Mary Wilkinson and Rob Scott were crowned the winners of Lancaster Grand Prix in Round 4 of the women’s and Round 3 of the men’s National Road Series on Sunday.
On a day of firsts, Mary Wilkinson (Team Boompods) prevailed in a tightly-fought inaugural women’s Lancaster Grand Prix to take a maiden National Road Series victory for herself and for Team Boompods. Meanwhile, in a scorching hot men’s race, Rob Scott continued WiV SunGod’s blazing form by putting on a last-lap masterclass to capture his first National Road Series win.
Despite an overcast sky welcoming the riders, the weather – and the action – quickly heated up as the hilly Lancaster circuit made its presence felt right from the start.
On the second run up the QoM climb five riders –Wilkinson, Josie Nelson (Team Coop-Hitec Products), Danni Shrosbree (CAMS-Basso Bikes), Zoe Langham (Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Red Chill Bikes p/b Heidi Kjeldsen) and Alex Morrice (Team LDN – Brother UK) – made the first substantial attack of the day but were pulled back in a lap later.
Otley CC’s Robyn Clay broke 20 seconds clear before she rejoined the lead group at the halfway point.
On the final lap, Team Boompod’s Monica Greenwood punched clear alongside Nicole Coates (Torelli – Cayman Islands – Scimitar). As they were caught on the on the final QoM climb, Greenwood’s teammate Wilkinson launch her own counter-attack, joined by 22-year-old Alice Morrice, making her debut for Team LDN – Brother UK in just her third road race.
They hit more than 80kph on the long descent back into Lancaster for the deciding kicker through Williamson Park and stretched their lead up to 30 seconds. It was only on the final run to the line that Wilkinson’s power came to the fore and she took victory by just more than a bike length.
It was a superb result for the 41-year-old local rider Wilkinson. Morrice, too, turned more than a few heads with a stunning ride so early in her road racing career. Sammie Stuart (CAMS-Basso) took third.
Wilkinson told The British Continental after the race: “I still can’t believe it’s really happened – it means the world to me. It’s the first time that I’ve won at this level of a race and to do it here, which is probably my home race, means everything to me.”
Alice McWilliam (BIANCHI HUNT MORVELO) continues as the National Road Series leader, demonstrating her consistency with 6th place, while Nelson is the best-placed under-23. CAMS-Basso continue their hold on the team classification with an almost unassailable 223 points.
Joe Wilson (Dolan Ellesse RT) was one of the early movers in the men’s race, and on just the second lap, a group of six broke clear with Wilson working with Zeb Kyffin (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling), George Kimber (Spirit BSS), Scott, Logan Maclean (Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli), and Jack Rootkin-Gray (Team Inspired), carving out around 30 seconds over the chasing bunch.
Just before the halfway mark, another five riders bridged across – including Team Inspired’s Harry Birchill, and WiV SunGod’s Jake Scott and Jim Brown.
As the temperatures breached the 30-degree mark, the lead 11 blew up and only a quartet of riders remained right at the sharp-end – Stockton Cycling Festival Grand Prix winner Jake Scott, his team-mate Rob Scott as well as TRINITY Racing’s Sam Culverwell and Rootkin-Gray.
On the last lap, Rob put in a long hard attack on the final ascent on the run-in back to Williamson Park. He powered clear and built up a sizeable advantage, enough that he could sit up and enjoy the applauding crowd at the finish line beneath the Ashton Memorial.
Jake pipped Culverwell in a ferocious sprint to the line to secure a one-two for the team, with Rootkin-Gray fourth.
“We knew we were in for a hard day out with the heat,” Rob Scott explained after the race. “Our team plan was to follow the moves from the start, slip into anything that went."
In the National Road Series standings, the hitherto leader Brown was forced to retire from the race, leaving Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling’s Finn Crockett to take over the Series lead after finishing seventh. He has 64 points in total, one more than Jake Scott, with Rob Scott up to third on 58. Despite his DNF, Jim Brown is still the top under-23 in fourth overall. WiV-SunGod still retains its lead at the top of the team classification on 218 points.
The next round of the National Road Series is the Manx International, which starts this Friday 22 July and finishes on Sunday 24 July.