Welsh riders took home six medals on day two of the HSBC UK | National Track Championships in Manchester with Ella Barnwell becoming a double champion, while Rhys Britton retained his men’s points crown in a thrilling race.
Elsewhere for the Will Roberts and Ellie Coster of the Wales Racing Academy they took home a silver and a bronze in the points race and the women’s keirin.
Welsh riders Britton and Roberts impress
The points race was the headline of the evening and it certainly didn’t disappoint, as the 120-lap race was entertaining from start to finish.
After impressing in his qualifying heat, Roberts – again looked strong throughout the final. Both he and Britton put down a marker early on by gaining some points which set the tone for the rest of the race.
With the race entering the last 20 laps, the leaderboard was close with Roberts in contention for the win. But with fewer than 20 laps remaining Britton and Will Perrett – along with Roberts – were part of a group of eight riders to take a further lap. Britton led narrowly going into the final, double-points sprint, and although he was edged on the line by Roberts, held on to win gold for the second year in a row with 61 points.
The ten points that Roberts claimed in the final sprint did affect the other medals, though, pushing his total up to 59 – enough to take silver ahead of Perrett.
Will said: “I’m happy with that, there’s been a lot of hard training towards the team pursuit and it’s nice to see all that preparation pay off.”
When asked whether the points race was a target coming into the championships, he said: “It was all eyes on team pursuit really, but I do really like a points race. It’s a good race to show if you’ve got nice legs. The training for it is relatively simple, but it’s just lots of really hard riding.”
Double Gold for Barnwell
For Barnwell it was a good day in the office as performed well with her Team Breeze teammates in the team pursuit and then when it came to the scratch she was composed throughout to take the victory.
It was a tactical race with Amelia Sharpe and Abi Smith both making significant attacks in the mid-section of the race, but by and large the bunch stayed together until the final ten laps, when Kinga Ingram injected fresh pace at the front, stringing the field out as the laps ticked down.
Smith tried her luck again with four laps to go, but was caught by the bunch, which came back together and was headed by a sizeable Team Breeze contingent, from which Barnwell emerged to take gold ahead of Josie Knight and Jenny Holl.
Barnwell said: “It was a pretty tough race – there was so much attacking and it was full on, so to have the legs in the last lap and a half was unreal. I just gave it everything.
“Being a first year in the under-23s is a big step up from junior level, but the legs are there and I’m doing my best every time, and hopefully this year is going to be really good.”
Barnwell, Knight and Holl also picked up national champion’s jerseys in the women’s team pursuit. Team Breeze (Barnwell, Holl, Knight and Anna Docherty) dominated qualifying, recording a time of 4:32.054, and carried that dominance through to the medal rides – for which they brought Anna Shackley in for Holl – catching the University of Nottingham (Isabel Ellis, Sophie Lankford, Matilda Gurney and Charlotte Mitchell) just shy of halfway through the final.
The final title of the evening went to Bell as she won the keirin gold, but she had to hold off a strong challenge of two Welsh riders in Emma Finucane and Ellie Coster.
For Wales Racing Academy’s Coster, taking home the bronze medal sets herself up nicely tomorrow as she looks to regain her 500m TT crown.
It was a close run final, as both Finucane and Coster gave the eventual winner Bell some thinking to do. Coster looked impressive during qualifying, winning her first heat and then riding smart to come through her semi-final.
Speaking after her bronze medal in the keirin, Coster said: “Yeah I’m really pleased, I came into it not really knowing what to expect. So I was coming into it with a bit of an open mind.
“I’m really happy with how I rode and getting a medal is bonus – I couldn’t be happier,” said Coster.
Juggling work and training has been hard for Coster coming into the championships: “It’s been tough, I have struggled with it,” she said. “But having a chat with Darren [head coach] and a few of my other coaches, I just tried to get a bit of pressure off myself and enjoy the racing really and getting in as much training in as I can and just enjoying it.”
Podium positions are listed below:
Women’s Team Pursuit
1. Team Breeze (Ella Barnwell, Jenny Holl, Josie Knight, Anna Docherty, Anna Shackley)
2. University of Nottingham (Isabel Ellis, Sophie Lankford, Matilda Gurney, Charlotte Mitchell)
3. Central Region (Millie Couzens, Anna Wadsworth, Eva Callinan, Libby Smithson)
1. Jonny Wale (HUUB Wattbike p/b Vita Coco)
2. Dan Bigham (HUUB Wattbike p/b Vita Coco)
3. Kyle Gordon (HUUB Wattbike p/b Vita Coco)
Women’s scratch race
1. Ella Barnwell (Team Breeze)
2. Josie Knight (Team Breeze)
3. Jenny Holl (Team Breeze)
Men’s points race
1. Rhys Britton (Team Inspired)
2. Will Roberts (Wales Racing Academy)
3. Will Perrett (HUUB Wattbike p/b Vita Coco)
1. Hamish Turnbull (Slingshot)
2. Ali Fielding (Slingshot)
3. Alex Spratt
1. Lauren Bell (Black Line)
2. Emma Finucane (Di Mascio)
3. Ellie Coster (Wales Racing Academy)
The championships conclude tomorrow, when HUUB Wattbike p/b Vita Coco will attempt to defend their men’s team pursuit title. Also up for grabs are national champion’s jerseys in the men’s keirin and scratch race, and women’s team sprint, 500m time trial and points race.