Evie Richards (T-Mo Racing) and Ian Field (Hargroves-Ridley) were the elite winners at round four of the British Cycling National Trophy Series, held at Trinity Park in Ipswich on Sunday.
Ian Field (Hargroves-Ridley) made it four wins from four on a windy Trinity Park course at Ipswich, while Paul Oldham and Ian Bibby completed a podium of National Champions past and present.
Field, who has so far dominated the 2015 series, attacked early in the race to leave the rest of the race fighting for the minor placings.
Ben Sumner (Beeline-Gener8) headed the race out on the fast start straight, the field hitting the first corner as one. Sumner held his position and led the field across the open field with Raleigh-GAC’s Steve Roach and Field in close attendance.
The three opened a small gap to Hargroves’ Jody Crawforth, Dave Fletcher (Pines-Felt-Envy) and Jack Clarkson (Hope Factory Racing) on the front of the chasing field.
As the race steadied itself at the end of the opening lap it was Clarkson who took up the pace, the field now stretched out. But the strong winds were to play a role throughout and Clarkson looked to struggle in the headwind, Sumner taking his place again at the front of proceedings.
Field was sitting in third, taking a shield from the weather with Fletcher, Crawforth and Roach in his wheel, while Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing), U23 series leader Nick Barnes (Hargroves-Ridley) and NFTO’s Ian Bibby had moved up to the lead group and the group were pulling away from the rest of the field.
With a quarter of the race completed Field made his move out of the tricky technical zone and made a gap off the head of the lead group, a gap that would increase as the lap board counted down.
Roach and Sumner tried to go with Field but the national champion proved too strong. However, the attack took the two away from the rest of the group, Clarkson was in no man’s land while Fletcher and Barnes were working together to bridge the gap to fourth place.
By the mid-point Field looked unstoppable, such was the gap to the chasers, and the race was arguably a foregone conclusion. Fletcher was riding well with two strong races the previous weekend looking to be paying off, and he was soon up to third behind Sumner. Oldham and Bibby were quietly working back to the front of the race and were soon in shouting distance of second and third.
With Field away all eyes turned to the chasers, Oldham and Bibby had worked together to claw back Fletcher and Sumner and with Roach finding a second wind, while a strong group of five were working together to try and reduce the gap to the race leader.
With two laps remaining Oldham attacked and stormed away from the group. Bibby had the legs to respond and gave chase, but the remainder of the group dropped back as the wind began to affect the race. But Bibby hooked onto Oldham’s wheel and the two put the distance to the rest of the field who looked to be consolidating their places.
As the bell rang for the final lap and the light faded to dark, it was Ian Field who took almost a lap of honour. But the race for second and third was still close and Bibby took his chance on the open field, attacking and getting away from Oldham and taking second. Oldham was unable to respond and had to be content with third and his first podium of the series.
“The wind was so strong!” said Field afterwards. “Once you get away on your own everyone else is looking at each other. As soon as I got the gap people only chased for so long. When you’ve got someone on your wheel you’re in two minds. I went early through the technical section and kept pushing really.
“I need to keep pushing for form. I’m 20th in the world cup and I want to finish in the top 20, so every race counts.”
Evie Richards (T-Mo Racing) opened up her National Trophy Series account with a fine win in the elite women's race but Hannah Payton (Team Kenesis UK) held on to the series lead with a fifth place finish.
It was Alice Barnes (Betch-Super-Brentjens) who used her road speed to take the race into the first corner but Barnes powered down the start straight to take the field out onto the opening switchbacks and had soon opened up a gap to the rest of the field.
Richards and Beth Crumpton (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours) were quick to respond and were soon on Barnes’ wheel.
The quick start was nullified by the time the race had hit the steps for the first time with a strong group of six; Barnes, Richards, Payton, Crumpton, Amira Mellor (Oldfield/Paul Milnes) and Sophie Wright (Strada-Sport) getting a decent gap over Hope Factory Racing’s Annie Simpson and a chasing field.
The group would remain intact for the next few laps apart from Crumpton, who would be distanced slightly. With two laps remaining, the race would change and Richards put in a big effort to break the stalemate. Mellor and Barnes reacted and the three got away.
Payton missed the break and, along with Wright, had to chase the leaders down. Richards attacked again over the technical section and got the gap on her rivals through the sand. Mellor and Barnes couldn’t respond and had to watch the leader ride away.
Payton was still chasing and had a small gap over Wright, the junior holding her own in present company. As the bell rang for the final lap, Richards upped the pace on the tarmac road and Mellor went on the chase.
