Richards and Blackmore enjoyed kind weather and a varied course, taking comfortable wins as racing returned to Margam Park, South Wales for the first time since 2014, for round two of the 2023 National Cross-country Series.
Joe Blackmore (Team Inspired) took his first win of the series in the men’s race, after attacking on a climb on the final lap, staying away for the win. Early in the race, the trio of Blackmore, Cameron Mason (Trinity) and Cameron Orr (Wilier-Pirelli) escaped from the pack with Cam Orr dropping slightly off the pace after a few laps. Cam Mason remained second with Cam Orr third, and Rory McGuire (Leslie Bike Shop) nipped ahead of Grant Ferguson (Hope) to complete the podium.
Evie Richards (Trek) dominated the women’s race, escaping from the pack very early on, staying ahead for a convincing win. Ella Maclean-Howell (Team Inspired) took a comfortable second while Elena McGorum (Peebles) held on for third just ahead of Holly MacMahon (Southborough and District Wheelers). Jo Thom (Torq) completed the podium.
Expert and sport categories
In the men’s expert category, Joe Barker (Shibden) took his second win of the series, ahead of Joe Curran (Muckle), with Kieran Jarvis (Brother UK Orientation) taking third after an accident took out early leader Tom Couzens.
In the women’s combined expert and sport category, Naomi Metcalfe (Army Cycling Union), Melissa Baker (Team Empella) and Bronwen Jenkinson (Clwb Beicio Egni Eryri) rode a close race, with the lead constantly swapping lap-by-lap before the podium was decided. Overall, Metcalfe took the win, with Baker following in second and Jenkinson claiming third place.
In the men’s sport category Sam Andrews (Clash Racing) rode away from the field for a commanding win with Giorgio Coppola (Four4th) recovering from an early crash to take second. Michael Wright (Gateway Racing) won the sprint for third.
Max Greensill (Hope) maintained his winning streak in the junior men’s race with Reuben Oakley (Rotor) taking second. Alfie Amey (GKR Racing) took third place with Nat Henderson (Hetton Hawks) grabbing fourth ahead of Oliver Murphy (Rotor).
Daisy Taylor (Royal Albert) was a clear winner in the junior women’s race, while Daisy Freer (Stockton Wheelers) escaped from Kacey Eyeington (Derwentside) on the last lap to take second. Lucy Allsop (Rotor) improved on her last round result to take fourth with Hannah McClorey coming in fifth.
Youth and juvenile
Gus Lawson (Pentland) led from start to finish in the juvenile boys category, just as he did at the previous round in Tong, while Daniel Davies (Maindy Flyers) pipped Luke Trafford (Shibden) to second place. In the girls’ juvenile race it was a repeat of round one with Olivia Poole (Deeside Thistle) taking the win well ahead of Orla White (Dartmoor Velo) and Katie Allsop (Rotor) in second and third, respectively.
In the youth boys’ race, the result came down to a thrilling sprint finish taken by Leon Atkins (Welwyn Wheelers) ahead of Max Standen (Southfork Racing), with Innes McDonald (Scotia Off Road Team) taking a commendable third place. In the girls’ category, Evie Strachan (RR23 – runandride.co.uk) took another great win with Maddie Moorhouse-Smith (Hope) in second and Aelwen Davies (Velo Myrddin) holding onto third.
Paul Oldham (Hope) maintained his winning ways with another clear victory in the men’s veteran race. Sam Humphrey took another second place while it was Simon Burgess (Bristol RC) who took the third place this round. Ceris Styler took a very similar win in the women’s veteran race, with Melanie Alexander (Cardiff JIF) in second in her return to racing after a lengthy break, and Karen Heppenstall (Race Off Road) in third.
Nick Craig (Scott) won again in the men’s grand veterans category but this time it was Mark Chamberlain (Hunt Wheels) ahead of Dougie Cameron; this is going to be a great battle to watch all season.
Cheri Mills (Oneplanet Adventure) won the grand veterans race again with Miriam Whitehurst (Reflex Racing) in second ahead of Helen Pattison (Montezuma’s).
In the men’s super veterans, it was Grant Johnson again who thrived on the hills ahead of Kevin Holloway (Racing Club Ravenna) and Andy Weaving (Cotswold Cycles RT). The one and only Carolyn Spiers (Kendal) took the win in the women's category.
In a very competitive youth and juvenile boys’ short track race it was Leon Atkins (Welwyn Wheelers) who took the win ahead of Max Standen (Southfork) and Alex Hart (Mid Shropshire Wheelers). This trio is looking like it’s going to be really competitive as we head through the series. Madeleine Moorhouse-Smith (Hope) won the girls’ category ahead of Tulsi Bakrania (WXC) and Grace Ward (365 Shutt Ridley).
Paul Oldham (Hope) won the vet men’s race ahead of Richard Freshwater (Hunt) and Ian Taylor (Shibden), while Karen Heppenstall (Race Off Road) beat Rowena Duffield (Cwmcarn Paragon) in the women’s race.
In the senior and junior category Max Greensill (Hope) took his second win of the series just ahead of Grant Ferguson (Hope) with Simon Wyllie (Team Spectra Cannondale) in third. Elena McGorum (Peebles) just nipped ahead of sister Anna (Peebles) for the win with Bethany-Ann Jackson (WXC) in third. This first full season of XCC is proving a great watch for spectators with thrilling racing.
Round three will take place in Hollywell, Fareham on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 May 2023.