Beth Crumpton put the gloss on a productive winter as a win in the final round of the HSBC UK | Cyclo-Cross National Trophy earned her the overall crown.
And while Braam Merlier took his third win in succession it was not enough to wrestle the National Trophy title away from Ian Field, whose two victories and consistency across the season earned him the title in the last round.
In the age group categories it was already known that Cameron Mason would take the junior men trophy, while in the U23 event Billy Harding also went into racing with the leader’s jersey safe on his shoulders.
Crumpton cruises to title
The most hotly-contested category throughout the whole National Trophy series, the women’s elite title went to the final race with Crumpton and Ffion James vying for the title.
Each rider had two victories to their name so far, but it was Crumpton who rose to the occasion and put in the winning ride.
The Storey Racing rider has come close to winning this series on a number of occasions and this year has stepped up, almost making it a personal crusade, so seeing her at the front of the leading group on lap one, with EDCO Continental’s Anna Kay, Sophie Wright (Renvale RT) Hannah Payton (Team Kinesis UK) and James (Abergavenny RC) came as no surprise.
James, having secured brilliant wins in two previous rounds, never quite got on terms with the leaders as first Crumpton launched an attack, then Kay rode across to her and the two broke away impressively.
Wright consolidated her third place by riding the rest of the race solo, with Payton and James locking out the top five – Crumpton comfortably winning the final half-lap battle to secure the race and series wins.
So happy to finally wrap up this series & win my first National Trophy overall, its been a challenging one! To win today aswell, icing on the cake! https://t.co/42cWsUjZ2J— Beth Crumpton (@BethCrumpton) January 7, 2018
“I’m really, really chuffed to finally win this, it’s been a few years coming,” she said.
“Obviously I came here with the aim of wrapping up the series and expected a tough battle with Ffion, so to come away with race win as well, I’m really, really happy.
“I wanted to go out hard and split the race up early and when Anna came with me we worked well together in the wind.
“I then put in a little move round the back and managed to hold on for the win.”
In the women’s age group events Kay’s second place saw her take the U23 win, while an impressive show of power saw Amy Perryman (Hargroves-Ridley-Montezuma’s) able to stay on the pace of a chasing group of senior and U23s, which dragged her away from the competition all the way to the line for the win in the junior win.
More Merlier magic can’t deny Field
Safe in the knowledge he already had the National Trophy title sewn up, winner Ian Field recorded his worst result of the season with 11th in Ipswich – not that it mattered to him.
The race itself was won by Steylaerts-Betfirst’s Merlier, who had also won the last two rounds in Gravesend and Bradford.
Knowing that a win in round six was likely to be enough to secure second overall, Merlier decimated the field with a gun to tape victory that saw him simply ride away from the opposition, extending his lead lap-by-lap, to win comfortably.
The story of the race happened just behind him where, initially, Swiss U23 champion Johan Jacobs looked strong enough to complete a similar solo effort to take second, but Specialized Racing’s Dan Tulett emerged from an elite group of chasing riders to overhaul him.
Liam Killeen, Field, Jeremy Durin, Thomas Mein and David Fletcher were joined mid-race by 2016 cross country mountain bike Olympian Grant Ferguson, but it was Tulett who came out of the pack.
First of all closing a big gap to Jacobs, before simply riding away from the Swiss for a hugely impressive second place.
Ferguson looked strong but suffered a crash in the barn on the penultimate lap as the chasing group started to splinter and Jacobs held on for third.
“I felt like I had a really good feeling in the legs at the start of the race,” said Merlier – whose win did secure second in the National Trophy rankings.
“I got a gap of a few seconds very quickly and it started to grow quickly. It kept growing by five seconds per lap and I realised I didn’t need any more time, close to the end, so I rode my own race.”
Tulett’s second place saw him win the U23 race, with Jacobs second and Mein third.
Askey win not enough
Mason (Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique) had already secured the title going into the men’s race so it was down to the chasing pack of Lewis Askey, Jenson Young, Callum Macleod and Toby Barnes to fight out the significant action at the head of the race.
And it was Askey that lit up with an early attempt at a solo victory but was chased down by the group mid race, before again finding enough reserves to attack late in the race and open a gap for an impressive solo victory at the line.
1. Anna Kay (EDCO Continental)
2. Sophie Wright (100% ME)
3. Ffion James (Abergavenny RC)
1. Daniel Tulett (Specialized Racing)
2. Johan Jacobs
3. Thomas Mein (Hope Factory Racing)
1. Amy Perryman (Hargroves-Ridley-Montezuma’s)
2. Marie Lynn (EDCO Continental)
3. Alderney Baker (Team Empella)
1. Lewis Askey (Team Backstedt/Hotchillee)
2. Toby Barnes (Lichfield City CC)
3. Callum Macleod (Pedalon.co.uk)