Chris Lawless (Champion System) won the latest round of the National Junior Road Race Series, staged by CC Giro at the Curborough Sprint Circuit near Lichfield on Saturday.
The National Junior Series provides a variety of challenges for the riders and after three hour races on hilly road circuits in Wales, the Mendips and the Isle of Man and a fast road course in Nottinghamshire, the series arrived at the Curborough Sprint Circuit for an hour of tight, twisty, technical crit-style racing. With ‘four seasons in one day’ weather and a track surface where oil is never far from the surface.
Harry Tanfield of Team Wallis CHH Racing Team provided the early interest, opening out a sizeable lead 10 minutes into the race.
He stayed away on his own for almost quarter of an hour, but just before half distance the bunch pulled him back and Chris Lawless of Champion System/Maxgear went away.
Tanfield was still active on the front of the bunch with Jacob Scott of Planet X and Scott’s team-mate and Irish Junior Road Race – and Time Trial – champion Ryan Mullen trying to drive the field on.
Lawless’ lead, though, continued to build and in the chase behind a touch of wheels ahead of him left last week’s winner Alex Peters of Mosquito bikes with nowhere to go and he crashed heavily halfway down the main straight. The race continued as Peters was attended to by the side of the circuit – the Series leader eventually taken to hospital with head injuries.
As the race entered its final 10 minutes and with a strong six-man chase group reeling him in, Lawless decided discretion was the better part of valour and eased off to join them. With five laps to go it was clear the winner was going to come from this strong group which consisted of Mullen, Tanfield, James Newey of Cadence Sport, James King of Mountivation Development Academy, Alan Trolove of West Suffolk Wheelers and Luke Hattersley of St Ives CC.
The long home straight – into a fierce headwind – requires strength and perfect timing. The sprint would up at around the half way mark with Mullen making the early running but it was Lawless that had the momentum and he was half a bike length clear by the end – just rewards for his long solo effort – and the decision to let the break come to him. Mullen hung on to second with Tanfield taking third place as payback for his early solo effort.
Speaking to British Cycling after the event, Lawless was pleased with the way the race panned out. “It was really windy out there today which made it hard and split the race up a bit.
“I attacked early on and stayed away until six laps to go. The a break came across to me – a strong break of six riders – so I decided to sit up and sit in with them and let them tow me to the finish, because I know I’ve got a decent sprint.”
“So I thought if I can stay away to the finish with these guys, then I might be able to win. I thought Ryan [Mullen] might have had me at one point because we were neck-and-neck from the bottom corner but I just had the lunge on him at the end and managed to get the win.”
National Junior Series:
1 Chris Lawless (Champion System)
2 Ryan Mullen (Planet X)
3 Harry Tanfield (Team Wallis CHH)
4 James Newey (Cadence Sport)
5 James King (Mountivation Development Academy)
6 Alan Trolove (West Suffolk Wheelers)
7 Luke Hattersley (St Ives CC)
8 Jake Kelly Team (Microgaming Isle of Man)
1 Jonny Notton (Clay Cross RT)
2 Mark Botteley (Bourne Wheelers)
3 Michael Lawton (Team Tri A Sport)
4 Kevin Potter (Lichfield City CC)
5 Lee Brown (Holme Valley Wheelers)
6 Steve Thompson (Clay Cross RT)
Youth A Boys:
1 Gabriel Cullaigh (RST Racing Team)
2 Joe Evans (Velocity RT)
3 Matthew Gibson (Warrington RC)
Youth A Girls:
1 Emily Nelson (Halesowen A&CC)
2 Lucy Shaw (Solihull CC)
3 Megan Barker (Cardiff Ajax)
Youth B Boys:
1 David Barnes (Condor Cycles)
2 Daniel Tulett (Hargroves Cycles)
3 Reece Wood (Aire Valley Cycles)
Youth B Girls:
1 Charlotte Broughton (Leicestershire RC)
2 Jessica Roberts (Towy Riders)
3 Eleanor Dickinson (Beacon Wheelers)
1 Nathan Hawthorn (CS Pendle)
2 William Draper (Team Royal London 360)
3 Sean Flynn (Edinburgh RC)
1 Matti Egglestone (Beacon Wheelers)
2 Aaron Freeman (Chelmer CC)
3 Jack Rootkin-Gray (Solihull CC)
1 Joshua Tarling (West Wales CRT)
2 Thomas Davies (Welwyn Wheelers)
3 Zac Walker (Team Royal London 360)
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.