Barnes missed the initial jump but was able to get across to Mellor and ride past on the open road. Wright made her move on Payton mid-lap and went after Mellor but coming onto the finish straight Richards had enough time to celebrate on the finish line.
Barnes held off a late chase by Mellor to take second but Wright missed out on third by a slender two seconds to take fourth overall and first junior.
Richards echoed Field’s comments about the wind playing a big part in the race.
“Because it’s a pretty windy course, everyone was sitting together a bit,” she said. “There were a few little breaks but everyone was trying to stay together so I just positioned myself mid-group, waiting for my turn to go for it.
“A little break started on the second lap and I just went for it. I didn’t want to make a break too early because it was so windy. It was quite a slow moving group start with but then with two laps to go, I made a break.
“I’ll be riding in Bradford and then in a couple of local events, I’m riding more than last year. And I’ll be riding the nationals too so I’m quite excited about that.”
Nick Craig (Scott Racing) took the win in the over-40 veterans' race, breaking away from the rest of the field on the penultimate lap.
It was series leader Darren Atkins who took the initiative in the opening laps, along with Jim Bryant (Zepnat-Lazer Helmets) and the C and N Racing pair of Ian and Andy Taylor setting the early pace.
Dan Guest (Performance Cycles) and the previous round’s winner Rob Jebb (Hope Factory Racing) made up a select group who all but dominated the day’s opening race.
Craig’s team-mate Keith Murray and Hargroves Cycles-Ridley rider Crispin Doyle led the chasers, but the strength in the front group was too great for the rest of the field.
Craig made his play on the penultimate lap, dancing away off the front of the lead group. Jebb tried to go with the national champion but Craig proved too strong for any chase. Bryan reacted with Atkins and the three chasers remained together to the finish straight as Craig took the chequered flag.
Bryan took the sprint from Atkins for second but Ride Coventry man took to the podium to collect the leader’s jersey.
“That was hard work!” said Craig. “It’s a great course and the team has done a super job here making the course. It’s the fourth course I’ve ridden here and it’s always different. It’s flat but interesting - I personally find flat courses the hardest because there’s no recovery and it’s tough going.
“The likes of Jim Bryan when he fired his engine down the back he was really going some, and I thought I would have trouble getting rid of him. But I did notice he was running a little less grip on the rear so I stuck the rocket on in the corner and he slipped, so I put the hammer down.
“I wanted to give the jersey an outing, I think it’s the right thing to do. Full respect to all these guys as the racing is super fast with the likes of Rob Jebb and Darren Atkins. They raced a smart race. There was one point where Jim Bryant was just pulling away and we had to get stuck in, but it was proper racing.”
In the over 50s it was Tim Gould who secured the win to make two from two and retain the series leader’s jersey.
Scott Racing’s Kenny Johnson put in a strong turn on the opening lap to set a blistering pace, but Gould stayed in touch and with Phil Roach (Team Jewson-MI Racing), Chris Young (Pedalsport CC) and Sunset Cycle’s Grant Johnson the four soon had the big field strung out.
Gould looked strong and put in an attack on the second lap which nobody could match, the Zepnat rider taking the chance and powering on. With no-one responding, he soon had a big gap.
Roach couldn’t make the gap and soon had Grant Johnson and Chris Young knocking at the door. Young attacked and tried to chase the race leader down but the gap was too big. Gould took the final lap alone, Johnson followed Young and secured third and another podium in the series.
“It feels like a proper win, to beat everybody that is contention,” said Gould. “Now I consider myself to be an equal series leader because we’ve both had two wins now so it’s two-all!
“If me and Chris continue being first and second, if I win the next one then I still have to win the final because the final takes precedence so it’s going to go all the way.
“When I was warming up I couldn’t really see how or where I could’ve dropped Chris, I didn’t have anything in my mind where to attack him. But I powered off the start, got a little gap, and carried on like that.
“The steps and the sand area is all about technique really, anyone who is a MTB rider coming into cross will lose a bit of time there, but the regular cross guys there’s not much chance.
“It’s unexpected to win on this course, I thought that I wouldn’t win on a flat course, but I was pleased with that.”
Tom Pidcock (Oldfield/Paul Milnes) took his third win of the junior series to extend his lead at the top of the table.
Pidcock once again looked formidable in the leader’s yellow jersey, hitting the front of the race early on and never looking back. A select group led the race out including Pidcock, Harry Yates (Hargroves-Ridley), Mark Donovan (Beacon Wheelers) Tom Mein (Derwentside CC), Ben Turner (Oldfield/Paul Milnes) taking the race away from the line to set another fast start to the junior race.
