Hope Factory Racing ace Paul Oldham re-took the lead in the National Trophy Series with victory in the penultimate round at Whitwell Sailing Club, on the shores of Rutland Water in Leicestershire on Sunday.
Oldham now leads the overall series by ten points with one event remaining, but in truth the title looks too close to call with several riders in with a realistic chance of victory.
Lancashire-based Oldham was near the front for much of the race, battling alongside Hargroves Cycles rival Ian Field and joint series leader Jody Crawforth (Arctic Premier RT).
After surviving a fall on the third lap Oldham recovered quickly, and on the final circuit it was his rivals? turn to suffer, with a crash giving him the chance to grab a narrow lead which he held to the line.
?It was so easy to come off, because the course was so slippy,? said 31-year-old Oldham afterwards. ?I got back up to the guys quickly after I came off. When they both went down on the final lap I hoped to make more of an advantage, but it really came down to the sprint for the line.?
Five seconds back was Field while Crawforth took third, 28 seconds off the pace.
The result couldn?t have been closer, and nor could it have set up a closer finish to the series: Oldham leads with 228 points, while Crawforth is second with 218 and Field is third with 217.
Helen Wyman proved a convincing winner of the women?s event, the Swift Racing rider crossing the line two minutes ahead of Suzanne Clarke (Science in Sport.com) in second, while her team-mate Gabby Day was third, another 38 seconds off the pace.
National Trophy, round five (Whitwell Sailing Club, Rutland).-
1 Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) 1-02-15
2 I. Field (Hargroves Cycles) at 5sec
3 J. Crawforth (Arctic Premier RT) at 28sec
4 S. Wearmouth (Picarsso Pulman) at 1-35
5 I. Bibby (Science in Sport.com) at 1-55
6 N. Craig (Scott UK) at 1-58
7 L. Craven (Wheelbase) at 2-30
8 D. Collins (Science in Sport.com) at 2-55
9 J. McEvoy (100 Per Cent ME) at 3-04
10 S. Bowers (Hargroves Cycles) at 3-56
Under-23s.- Jonny McEvoy.
1 Helen Wyman (Swift Racing) 39-48
2 S. Clarke (Science in Sport.com) at 2-00
3 G. Day (Swift Racing) at 2-38
Juniors.- David Nichols (Glendene CC). Over-50s.- Ian Wright (Wyre Forest CRC). Over-40s.- Geoff Giddings (MI Racing). Youth.- Joshua Papworth (Wyre Forest CRC).