briggs, Ben Sumner (Beeline Bikes), Lander Loockx (Cycling.Be.Alpha), Jack Clarkson (Hope Factory), Steve James (Hargroves), Nick Barnes (Hargroves) and Steve Roach (Raleigh-GAC) amongst others put a decent gap to the rest of the field.
With two laps gone the pace remained high, Field biding his time to attack Briggs and as the third lap started, the attack came with Field passing Briggs as the head of the race disappeared into the woods.
Briggs responded but was unable to get the better of Field, the National Champion increasing his lead over the chase.
Sumner, now sitting third, headed up the small chase group with Clarkson, Loockx and a couple of Hargroves riders who had turned off the pace, obviously not willing to chase Field down.
As the race time counted down, Field’s gap grew. Briggs was still pegging the gap to the leader but also fending off the chase.
The chase were working well with Clarkson tapping the pace at the front with Sumner on his wheel.
Loockx, Adrian Lansley (pedalon.co.uk) and Giles Drake (Leisure Lakes) were amongst the group but a returning Paul Oldham (Hope Factory) was quietly working through the field and was a few metres off the back of the chase.
As the race entered its penultimate lap, Field upped the pace and increased the gap to Briggs who, barring any incident, looked safe for second place.
The race was beginning to develop behind Briggs. Sumner, Clarkson and Loockx couldn’t shake each other, even with attacks from Clarkson it came to nothing.
It proved to be a crash that decided the group, as a touch of wheels saw Sumner hit the ground and with him having to pit, it was race over.
Oldham was now up to fourth behind Clarkson but the gap was too big to recover and the race remained status quo for the final lap, Briggs unable to make inroads to Field and Clarkson, taking his first senior national podium, rolled across the line to take third.
1st rd of Trophy series and top step of the podium for @hargrovescycles new bikes rode like a dream! Happy to share podium with two mates.— Ian Field (@FieldyCX) October 11, 2015
“It’s never easy to win a National Trophy round and today certainly wasn’t an easy race,” said winner Ian Field. “But I have to be a position to win these races and be in a position fitness-wise to compete on the World Cup scene.
“It was a fairly slow start today, there was a bit of group racing in the early part of the race but then I was able to get away with Graham [Briggs] towards the end of things.
“The first round is always hard to call, you never know how other rider’s fitness is or where they are race-wise. Having to race against Brigga was going to be hard just because I didn’t 100 per cent know how he’d be on a cross bike, but he tried to dictate the race and he did a good job of it to be fair.
“I know that when I’m hurting so is everyone else, but Brigga sat up after a hard turn and I knew I had to hit him then. I went over the top of him and got a few bike lengths but it gave me enough to put the pressure on and get him off my wheel then I had the space to ride my own race.”
Hannah Payton (Team Kenesis UK) took the victory in the elite women’s race. Payton, who has just returned from racing in the U.S, proved too strong for the rest of the field with no one able to respond once the attack went in the closing laps.
A select group of Payton, Annie Simpson, Adela Carter (Hope Factory), Beth Crumpton (NW Cycling Club), Charlotte Broughton (Corley Cycles) and Amira Mellor (Oldfield Paul Milnes) set out their intentions from the start.
A fast pace saw the field strung out early on the opening lap with the back markers already unable to respond.
Payton, Simpson and Crumpton began to pull a small gap over the field on the second lap, the three working well to put distance to Mellor, Carter and Broughton.
Carter, who took the victory in 2014, looked comfortable on the course and would soon make her play. Broughton began to drop back and was soon back with Merce Pacios Pujado (Zappis).
Pujado, no stranger to the podium at Southampton, would get the better of the Corley rider in the following lap.
Crumpton went on the attack with four laps to go and although she got a gap, she was soon checked by Payton and Simpson.
It was the penultimate lap that saw Payton make her move and the attack left Simpson and Crumpton unable to respond. The Kenesis rider didn’t look back and increased her lead in the final two laps.
With the bell ringing, Simpson overhauled Crumpton to take second on the course and Crumpton started to slip back which allowed Carter to make her move, jumping up into third to see the Hope rider secure another podium at Southampton.
Crumpton held onto fourth just ahead of Mellor but it was a jubilant Payton who got her National Trophy Series off with a dominant display on the dry surface.
“I sat on Beth’s wheel for a while, just to get some protection from the wind as it was surprisingly windy on the open sections, but I took a chance on a long straight and got round Beth and managed to get a decent gap lead on her and kept it to the finish. I think riding in the States recently has really helped my fitness, coming back to the UK and feeling strong has paid off today.”
In the Veterans Over 40s race it was Darren Atkins who once again took the victory at Southampton after a race-long fight with Jim Bryan (Zepnat RT) who pushed the Ride Coventry rider to the line.
Bryan had to be content with second while Daniel Guest (Performance Cycles) took his first podium in the National series with a well-deserved third.
