It might be that you haven’t yet seen the National Championship races this weekend – but with the races having been broadcast on the BBC Sport and Red Button channels, you might be in the minority. It’s great to see UK cyclocross getting a bit of almost-mainstream coverage. It was clear in this radio interview before the event that Helen Wyman was looking forward to it:
British Cyclocross is in a strong place right now, with some top riders in all age groups. Helen Wyman took the Women’s Elite title, just weeks after having secured the sponsors she needed to keep her riding and not retiring. In doing so she wins her tenth National title – what an achievement. Wyman was trailed by Nikki Brammeier and Beth Crumpton, who almost looked beaten to third place by Hannah Payton until Payton’s effort to gap Crumpton caught up with her.
In the U23 women’s race, Evie Richards easily took the win in a race that saw Junior rider and Tracy Moseley protégé Harriet Harnden came in second place and and clinched the Junior Champion’s jersey with it. Evie also started out under Tracy’s guidance – there looks to be a strong future for Tracy in scouting and coaching ahead! While the Elite race did take in an extra lap, Richards was matching or beating Wyman’s lap times for the five laps of her race – would she have won the Elite if she’d been in it?
Similarly, Tom Pidcock won the eight-lap U23 Race with lap times that were often faster than the Elite’s men’s winner Grant Ferguson (though Ferguson had to sustain his pace for ten laps). Last year’s Junior Champion’s performance suggests that Pidcock will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, beating more senior riders to the title.
The closest race of the weekend was the Junior Men, with Sean Flynn just beating Ben Tulett to the line. With Jenson Young, Callum Macleod and Cameron Mason all hot on their heels, it looks as though there is a strong and closely matched pool of Juniors in this age category now that Pidcock has moved on. The Youth category also looks strong, with plenty of riders in both the Girls’ and Boys’ races, won by Zoe Backstedt and Joshua Tarling respectively.
Maddi Smith was the runaway winner of the Vet Women’s race, while Pete Middleton took the V50 title from teammate Timothy Gould. Paul Oldham dominated the Vet Men’s race, with Nick Craig coming in second – both would go on to compete in the Men’s Elite the following day. Hardcore.
— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) January 14, 2018
Paul Oldham managed a respectable 5th place the following day, but it was Grant Ferguson that took the Elite Men’s title, making a move on Ian Field and putting himself on the National podium for the first time. This will surely be a boost to Ferguson, who is riding for CST American Eagle and hoping to qualify for Tokyo in the XCO Mountain Bike discipline, despite having had his British Cycling funding pulled last year. Whatever his training plan is, it looks to be working!
Full results of Day 1 (Vets, and Youth) available here.
Full results of Day 2 (Elite, Junior, U23) available here.