An improving Donovan was the only rider to make inroads to the leader, but once the gap was made on the fast course it proved too much to pull it back. Donovan held his own in second while the battle for third was hotting up between a quintet of Yates, Mein, Turner, Harry Hardcastle (Speedflex) and Will Gascoyne (Pines-Felt) the five all within a handful of seconds of each other.
Yates attacked past the pits on the penultimate lap but the group was soon on the pace and remained so until the finishing straight, Yates taking the sprint from Turner to claim third behind Pidcock and Donovan.
“I was planning, because it was so windy, to sit in the wheels,” said Pidcock. “But I got an opportunity on a technical bit and tried to hold the gap for the first few laps then just went full gas.
“It’s been a good season for me, it’s my rest season really because I’m only in it for a bit of fun. I would have thought that winning in Bradford will wrap the series up. I’m not racing much over Christmas because I’ve got camps.”
In the under-16 boys it was a race-long battle between Toby Barnes (Lichfield City CC) and Euan Cameron (Paul Milnes-Bradford), the two swapping the lead throughout.
But it was Barnes who waited until the final climb up the steps to make a play for the lead, the Lichfield rider just getting ahead of Cameron and holding on to the chequered flag. Ben Tulett (Beeline-Gener8) took a lone third.
In the under-14s it was Emile Alexander who made it a one-two for Lichfield City CC, also taking the series lead in the process. Second place was taken by Leicester Roads CC rider Alec Gregory, beating Oli Stockwell (Welwyn Wheelers) by a tyre’s width in a sprint.
Poppy Wildman (Nottingham Clarion) took an easy win to retain the leaders blue jersey in the under-16 girls' race. Wildman, again, took the lead early on the opening lap and never looked back. Elspeth Grace (Welwyn Wheelers) took second after a race long tussle with Leicestershire Roads CC’s April Tacey who held on to third. Fossa Racing’s Elena Smith took fourth just a few seconds off the pace.
In the under-14 girls' race it was Ava Oxley-Szilagyi who took the win and the series lead from Amelie Wayte (Zepnat-Lazer Helmets) who took her first podium of the series and third went to Eluned King (Towy Riders).
Maddie Smith (Bolsover and Dist CC) took the win and retained the series lead in the veteran women’s race. Smith, who can’t be beaten in the series, proved too strong for the rest of the field. Solent Pirates’ Helen Pattinson took a lone second while Jackie Field (CC Ashwell) took third and her first series podium.
1 Ian Field Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT 00:59:24
2 Ian Bibby NFTO 01:00:30
3 Paul Oldham Hope Factory Racing 01:00:40
4 Ben Sumner Beeline-Gener8 01:00:47
5 Steven Roach Team Raleigh-GAC 01:00:49
6 David Fletcher Pines Cycles - Felt - Enve 01:00:59
7 Nick Craig SCOTT Racing 01:01:05
8 Nicholas Barnes Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT 01:01:13
9 Steven James Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT 01:01:31
10 Jody Crawforth Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT 01:01:41
1 Evie Richards T-Mo Racing 44:24.3
2 Alice Barnes Betch-Super-Brentjens MTB RT 44:53.1
3 Amira Mellor Oldfield/PaulMilnesCyclesERT 44:56.7
4 Sophie Wright Strada-Sport 44:58.7
5 Hannah Payton Team Kinesis UK 45:11.2
6 Bethany Crumpton Pearl Izumi ? Sports Tours Int 46:38.3
7 Annabel Simpson Hope Factory Racing 46:41.4
8 Merce Pacios Pujad¢ Zappi's Racing Team 46:43.2
9 Diane Lee Team Mulebar Girl-SigmaSpt 47:05.1
