The 2015/16 British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-cross Series reaches its fourth round on Sunday 29 November, when it travels to Ipswich for what may prove to be a pivotal episode.
With just two rounds to go after Ipswich, the event at the Trinity Park Showground will be a crucial opportunity to challenge Ian Field’s total dominance of the series so far, while in the elite women’s category, the three-way battle between Hannah Payton, Beth Crumpton and Amira Mellor may be upset by the addition of some serious mountain biking talent.
With three wins out of three, reigning National Trophy and British champion Ian Field has a commanding 51-point lead over second-placed Paul Oldham.
Field is riding a packed schedule of national and international events this season, having placed 24th at the latest round of the UCI Cyclo-cross world Cup in Koksijde.
Oldham holds the runner-up spot through consistency alone – the former British and National Trophy champion is yet to grace the podium this season.
Oldham’s Hope Factory Racing teammate Jack Clarkson also rode Koksijde and lies in third place overall, boosted by an impressive third place in the opening round, in his first year as a senior rider.
Beyond the top three, the presence of Ian Bibby on a cyclo-cross start list is a welcome one, the NFTO road pro winning the elite British title back in 2010.
With three rounds remaining, the battle for series supremacy is shaping up nicely between Hannah Payton, Beth Crumpton and Amira Mellor.
Payton started the series in dominant fashion, winning in Southampton and Derby before a third place in Durham, leaving her 14 points ahead of Durham victor Beth Crumpton.
Five points adrift of Crumpton is 2014/15 series champion Amira Mellor. All return from Koksijde for domestic duties, Payton having the best ride in the Belgian dunes, taking a fine 20th place.
However, an injection of cross-country mountain biking talent will add further spice, with Alice Barnes and Evie Richards both on the start list.
Barnes has had a stellar year with silver at the national road championships and her first cross-country mountain bike world cup podium in Mont-Sainte-Anne. Richards too has excelled this year in the junior ranks at domestic and world level, winning the British junior cross country title and taking a superb silver medal at the world championships in Andorra.
Nick Barnes is the runaway leader in the under-23 category, the Hargroves Cycles – Ridley RT rider emulating Field in the class above. Fresh from Great Britain Cycling Team duties in Koksijde, Barnes leads on 114 points thanks to a second place followed by a brace of wins, with Sleaford Wheelers CC’s George Thompson a distant second on 87 points.
Behind Thompson is Wheelbase Altura/MGD’s Jack Humphreys who has marched up the standings thanks to third place finishes in Derby and Durham.
Thomas Pidcock has been the standout rider so far in the junior men’s category, with two wins and a second place to his name so far this season. The Oldfield/Paul Milnes Cycles ERT rider leads his teammate Ben Turner by 16 points.
Turner was one of four junior men representing Great Britain in Koksijde, riding alongside Mark Donovan, Calum Fernie and Dan Tulett. Tulett is the only rider apart from Pidcock to have taken a National Trophy win this season, bagging victory in the opening round in his first race as a junior.
Tulett eschewed rounds two and three in favour of international experience and lies back in eighth place, so while a series win may be out of his grasp, the Specialized Racing rider has the talent to seize wins and climb the table if his schedule allows him to contest the remaining rounds.
Ipswich Bicycle Club are proud promoters of round four, which takes place at the 300-acre Trinity Park in Ipswich. The venue plays host to a wide variety of sporting and cultural events and Ipswich is an established stop on the National Trophy calendar, the city’s Chantry Park having also hosted major cyclo-cross events in the past.
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/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