Hannah Barnes took a fine win in the Lewis Partnership Women’s Grand Prix at Stafford on Friday evening to secure the overall victory in the National Women's series.
The MG-Maxifuel rider, who had made the long journey down to Stafford from Glasgow earlier in the day, was keen to take the overall victory, but had to finish ahead of Anne Ewing and ensure she took the points from the two intermediate sprints to ensure she pipped her rival for the series win.
Both Barnes and Ewing had to mark every move during the race and an early attack from Louise Borthwick saw Barnes close on the young Scot’s wheel.
Matrix Fitness looked to be making their intentions quite obvious, covering any move that went. First Jo Tindley pulled the two escapees back for Jessie Walker to go clear, but it was team mate Harriet Owen who made the first useful looking move of the race, breaking away around the twisty roads round the back of the circuit and gaining a useful break - but Barnes was quick to bring Owen back.
Borthwick again went on the attack, taking Owen along for the ride, but again it was Barnes who had to bring the race back together. With the first 10 minutes complete the whistle went to indicate the first sprint lap of the race.
Barnes knew she had to cross the line first which she duly did to take the all-important five points. With Ewing crossing in second, the championship was still wide open, the Breast Cancer Care girl still seven points to the good of Barnes.
With the leaders easing after the sprint effort, Owen again made the jump off the front, and again it was down to Barnes and Ewing to bring the race back which they did - only for Jessie Walker to ride over the top and go off the front and with Tindley sitting second wheel. And again it would be left to the series challengers to chase the moves to protect the remaining points on offer.
With the second sprint in sight again it was Barnes who secured the five points with Ewing three and Borthwick taking the two. Now it would be down to the final sprint of the night to take the overall victory of the series, with 30 points for the win and 25 for second, it really would be winner takes all.
A select group of 12 would challenge for the win, the remaining field out of the running for any victory. With 10 laps remaining, again Owen went for glory but it would be Barnes who was left to chase again.
Three laps passed and Tindley attacked, this time both Barnes and Ewing had hooked on the wheel and it could have been a break that stayed away, but again the break didn't last and the group stayed as one until the final two laps when Matrix put Hannah and Jessie Walker on the front and the pace lifted.
But Barnes and Ewing had the measure of it and it would be left until the dying metres of the race when Barnes made her move out of the middle of the group to take the race and the overall series win in fine style from Borthwick and Jessie Walker second and third. Ewing finished seventh on the night, not enough to keep the overall in the series but 2013 was always going to belong to the National Crit Champion, Hannah Barnes.
What they said
Hannah Barnes: “I’m really pleased with the win. When Anne was attacking I had to go after her to win the Series as my dad told me I had to win all the intermediate sprints and win the race.”
“I wasn’t really focused on the series early on, but I kept going and did well. I wasn’t supposed to be riding Stafford, but plans changed and I got the train down from Glasgow.
“I’ve got MTB next week, then a couple of others before then the track nationals. For next season I’m hoping to be racing in Europe, but it’s early days to make a decision on that.”
And before the Stafford Grand Prix, Anna Ewing said: “I didn’t do any of the National Series races last year, but from having done them in the past there’s been a massive jump up in the standard of racing from everyone who races. I think the standings being so tight reflects that.
“As Scots we need to get two top four finishes in National Series to qualify for the Commonwealth Games, and I’ve got four top three finishes, so hopefully that puts me in good stead, but nothing is certain.
“I was only doing the series to get qualification for the Commonwealths, but it went so well I kept going for the series win. It’s a great series, and when we had a round in Scotland it made it truly country-wide. It was a lot of travelling for me but it was definitely worth it.
“Next year I will be focusing more on European races, the Nationals is always a target, but I’m not sure about the National Series.”
1 Hannah Barnes MG-Maxifuel
2 Louise Borthwick Edinburgh RC
3 Jessie Walker Matrix Fitness
4 Harriet Owen Matrix Fitness
5 Hannah Walker Matrix Fitness
6 Lauren Creamer ISCorp/NCSF
7 Anne Ewing Breast Cancer Care CT
8 Jennifer Edwards Rhos On Sea Cycling Club
9 Jo Tindley Matrix Fitness
10 Molly Weaver Breast Cancer Care CT
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