The 2015/16 British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-cross Series reaches its halfway point on Sunday 8 November with round three at Durham University Cricket Club.
And with many series contenders returning from European championships duties the day before, competition for series honours is set to be fierce on a bumper weekend for the sport.
While a number of riders across the categories have chosen to race on both Saturday and Sunday, Ian Field has opted to miss the inaugural elite men’s European championships race in the Netherlands the day before and will be fresh to defend his series lead. The Hargroves Cycles – Ridley RT rider is in great form, taking 14th at the Bpost Bank Trofee Koppenbergcross the previous weekend.
Field has a maximum of 100 points after two commanding victories in Southampton and Derby and with his nearest rival, JLT Condor’s Graham Briggs, absent, it is up to former series champion Paul Oldham to take up the chase, the Hope Factory Racing rider 31 points adrift in third place.
Behind Oldham is Hope teammate Jack Clarkson on 66 points, enjoying a great start to his first season as an elite rider.
Ben Sumner will be keen to emulate Clarkson, the Beeline Bicycles rider also moving to the senior ranks and so far not enjoying Clarkson’s fortune, a sixth place in Derby leaving the talented 22-year-old in 17th place overall.
And while the multi-talented Briggs is absent, NFTO’s Ian Bibby drops in for the third round with the firepower to steal points from the early series contenders.
The seeds of a fascinating battle are evident in the under-23 men’s category, with Nick Barnes leading the series ahead of Sleaford Wheelers’ George Thompson.
Hargroves Cycles – Ridley RT’s Barnes took second place in round one behind Belgian visitor Lander Loockxs, with Thompson third.
Barnes went on to win round two with Thompson taking second, leaving Barnes on 74 points to Thompson’s 64. Behind them lies Jack Humphreys (Wheelbase Altura/MGD), who also graced the podium in round two.
Hannah Payton is set for a busy weekend, listed to start both the UEC European Cyclo-cross Championships in the Netherlands the day before, before crossing the North Sea to Durham to defend her 100-percent record in this year’s series.
Kinesis UK’s Payton has stormed to a commanding early lead with 80 points from two wins, while behind Amira Mellor and Annabel Simpson are tied on 57 points in second.
Mellor, like Payton, is making the journey from Huijbergen in an attempt to stay in the race for the title that she won last year.
So too does North West Mountain Bike Centre’s Beth Crumpton, just a single point behind the Mellor/Simpson tussle for second place.
Like Hannah Payton, Tom Pidcock returns from the Netherlands with a National Trophy lead to defend; second place in Southampton and the win in Derby giving Pidcock a 10-point lead over Oldfield/Paul Milnes Cycles teammate Ben Turner.
The absence of Dan Tulett, who stormed to victory in round one, will hand the advantage to the duo, who look set to trade blows for the remainder of the season.
Promoted by CXNE, the Durham round of the British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-cross Series is a relative newcomer on the circuit but has become something of an instant classic, thanks to great organisation, a thriving north east ‘cross scene and the scenic location of Durham University Cricket Club, overlooked by Durham Cathedral.
10:15am – Veteran men 40-49
10:16am – Veteran men 50+
11:15am – Under-16 girls
11:16am – Under-14 girls
12:05pm – Under-16 boys
12:06pm – Under-14 boys
1:30pm – Women
1:33pm – Junior men
1:33pm – Veteran women
2:45pm – Senior and under-23 men
How to follow the racing
- A report, results, reaction and images will appear on the British Cycling website
- Follow @BritishCycling on Twitter for updates