1 Maddi Smith Bolsover & District CC 40:44.1
2 Helen Pattinson Solent Pirates 41:55.5
3 Jackie Field Cycle Club Ashwell (CCA) 42:27.4
4 Alison Kinloch PH-MAS VCUK Women's CT 43:13.6
5 Martine Verweij Team Jewson-M.I.Racing-Poly 43:39.9
6 Janet Marsden Warwickshire Police CC 44:18.4
7 Bev Martin Adept Precision RT/NE Health 44:31.0
8 Joanne Newstead X RT / Elmy Cycles 44:42.6
9 Nicola Davies Beacon Wheelers 45:19.6
10 Joanne Allan Blumilk.com 45:22.5
1 Thomas Pidcock Oldfield/PaulMilnesCyclesERT 41:22.8
2 Mark Donovan Beacon Wheelers 42:28.5
3 Harry Yates Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT 43:00.7
4 Ben Turner Paul Milnes-Bradford Olymp RC 43:01.8
5 Harry Hardcastle Speedflex Race Team 43:04.0
6 William Gascoyne Pines Cycles - Felt - Enve 43:04.6
7 Thomas Mein Derwentside CC 43:08.4
8 Ewan Grivell-Mellor Mid Shropshire Wheelers 43:19.5
9 Tim James Bourne Wheelers CC 43:45.3
10 Dougal Toms Iceni Velo 43:57.3
1 Nick Craig SCOTT Racing 42:10.8
2 James Bryan Zepnat RT-Lazer Helmets 42:27.6
3 Darren Atkins Ride Coventry 42:29.0
4 Robert Jebb Hope Factory Racing 42:30.0
5 Daniel Guest Performance Cycles 42:34.4
6 Ian Taylor C and N Cycles RT 42:49.6
7 Wayne Crombie East London V‚lo 43:12.5
8 Andrew Taylor C and N Cycles RT 43:17.2
9 Keith Murray SCOTT Racing 43:30.1
10 Crispin Doyle Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT 43:43.0
1 Tim Gould Zepnat RT-Lazer Helmets 43:24.2
2 Chris Young Pedalsport Cycling Club 43:57.5
3 Grant Johnson Sunset Cycles 44:42.3
4 Philip Roach Team Jewson-M.I.Racing-Poly 44:52.1
5 Richard Cross Individual Member 45:31.4
6 Kirby Bennett Team Jewson-M.I.Racing-Poly 45:52.6
7 Kenny Johnson SCOTT Racing 46:03.5
8 Roy Chamberlain Corley Cycles - Drops RT 46:07.8
9 Michael Bell London Fire Brigade CC 46:15.0
10 Matt Wilson Mountain Goat Coaching 46:15.2
1 Toby Barnes Lichfield City CC 28:16.6
2 Euan Cameron Paul Milnes-Bradford Olymp RC 28:18.1
3 Ben Tulett Beeline-Gener8 28:51.7
4 Harrison Knight Solihull CC 28:58.8
5 Callum Macleod Palmer Park Velo RT 29:02.4
6 William Raymond Welwyn Wheelers CC 29:05.3
7 Lewis Askey Lichfield City CC 29:07.2
8 Charlie Craig SCOTT Racing 29:20.3
9 Oliver Draffan Derwentside CC 29:21.9
10 Jacob Knight Solihull CC 29:23.3
1 Poppy Wildman Nottingham Clarion CC 31:17.3
2 Elspeth Grace Welwyn Wheelers CC 32:08.6
3 April Tacey Leicestershire Road Club 32:13.9
4 Elena Smith Fossa Racing 32:27.8
5 Nicole Clarke Birkenhead North End CC 32:58.3
6 Lucy Naylor Paul Milnes-Bradford Olymp RC 33:21.6
7 Xan Crees Team Empella Cyclo-Cross 33:26.8
8 Olivia Fawcett Hetton Hawks Cycling Club 33:36.4
9 Amy Perryman Solent Pirates 33:41.4
10 Cecilia Hime St Ives CC 34:17.8
1 Emile Alexander Lichfield City CC 30:57.0
2 Alec Gregory Leicestershire Road Club 31:03.5
3 Oliver Stockwell Welwyn Wheelers CC 31:03.7
4 Matti Egglestone Beacon Wheelers 31:34.9
5 Adam Lightfoot Cycle Club Ashwell (CCA) 31:36.4
6 Daniel Barnes Lichfield City CC 31:37.0
7 George Ball Furness Future Flyers 31:44.3
8 Finlay Pickering Clifton CC 31:49.4
9 Joshua Giddings Heanor Clarion CC 31:55.9
10 Joe Kiely Welwyn Wheelers CC 32:08.8
1 Ava Oxley-Szilagyi PH-MAS VCUK Women's CT 32:31.0
2 Amelie Wayte Zepnat RT-Lazer Helmets 33:03.7
3 Eluned King Towy Riders 33:30.2
4 Anna Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT 34:26.1
5 Imogen Chastell Welwyn Wheelers CC 34:43.1
6 Maddie Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT 34:49.3
7 Harley Pell Cycle Club Ashwell (CCA) 34:51.8
8 Charlotte-Louise McGreevy WXC World Racing 35:31.5
9 Emily Conn Palmer Park Velo RT 37:09.3
10 Libby Smith Fossa Racing 37:57.5