With the HSBC UK | National Road Series in full swing, the three-round women’s HSBC UK | National Circuit Series gets underway in Bristol this weekend – representing a significant first for women’s racing.
This year is the inaugural standalone women’s series, with the opening round in Bristol (June 16) to be followed by events in Otley and Barnsley. This means that, for the first time, a separate women’s circuit series winner will be crowned, in addition to the women’s road series champion.
Reigning national circuit champion, Anna Henderson (Brother UK – Tifosi p/b OnForm) says of the development of the series:
“Having a standalone women’s circuit series is huge – it’s one step closer to being on the same level as the men, so it’s really good to see. It’ll be hard racing, but fun.”
Henderson missed out on the overall (combined road and circuit) series title by just a single point to Sophie Wright (then riding for Torelli-Brother) last year, and will be among those targeting the series win this time around.
Other previous winners of the combined series title have included Lizzy Banks (2017), three-time winner Nicola Juniper (2016, 2015 and 2014) Hannah Barnes (2013), Dame Sarah Storey (2012), Lucy Garner (2011), Lizzie Deignan (2007) and Joanna Rowsell Shand (2006).
Henderson believes that, despite the illustrious names on that list, the standard of women’s racing is growing season-by-season, and series victory this year will again be hard-earned.
“The standard of the national series races is going up so much – I think pretty much anyone on the start line could win a race. It’s such a strong field that you have to have your wits about you all the time.”
The women’s HSBC UK | National Circuit Series will take place over the following rounds:
Round 1: Bristol Crit (16 June)
Round 2: Otley Grand Prix (3 July)
Round 3: Barnsley Town Centre Races (19 July)
The series will be quickly followed by the HSBC UK | National Circuit Race Championships - in which Henderson will defend her national champion’s jersey – in Rochester, Kent, on July 21.