Location: Peel Park, Bradford, West Yorkshire
Event: 15 December 2013
Report: Rob Rowlands/Snowdon Sports
Photos: Andy Whitehouse
Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) took a second consecutive victory in round five of the National Trophy, held at Peel Park in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on Sunday.
After an eventful fourth round on the stage Milton Keynes' National Bowl, Peel Park in Bradford provided the backdrop for an eagerly awaited fifth round.
With mild temperatures everyone knew this technical course would cut up creating the potential for a few slip ups.
With matters finely poised in a number of categories under the watchful gaze of Robert Peel's statue, riders knew any error could be criminal in their pursuit of the series title.
Coming into this round, Paul Oldham retained the lead in the men's Elite series but after Milton Keynes his dominance was looking fallible with challenges from both Oli Beckinsale and National Champion Ian Field whose domestic return continued.
In the elite women's series, would Merce Pacios Pujado's steady progress see her move into the lead, could Annie Simpson put her dip in form behind her or could Hannah Payton return to the top of the tree? After some arresting action is was authority that would be the watched word of the day.
As the winter sun turned wheels into golden rings, the elite men's race set off at a fiery pace. The fast start immediately saw a lead group of six riders begin to form at the head of affairs with all the main protagonists represented.
It was clear from the off that this was going to be a keenly contested race. Never far from the action were series leader Paul Oldham (Team Hope Factory Racing) and National Champion Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) who had soon established themselves as the lead duo.
Close behind Oli Beckinsale (Endura) was joined by under 23 series leader Ben Sumner who together closed the small gap to form a lead quartet. This was the first act in a slowly emerging yet fast paced play.
As the quartet moved away from the rest of the field it was Oldham who continually tried to set the pace and test his companions as he tried to put the misfortunes of Milton Keynes behind him. But ever present were the red, white and blue bands of Field, policing Oldham's every move.
Both riders vigilance was evident throughout the race and whilst Beckinsale continued to stay with this duo, Sumner (Beeline Bicycles RT) began to pay for his early efforts and dropped back. Eventually Oldham's continual pressurising put pay to Beckinsale's race and he dropped off the pace.
The leading duo of Oldham and Field looked inseparable. This was going to be a war of attrition. As the pair approached the five-lap to go sign they came into the technically steep bank and dismounted neck and neck.
Field remounted first at the top forcing Oldham to dig that bit deeper to check the move. With the race continuing in this fashion it was only a matter of time before the elastic would snap for one of the pair. And sooner rather than later it was a dig by Field that allowed him to enter the hurdles in the lead. Dismounting he seemed to hover above the hurdles Oldham had to respond if he was to keep in contention. But instead of closing the gap grew between him and the out-of-the-saddle Field.
Behind them the race was changing yet again. Having at one point looked secure in third, Beckinsale was joined by a rejuvenated Nick Craig (Scott Racing UK). And in a further twist, Steven James had regrouped to move into fifth and with it the lead in the U23 race.
Craig would eventually drop Beckinsale in the closing laps of the race to finish third. U23 honours were eventually taken by the resurgent James ahead of Adam Martin (Metaltek) and Jack Clarkson (Team Hope Factory racing).
The race for victory continued at the front. Field sowed the seeds for victory with an impressive display of riding, sweeping through the bends and speeding along the open straights.
But despite a large gap it was clear that Oldham was never giving up. By the end of the race the pace was showing on both riders. As they climbed the bank for the final time both riders' were puffing and their legs looked laboured. Field cemented a deserved successive win in this series and Oldham had further extended his series lead. Both riders could go away happy from the race.
Ian Field said after the race: "It was very, very different to Milton Keynes. I didn't feel too good, heavy legged and tired. I had to sacrifice a little bit today. But if you don't put in the hard work now then the nationals and worlds aren't going to go well.
"Paul was strong and when he got a gap it really wasn't easy to close it. Then I seemed to eek away a little bit through the technical sections and then I gave it some gas all the way through the climb. The gap wasn't all that big and it was so slippy that you had to keep working all the time. One little slip and he would have been back with me."
Paul Oldham commented: "Bradford's the hardest course that we do. I was in the race which was the main thing. He was strong than me and I made a couple of mistakes so he managed to ride away. Nick looked to be motoring back to us and I was worried about him. The series is looking better than it did after the last round so I'm happy with that."
Nick Craig added: "This course is perfect for me but to manage a podium for me is as good as winning. Great crowd, great atmosphere and it's no problem for me to be behind the two guys in front of me."
It was clear from the off that a number of riders meant business in this closely contested series. Immediately it was series leader Hannah Payton (Kinesis Morvelo Project) who took the lead as the riders sprinted away from the start line. The bunch, tightly packed entering the first bend was soon strung out by this pace and errors began to show. The Vicious Velo duo of Claire Beaumont and Delia Beddis showing that team-work doesn't always pay off as they launched headlong into the bushes.
Soon it was Annie Simpson's turn to animate the race. At first she was head to head with Payton but soon moved into a lone lead. It was clear that Simpson was on mission to make up for the errors and injuries of the previous round and re-establish herself in the series. But as the second lap continued, Simpson was brought back by the dogged Merce Pacios Pujado (Blue Motors) and the authoritative figure of Payton.
As they crossed the line it was now Pujado and Payton who had set the lead and a small gap ofver the chasing trio of Simpson, Abby-Mae Parkinson (RST Racing) and Ffion James (Abergavenny RC).
