The National Road Series concluded at the weekend with a pair of thrilling races in Northumberland at the Curlew Cup and Beaumont Trophy.
Alice McWilliam (Bianchi HUNT Morvélo) capped a breakthrough season with her first National Road Series win in the Curlew Cup, while Sammie Stuart (CAMS-Basso) recovered from a mid-race puncture to claim a deserved National Road Series title.
In the Beaumont Trophy, Jack Rootkin-Gray and Alex Richardson (Saint Piran) repeated their success in the Ryedale Grasscrete Grand Prix with a dominant 1-2, while Rob Scott (WiV SunGod) claimed the men's National Road Series title.
A select bunch of just 33 riders rolled out of Stamfordham, with each set to do battle over three laps of a 40-kilometre circuit featuring the 2.7 kilometre Ryals climb as its centrepiece.
Alex Morrice (Team LDN - Brother UK) – a revelation in her debut season this year – took the first QOM on the first ascent of the Ryals. Thereafter, it was StolenGoat Race Team's Miriam Jessett who made the first meaningful move of the day, punching clear of the bunch and leading solo as she completed the first lap of the day.
She was joined by Jess Finney (CAMS-Basso) and Lucy Harris (Team Boompods) on the second lap and by the time they had reached the Ryals for the second time, Finney and Harris had dropped Jessett.
Behind, Bianchi HUNT Morvélo team were controlling affairs, keen to set McWilliam up in her bid to overcome her 18-point deficit to National Road Series leader Stuart. Disaster then nearly struck for Stuart as an untimely puncture left her scrabbling in no man's land behind a thinning bunch. After two bike changes and a challenging chase, she eventually made it back.
By the time of the final ascent of the Ryals, Finney and Harris had long been swept up. Morrice tried a move, marked by Connie Hayes (AWOL O'Shea), but that too was brought back.
It was a select few riders who hurtled to the finish line at Stamfordham for the final sprint. McWilliam powered clear to take her first National Road Series win - her team's first too - to round off what has been an excellent season for the 27-year-old.
Elinor Barker (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) continued her return to form after maternity leave to finish second, while Team Boompod's Monica Greenwood was third. Lucy Lee (Team LDN - Brother UK) - second place in the National Road Series before this race - scored yet more Series points to finish fourth, while Hayes was the best under-23 in fifth.
Stuart took an excellent sixth place to end her season as the National Road Series winner. McWilliam was second, just eight points back, with Lee in third.
Junior Emma Jeffers finished the series as the best under-23 rider, while CAMS-Basso won the team title. Team Boompods were second in the team standings – a fine result for the Elite Development Team.
The Ryedale Grasscrete Grand Prix featured a dominant Saint Piran display by Richardson and Rootkin-Gray, and the duo repeated the feat at the Beaumont Trophy. With aggressive racing and a strong breeze blowing from the off, the race was fractious throughout.
The first major move of the day featured a large break of 18 riders as they crossed the start/finish line with 50 kilometres of the 182-kilometre course covered.
Behind, National Road Series leader Scott - feeling the effects of a recent chest infection - had made his way into the second group on the road, but his efforts were in vain as he eventually dropped off the chase and began to lose ground.
Meanwhile, Rootkin-Gray, Richardson, and Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling's Ross Lamb were having no such trouble, all having made their way across to the front of the race.
This trio all featured in a reformed front group on the Ryals, accompanied by Jim Brown, Josh Whitehead (WiV SunGod), and Ed Morgan (Wales Racing Academy), but they soon pushed clear again, leading the race with just 20 kilometres remaining.
Rootkin-Gray and Richardson then dropped Lamb, and as they headed toward the finish with a decent lead, the only question was which of the two would cross the line first. This time it was Rootkin-Gray who took the win – the 19-year-old’s first National Road Series victory - to finish a remarkable second half of the season.
Lamb came in third, with Whitehead and Brown rounding out the top five.
Rob Scott failed to finish but nonetheless won the National Road Series overall, mainly thanks to his nearest rival, Jake Scott, securing only a minor placing (16th) - not quite enough to leapfrog his teammate and take his second series title in a row.
Rootkin-Gray's win meant he finished as the top under-23 in the National Road Series, overtaking Toby Barnes (WiV SunGod). WiV SunGod had long secured the team win, with Ribble Weldite Pro Cycling finishing second. Dolan Ellesse Race Team were the best-placed elite team in sixth.
View the full results on at The British Continental.