It was the old adversaries of Atkins and Ian Taylor (C and N Cycles) who took the first initiative, taking the race from the front, but Guest and Bryan were a match for the pair and the pace soon had the big field split. Mike Simpson (Beeline), Carl Sturgeon (Team Jewson-MI Racing) and Andrew Parry (Urban Cyclery) amongst others tried to bridge the gap but to the leaders but to no avail.
As the lap board counted down it was a lead three of Atkins, Bryan and Guest who dominated the race, Atkins attacking on the penultimate lap, the other two unable to respond allowing Atkins the space to run his own race. On the final lap Bryan went after Atkins but the Coventry rider had enough in the legs to take the victory.
“I like racing here, it’s six out of six as a veteran,” said over-40s winner Darren Atkins. “It was a bit tight on the early laps. The course isn’t that slippy, it’s dry so it’s quick but it was really windy out on the course and everyone was sitting on when they could.
“But I had to be aware that there were some good guys coming up through the race so I had to take advantage of my grid position and use that.
“There was a point where some of the lads started playing games, but I had to keep driving the pace along otherwise I could have lost my position. I jumped out of the saddle on every uphill corner, I don’t carry any weight, the bike is super light so I just used that advantage and eventually gaps started to appear so I knew I’d played it right.”
Chris Young (Pedalsport CC) once again took the win in the Over 50s, making it two from two after a race-long battle with Tim Gould (Zepnat RT). Young just did enough to cross the line a mere three seconds ahead of his old rival. A bloodied Steve Davies (Hargroves Cycles-Ridley) completed the podium, Davies recovered well after crashing to give the host team their first podium of the day.
Dan Tulett (Specialized Racing) took the win in the junior race. Tulett, who moved up from the Under 16s for the new season, outsprinted Tom Piddock (Oldfield/Paul Milnes) after one of the most exciting races in recent years.
With the lead changing throughout the race between any number of 10 riders, the final outcome was anyone’s guess. Mark Donovan (Beacon Wheelers), Ben Turner (Oldfield/Paul Milnes) and Matt Fratesi (Severn RC) amongst others all made their mark on the race and at times the race played out more like a road race then a cross race.
However, Tulett and Piddock got the gap at the front, the pair taking the final corner together. But it was Tulett who had the legs to take the sprint, while Turner just held out to take third and Donovan outsprinted Fratesi to take fourth.
It was a Lichfield City CC duo of Toby Barnes and Lewis Askey who took the top two steps of the podium in the Under 16s race. Barnes took control of the race early on, holding onto the lead until the chequered flag.
Askey went on the attack on the penultimate lap but was unable to bridge the gap to his team-mate. Ben Tulett (Beeline Bikes) took third after a hard race against the Lichfield pair just holding off Matt Taylor (PH-MAS Cycling).
Poppy Wildman proved to be unstoppable in the Under 16 girls race. Attacking from the gun, Wildman made her mark on the race to take a relatively easy win. Alderney Baker (Milton Keynes) took second and Welwyn Wheelers’ Elspeth Grace took third and her first Under 16s National podium.
Lichfield City CC took the win in the Under 14 boys race with a fine ride by Emile Alexander. Freddy Birchill (Certini) outsprinted Welwyn Wheeler’s Oli Stockwell to take second.
Ava Oxley-Szilagy (PH-MAS Cycling) proved too quick for the Beeline Bikes pairing of Anna and Maddie Wadsworth taking the win in the Under 14 girls race.
Maddi Smith (Bolsover & District) secured the win in the Veterans women race, while Solent Pirates’ Helen Pattinson and Tracey Fletcher (Team Empella) were second and third respectively.