And so the scene was set for another Anglo-Spanish duel. First it was Payton who tried to establish her authority over Pujado as she built a slender lead in the early stages of the third lap. Pujado had been joined behind by Parkinson, an ever present shadow on the Spaniard’s shoulder in the middle part of this race.
Indeed, having ridden the Spadger Six-Day at Manchester Velodrome the night before, Parkinson was looking strong and in a determined mood.
With two laps to go Payton looked like she had made the winning move. Entering the finish straight she had a good 20m lead over Pujado with Parkinson still on her shoulder. Yet the race wasn't over yet. As the lap progressed, Pujado closed the gap on Payton so that by the bell they were neck and neck. The tension of the final lap was palpable. As they approached the bell, Payton and Pujado traded the lead two or three times with nothing between them. The race was between this pair, Parkinson looking determined yet tired in third place. Behind them Simpson was doing enough to hold off James for fourth.
As the last lap progressed, Payton was determined to lose Pujado. Try as she might nothing seemed to work. On each straight and decent Payton pulled open small gaps yet Pujado used ever slight up hiull to turn the table. Barring incident it was now clear we were in for a grandstand finish. As the duo hit the bottom of the increasingly muddy final bank they dismounted. Payton kept the racing line forcing any move from Pujado to come around the outside.
They crested the top together and in remounting Payton was able to keep the momentum best. Pujado didn't give up but Payton had enough to take the win and retain her series lead.
Hannah Payton said: "It was a really hard race today. There were riders with us who aren't normally there and the junior riders in particular had a great race. Me, Merce and Abby came to the last lap together and I think it was tactics at the end of the day which decided it. I knew I had to get to the bottom of that bank first. I knew if I got to the finish straight first I'd got two or three seconds so I had to nail it first time."
Abby-Mae Parkison said: "Really good race. I'm really happy as it's my home course. Obviously the efforts of last night's track didn't take it out of me - track pre-racing obviously is something to try again.”
A fast start in the junior men's race saw the field strung out from the start. Series leader Sean Dunlea (Ciclos Uno) was immediately at the head of affairs closely checked by a group of some eight riders.
However, by the end of the second lap the race had established a pattern with Dylan Kerfoot Robson (Marsh Tracks Race Team) stamping his authority on this field. Only Thomas Craig (Team Scott UK) looked able to put up any resistance and if it weren't for mechanical problems which saw him running part of the third lap the result could have been closer. In the end, Kerfoot-Robson took a well deserved win ahead of the persevering Craig. Liam Earl completed the podium with Dunlea doing just enough in fourth to retain a slender lead in the series.
The vets races were both tours de force by the series leaders. In the 40-49 category Darren Atkins (Team Jewson) sealed the series with a dominant display of riding. As he crossed the line he bowed to the crowds to reinforce the majestic nature of his ride. Behind him a tense race long battle ensued for second with Mike Simpson (GS Henley) eventually breaking the resistance of his challengers before Ian Taylor (Jedi Cycle Sport) and Lewis King (Beeline Bicycles) took their race for the third to the line, Taylor bettering King on the final climb to take the final podium spot.
In the 50+ category it was yet another domineering display from national champion Steve Davies (Hargroves Cycles). So great was his margin of victory that the gap was almost being measured by a calendar. With a perfect score in the 5 rounds to date, Davies had done more than enough to seal this series. Behind him, Mick Davies (Team Pedal Power) was a comfortable second and put himself in a strong position to secure second in the overall series.
Dave McMullen (Cotswold Veldrijden) toughed it out for third.
Once again Dan Tullett put in a imperious display to continue his perfect score and seal the series win. David Barnes (Condor Cycles) put up a decent fight for the first half of the race but was always chasing Tullett's shadow until the series leader rode away from his erstwhile companion on the long climb at the back of the course to establish a gap that would only continue to grow as the race drew to its conclusion. And despite the definitive margin of victory Tullett showed he never rests on his laurels by fighting all the way to the line. Barnes was a valiant second with Robert Scott (Pedalsport) rounding off the top three.
The U16s girls' race saw series leader Charlotte Broughton (MG Decor) take an early lead followed by Jessica Roberts (RST Racing). But in the second lap, Madeline Gammons (Bourne Wheelers CC) put the cat amongst the pigeons by catching and then passing the two leaders.
This race see-sawed all the way around the park until Roberts retook a lead she would not relinquish. Broughton eventually came in second with Gammons in third. Broughton had done enough retain the series lead going in to the final round.
The U14s boys race saw local rider Euan Cameron (East Bradford CC) put in a dominant display to lead from start to finish. As the "V" on his jersey suggests, the only way is up for this young rider. Series leader Craig Rogers (Birkenhead North End CC) finished second to retain the lead but this series will come down to the final race in Shrewsbury.
And finally Lucy Horrocks (Team Hope Factory Racing) soloed to victory in the U14s girls' race ahead of Poppy Wildman (Nottingham Clarion) and Megan James (Abergavenny RC).
1. Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles)
2. Paul Oldham (Team Hope Factory Racing)
3. Nick Craig (Team Scott UK)
4. Steven James (Hargroves Cycles)
5. Oli Beckinsale (Endura)
1. Hannah Payton (Kinesis Morvelo Project)
2. Merce Pacios Pujado (Blue Motors)
3. Abby-Mae Parkinson (RST Racing)
4. Annie Simpson (Team Hope Factory Racing)
5. Ffion James (Abergavenny RC)
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