Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles-Ridley) and Hannah Payton (Kinesis UK) clinched the overall elite men’s and women’s titles as the British Cycling National Trophy Series reached a dramatic finale in Shrewsbury.
Field powered to a convincing victory over Liam Killeen (Malvern Cycle Sport), while Series leader Yorben Van Tichelt was absent, all but handing the title to Field.
And Payton also took the title in emphatic fashion, beating her nearest rival by more than one minute.
Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles-Ridley) dominated the Elite Men’s field to take his third win of the Series and his third Series overall at Shrewsbury’s Sundorne course.
It was Dave Fletcher (Sherwood Pines-Felt-Enve) who took the field away along the fast tarmac road circuit with Field, Billy Harding (Oldfield-Paul Milnes) and Grant Ferguson (CST Brentjens) on his wheel, the four already making a gap to the rest of the field.
With the race settling down it would be Field who put the effort in as they went through the woods for the first time, and he wouldn’t be troubled again for the rest of the race.
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Harding followed the race leader and dropped into second place ahead of Fletcher. Although he tired as the race progressed and dropped down the field, with the Under-23 title already under his belt, there was no pressure on the Yorkshire rider to fight for a high place.
Liam Killeen (Malvern Cycle Sport) bookended his Series with a fine second place after working over the rest of the chasers. The National Champion was unable to bridge the big gap to Field, but Killeen still looked a threat for the National Championships in a few weeks.
Nick Craig (SCOTT Racing) took a remarkable fourth place, having already won the over-40 veterans race win. He found the muddy conditions and off-camber features on the course to be in his favour.
Field took the bell with enough time in hand to take a lap of honour as the sun set, while Killeen held on to second place. Fletcher was starting to come back to the Malvern rider but slipped on the fast run up, allowing Killeen an extra few bike lengths to make his position safe.
Craig rolled across the line in fourth, and the Hope Factory Racing pair of Paul Oldham and Steve James took fifth and sixth respectively.
“It’s a bit of a shame Yorben isn’t here. I don’t know how it would’ve gone, but I like to think I would’ve had the upper hand on him,” said Field.
“I’m happy with three Series wins in a row but I’d like to make it four next year! - Ian Field
“The course was slightly different to last year with a bit of the course being more in the woods. It was muddy enough to make it hard going but not like the Nationals where it was a bit ridiculous!
“I was changing bikes every single lap and that felt just about right that, I don’t think I needed half lap changes. I didn’t ever feel the mech pulling.
“I wanted to put down a marker for the National Championships with Liam being here. I’m going to Belgium for four races over Christmas to sharpen up for it.”
Hannah Payton (Team Kinesis UK) stormed around the Sundorne course to take a fine win and the Series title in the Elite Women’s race.
With three wins coming into the last round, Payton was favourite to take her third Series title and she made no mistake, attacking early in the opening lap to get a gap on the rest of the field that she would increase over the following laps.
Sophie Thackeray (Oldfield-Paul Milnes) made a strong start and found herself heading up the rest of the field with Kim Baptista (Nutcracker Racing), Emily Wadsworth (Beeline-Gener8) and Annie Simpson (Hope Factory Racing) a handful of bike lengths behind.
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Coming out of the woods on the second lap the race was on for second place as Payton wasn’t going to be troubled and was well ahead of the rest of the race.
Simpson had worked up to second spot with Diane Lee (Cannonade Girls) looking a threat, while Thackray had slipped to fourth and was bar to bar with Emily Wadsworth, who had made an earlier excursion to avoid a sloppy bike change in the pits and did well to stay upright.
As the race drew to a close it looked as though it would be a time trial to the finish.
Payton was now 60 seconds ahead of Simpson while Lee was holding on to third spot, but fourth place was being fought out between Thackray and Wadsworth.
Going into woods for the final time, Wadsworth kicked and dropped Thackray and went on to chase down both Lee and Simpson, the junior coming into sight across the plateau in second place, her best finish of the Series.
Simpson held on to third and Lee was fourth. Sarah Lomas (Nutcracker Racing) took eighth and the highest placed U-23 rider.
“It’s really nice to win the Series and be up there every round and consistent,” said Payton.
“These kind of courses are really about power, keeping upright and keeping safe, so once I had a bit of a lead on the first lap I opened up to about 10-15 seconds pretty quickly.
“I had people around the course giving me regular time gaps, so as long as it wasn’t closing I just wanted to stay safe and not make a mistake and come off.
“There wasn’t much to be gained by pushing on every bend because it was so slippery out there it was hard to get all your power out there. The tread on the tyres was clogging really quickly so I was doing half lap changes.”
