The National Road Series came to a close at the weekend with two enthralling races in Northumberland at the Curlew Cup and Beaumont Trophy.
Corinne Side (Pro-Noctis-Heidi Kjeldsen-200 Degrees Coffee) stormed to victory in the bunch sprint in Stamfordham to take the Curlew Cup. Meanwhile, Monica Greenwood (DAS-Handsling) made sure she was well placed to take the overall series title.
In the Beaumont Trophy, the men battled it out in a very different style of racing to the women’s race. There were multiple attacks, but in the end, it was Finn Crockett (Saint Piran) who sprinted to victory from a small group. Crockett’s Saint Piran teammate, Zeb Kyffin worked hard to deliver the win for the team while managing to take the overall series victory.
A total of 73 riders took to the start line in Stamfordham for the 122.4km course that took on some challenging climbs along the way across three 40.8km laps.
However, the cool conditions seem to sedate the start of the race with no-one getting away in the first lap. Elidh Shaw (Alba Development Road Team) took the first Queen of the Mountains of the day; she would go on to take every QoM available on the day.
It took until the second lap for an attack to go clear with Ellen McDermott (Team Boompods) getting a gap of well over a minute going into the final lap, as the rain poured down onto the bunch.
Part way round the final lap, McDermott was briefly joined by another rider before being reeled in at the base of the last climb. After that the race was being controlled with almost a full peloton coming to the line.
Corinne Side opened up her sprint early and pulled out an impressive gap, which she held all the way to the line. Afterward she spoke of how surprised she was that she won as the race “didn’t suit” her.
Behind Side the podium was completed by under-23 rider Emma Jeffers (DAS-Handsling) and junior Sophie Smith (Utmost IoM Junior Team) with two very impressive performances.
It was DAS-Handsling’s Monica Greenwood who took the series win overall after taking fifth on the day; the first time she has taken the title. Robyn Clay (Pro-Noctis-Heidi Kjeldsen-200 Degrees Coffee) took the under-23 series title, while DAS-Handsling came out on top in the team standings.
Every men’s National Road Series race this year has been dominated by one team; Saint Piran, having locked out the podium in the three races leading up to the Beaumont Trophy. They even took fourth and fifth as well at the Grasscrete Ryedale Grand Prix.
However, going into the race, the Saint Piran riders all seemed under the weather after a long season, with eight riders starting, to make up a field of 98 riders. TRINITY Racing’s Finlay Pickering and Oliver Rees were late withdrawals on the day. The course was four laps of the large 40.8km circuit with one lap of the small 22km circuit to make the 185.2km route.
Immediately, attacks went off the front with a strong four-man group getting a gap of 1 minute 22 seconds after the first lap. Those riders were John Archibald (Huub-WattBike), William Truelove (ROKiT-SRCT), Tim Shoreman (Wheelbase-CabTech-Castelli) and Damien Clayton (Unattached).
Shoreman was soon distanced on the hilly course with the three riders pushing on. However, the gap dropped down to just 45 seconds as the pace was being hammered on in the bunch by Richardson-Trek-DAS.
The attacks from the peloton then came going into the third lap with TRINITY Racing sending two riders up in the break. This forced a new move with Lukas Nerurkar (TRINITY Racing), Max Walker (TRINITY Racing), Ed Morgan (Wales Racing Academy) and Joe Brookes (Halesowen A & CC) as well as Clayton, who was hanging on from the original break. They held a 47 second gap with one large lap and one small lap to go.
Heading into the final lap, the break had shattered. Walker and Nerurkar had kicked clear with Brookes, leaving Morgan and Clayton chasing at around 25 seconds distance and the now tiny bunch led by Saint Piran by 1 minute 30 seconds. It looked like it was going to be a win for someone other than Saint Piran.
However, the Cornish team had other ideas. On the 22km circuit they went all in for Crockett in the sprint. Even trying to take riders who were sitting on out of the back as they looked to complete the set of blocked-out podiums in the National Road Series.
The time gap was plummeting as Brookes was caught first after he was dropped by the TRINITY Racing duo. They then made the catch of Walker and Nerurkar inside the final 2km to set up a nail-biting finish.
The sprint was led out by defending champion Jack Rootkin-Gray (Saint Piran) with Crockett having to shout for him to slow down so he could take the win. Rootkin-Gray took second with Walker holding on for an impressive third after so long in the break.
Kyffin finished a handful of seconds after the winners celebrating as he secured his National Road Series win in fine fashion with a ninth place finish on the day.
Unsurprisingly, Saint Piran came out on top in the team standings, with seven riders in the top 10 in the individual standings, as well as the best under-23 rider too with Rootkin-Gray securing that accolade before he steps up to the World Tour next season.