With two convincing wins in two rounds, the pressure is on Paul Oldham’s rivals as the National Trophy heads north east to Durham. With Annie Simpson leading the women’s category by just two points, rivals will be looking to unseat the Hope Factory Racing duo from the top of the men’s and women’s standings.
Overlooked by Durham’s iconic castle and cathedral, the picturesque setting of Durham University Cricket Club on the banks of the River Wear will play host to a National Trophy Cyclo-Cross Series round for the first time. After two rounds, Hope Factory Racing’s Paul Oldham is firmly in the driving seat of the elite men’s category, after assured wins at Abergavenny and Southampton.
Oldham won in round two despite carrying a hand injury and now leads Oli Beckingsale (Endura MTB Racing) by 23 points, the Olympian mountain biker needing to up his game if he wishes to retain the title he won in the 2012/13 season.
Behind Beckingsale, two under-23 riders are set to capitalise on the absence of third-placed Tom van den Bosch (Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant); Adam Martin (Metaltek Knights of Old RT) and Ben Sumner (Beeline Bicycles RT) lying just a few points behind van den Bosch.
Sumner and Martin are tied on points at the top of the under 23 rankings, so expect a pitch battle between the two at Durham, with Martin, from nearby Chester-Le-Street, looking for a second successive national event victory in his home region, after winning the senior Inter Area Championship at Middlesbrough last Sunday.
Oldham’s teammate Annie Simpson leads the women’s standings heading to Durham after a third place in Abergavenny and a win in Southampton.
Simpson, on 70 points, leads Hannah Payton (The Kinesis Morvelo Project) by just two points with Blue Motors’ Merce Pacios Pujado a distant third ahead of Team CTC’s Tamina Oliver. With round one winner Isla Rowntree still out through injury, a number of riders including Alexis Barnes (Cardiff Ajax CC) and junior Jessica Wilkinson (Birkenhead North End CC) could capitalise and move into the top five after Sunday.
It’s tight at the top of the veteran 40+ men’s category too, with another classic battle emerging between Team Jewson’s Darren Atkins and Jedi Cycle Sport’s Ian Taylor. After two rounds, the both have a win apiece, separated by just four points, with Crispin Doyle (Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant) third, ten points behind.
Taylor too will arrive at Durham fresh from a victory in the Inter-Area championships, part of the Yorkshire team that cruised to victory last weekend in Middlesbrough.
Steven Davies will be a tough act to topple in the veteran 50+ men’s category, one of a number of Hargroves Cycles athletes riding high in the 2013/14 series. Davies has won both rounds and leads Team Jewson’s Phil Roach by 16 points.
The junior men’s top three of Jake Poole (S2 Cycles/Raleigh), Dan Fox (RST Racing Team) and Sean Dunlea (Ciclos Uno) are separated by just three points after two rounds, so expect a shake-up of the podium after Durham. However in the under 16 boys and girls categories, Dan Tullett and Charlotte Broughton will take some beating, both on two wins out of two rides.
Euan Cameron (East Bradford CC) is 10 points ahead of nearest rival Alistair Leivers (Blackpool Youth Cycling) in the under 14 boys while Poppy Wildman (Nottingham Clarion CC) leads the under 14 girls category by eight points from Hope Factory Racing’s Lucy Horrocks.
Racing begins in Durham at 10:30am with the veteran men. Women race at 11:31am while the elite men’s race begins at 2:30pm. Check back at www.britishcycling.org.uk/nationaltrophy for reports, images and results.
Organisers CXNE ask all who attend the event to please allow plenty of time to make your way through the city and park at the venue as Durham is expecting high volumes of traffic for the Luminaire festival that takes place over the weekend; see alternative directions for further details.
Please be aware of a new set of directions with Luminaire and various road closures in mind. Old Elvet will have a one-way system in place throughout the weekend and will be closed from 14:00 onwards from Friday – Sunday.
From A1(M), leave the A1(M) at Junction 62. Exit onto the A690 signed for Durham (1st exit from South, 3rd from North). At first roundabout go straight on signed for City Centre, A690. At next roundabout take left filter (first exit) across the river then turn left at traffic lights onto Old Elvet. As the road swings right up the hill after approximately 300m, turn left onto Green Lane.
Anyone wishing to park overnight to contact Dan Bryant via email for a parking permit.