Nick Craig (Scott Racing) took his fourth win of the series to secure the Over 40 Veterans National Trophy Series.
Riding the veterans category for the first time this year, Craig made light work of the muddy course, taking a steady opening circuit before attacking on the second lap to take the lead which wouldn’t be troubled for the remainder of the race.
It was George Richardson who set the early pace and, along with the newly-crowned World Champion Ian Taylor (C and N Cycles), set about stretching the strong field.
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Dan Guest (Cotswold Veldrijden) and Hope Factory Racing’s Dave Collins didn’t look troubled with the pace and stayed towards the head of the race for the duration, but it was Craig and Rob Jebb (Hope Factory Racing) who would define the opening race of the day.
With Craig away it would be Jebb who looked favourite to catch the leader, but with two punctures to address it would be too much to ask and had to be content with second. Collins got the better of Taylor in the closing laps and completed the podium.
“I’ve never won a Series, so this is a first!” said Over-40 Veteran winner Nick Craig.
“It’s genuine hard racing today – Rob had two punctures today so realistically he should’ve been with me at the end of the race because he closes in.
“What a great atmosphere and what great competitive fun. It’s a great sport to be involved in.
“The organisers have done a brilliant job with the course here. With off-camber banking like this, it is bike racing at its best. There’s no hill here but you don’t need it. It’s brilliant racing at a great venue and long may it carry on.”
In the Over 50 Veterans race Pete Middleton (Zepnat RT) took a fine victory to win the Series overall.
Middleton looked unbeatable in the green jersey and put over a minute into second-placed Chris Young (Pedalsport CC). Steve Davies (Hargroves Cycles- Ridley) completed the podium and took second overall in the Series.
Richard Cross (Stroud Valley Velo) didn’t take to the start because of an injury but turned up to take his third spot overall after getting a solid Series under his belt.
Bolsover and District’s Maddi Smith took her third win of the Series in the Veteran Women’s race with a fine ride on the drying course - but it was Isla Rowntree (Islabikes) who took the Series victory.
Rowntree, once again, took to the start on a single speed machine with no spare bike or pit crew, and although Smith had a cleaner race Rowntree was never troubled by the rest of the field.
Solent Pirates’ Helen Pattinson completed the podium, while Alison Kinloch took sixth which was enough to take third overall in the Series behind Rowntree and Smith.
In the Junior race it was Thomas Mein (Derwentside CC) who held off a chasing Harry Yates (Hargroves Cycles-Ridley) to take his first win of the Series, but it was consistent riding throughout the campaign by Sam Moses (Oldfield-Paul Milnes) who walked away with the Series overall.
Mark Donovan (Wheelbase Altura) took third on the day. Series leader after round four, Dougal Toms didn’t fare well, finishing seventh, but after a recount was confirmed as second overall in the Series.
In the Under 16 Boys race it was Charlie Craig (Scott Racing) who took the win and his first Series title.
Craig has found some good form after a mediocre start at Derby, but a fine second place in round two at Abergavenny gave the Scott rider the confidence to keep the leader’s jersey throughout the campaign.
Lewis Askey gave the race winner a good run for the win but the yellow jersey gave Craig the extra few seconds on every lap. Oliver Draffan (Derwentside CC) completed the podium.
The Lichfield CC pair of Emile Alexander and Marcus Holmes battled throughout and took it down to a sprint, Holmes having the legs to claim fourth by a couple of seconds.
Harriet Harnden (T-Mo Racing) made it a clean sweep in the Under 16 Girls race to take her fifth win of the campaign and the overall title.
Harnden powered away from the start and once the gap was made the rest would be racing for second spot. Maddie Wadsworth (Beeline Bicycles), Amy Perryman (Solent Pirates), Ava Oxley-Szilagyi (PH-MAS VCUK) and Towy Riders’ Eluned King all looking for high places but it would be Wadsworth who took the initiative on the second lap to ride away and take second. Perryman completed the podium.
In the Under 14 Boys race it was Welwyn’s Joe Kiely who took his second win of the Series but it wasn’t enough to take the overall title from Finlay Pickering (Hull Thursday RC).
The title could arguably gone either way throughout the season but a slow start by Kiely in the opening round allowed Pickering to take the initiative.
Adam Bent (Border City Wheelers) took his best result of the Series with a fine second place whilst an improving Josh Giddings (The MI Racing Academy) added another podium to his palmares to claim third overall in the Series.
Anna Wadsworth (Beeline Bicycles) took her first win of the Series in the Under 14 Girls race but Millie Couzens (Zappi’s CC) had done the work throughout the previous four rounds to take the Series title overall. Zoe Backstedt (Maindy Flyers Youth) completed the podium.