1 Ian Field Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT Elite 1 2 13
2 Graham Briggs JLT Condor Elite 0 33
3 Jack Clarkson Team Hope Factory Racing Elite 1 39
4 Paul Oldham Hope Factory Racing Elite 1 51
5 Lander Loockx Cycling.be Alpha Motorhomes Under 23 1 57
6 Adrian Lansley Pedalon.co.uk Elite 2 0
7 Tom Van Den Bosch Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT Elite 2 3
8 Giles Drake Leisure Lakes Bikes.com Elite 2 4
9 Nicholas Barnes Harroves Cycles - Ridley RT Under 23 2 27
10 Steven James Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT Elite 3 10
1 Hannah Payton Team Kinesis UK 47 17
2 Annabel Simpson Hope Factory Racing 0 20
3 Adela Carter Hope Factory Racing 0 25
4 Bethany Crumpton North West Cycling Club 0 57
5 Amira Mellor Oldfield/Paul Milnes Cycles ERT 1 25
6 Mercedes Pacios Pujado Beeline Bicycles RT 1 39
7 Charlotte Broughton Corley Cycles - Drops RT 2 15
8 Diane Lee Team Mulebar Girl - Sigma Sport 2 51
9 Laura Greenhalgh Imperial RT 3 3
10 Emily Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT 3 13
1 Daniel Tulett Specialized Racing 45 32
2 Thomas Pidcock Oldfield/Paul Milnes Cycles ERT 0 1
3 Ben Turner Paul Milnes Cycles Bradford Olympic 0 10
4 Mark Donovan Beacon Wheelers 0 11
5 Matthew Fratesi Severn RC 0 11
6 Tom Easley Crawley Wheelers 0 13
7 Cameron Biddle Solihull CC 0 14
8 Cameron Orr Sherwood Pines Cycles SRAM RT 0 19
9 Harry Yates Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT 0 41
10 Thomas Mein Derwentside CC 0 45
1 Darren Atkins Ride Coventry 46 48
2 James Bryan www.Zepnat.com RT/GSG 0 10
3 Daniel Guest Performance Cycles 0 31
4 Carl Sturgeon Team Jewson/MI Racing-Polypipe 0 38
5 Andrew Parry Urban Cyclery 0 57
6 Wayne Crombie East London Velo 1 0
7 Andrew Baum Urban Cyclery 1 6
8 Adrian Lawrence Team Elite 1 8
9 Ian Taylor C & N Cycles RT 1 23
10 Michael Simpson Beeline Bicycles RT 1 42
1 Chris Young Pedalsport CC 47 54
2 Tim Gould www.Zepnat.com RT/GSG 0 3
3 Steven Davies Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT 1 15
4 Philip Roach Team Jewson/MI Racing-Polypipe 1 41
5 Mick Bell London Fire Brigade CC 2 33
6 Kenny Johnson SCOTT Racing 2 33
7 Mick Davies Pedal Power Loughborough 2 38
8 Tim Costello G S Vecchi 2 49
9 Grant Johnson Sunset Cycles 2 54
10 Kirby Bennett Team Jewson/MI Racing-Polypipe 3 3
1 Maddi Smith Bolsover & District CC 47 0
2 Helen Pattinson Solent Pirates 1 9
3 Tracey Fletcher Team Empella Cyclo-cross.com 1 51
4 Jackie Field Cycle Club Ashwell 2 9
5 Juliet Horrocks Hope Factory Racing 2 28
6 Janet Marsden Warwickshire Police CC 2 44
7 Bev Martin Adept Precision RT/NE Healthcare 3 41
8 Lindsay Clarke Fenland Clarion CC 3 57
9 Joanna Newstead X RT/Elmy Cycles 5 51
10 Emma Martin Pines Cycles - Felt - Enve 6 38
1 Toby Barnes Lichfield City CC 32 42
2 Lewis Askey Lichfield City CC 0 20
3 Ben Tulett Beeline Bicycles RT 0 33
4 Matthew Taylor PH-MAS Cycling 0 36
5 Craig Rogers Birkenhead North End CC 0 50
6 William Raymond Welwyn Wheelers CC 0 59
7 Jenson Young Pedalsport CC 1 2
8 Solomon Kerfoot-Robson Marsh Tracks RT 1 16
9 Matthew Ellis Sherwood Pines Cycles SRAM RT 1 17
10 Euan Cameron East Bradford CC 1 36
1 Poppy Wildman Nottingham Clarion CC 29 15
2 Alderney Baker Team Milton Keynes 0 54
3 Elspeth Grace Welwyn Wheelers CC 1 26
4 April Tacey Leicestershire RC 1 52
5 Olivia Bent Border City Wheelers 2 15
6 Olivia Fawcett Hetton Hawks CC 2 30
7 Lauren Higham Welwyn Wheelers CC 2 36
8 Abbie Manley Eden Veranda Racing 2 36
9 Lucy Naylor Paul Milnes - Bradford Olympic RC 2 42
10 Elena Smith Fossa Racing 2 48
1 Emile Alexander Lichfield City CC 35 13
2 Freddy Birchill Certini 0 15
3 Oliver Stockwell Welwyn Wheelers CC 0 16
4 Daniel Barnes Lichfield City CC 0 49
5 Alec Gregory Leicestershire RC 1 14
6 Adam Lightfoot Cycle Club Ashwell 1 19
7 Archie Peet Team Milton Keynes 1 19
8 Adam Bent Border City Wheelers 2 13
9 Joe Kiely Welwyn Wheelers CC 2 39
10 Christian Boon Derby Mercury RC 2 49
1 Ava May Oxley-Szilaggi PH-MAS VCUK Women's Cycling Team 30 21
2 Anna Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT 0 17
3 Maddie Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT 0 41
4 Amelie Wayte Matlock CC 1 18
5 Eluned King Towy Riders 1 39
6 Millie Couzens Zappi's Cycling Club 1 47
7 Harley Pell Cycle Club Ashwell 2 14
8 Charlotte-Louise McGreevy WXC World Racing 2 14
9 Josie Nelson M & D Cycles/Fusion RT/WORX 2 45
10 Libby Smith Fossa Racing 3 2