The battle for the National Trophy Cyclo-Cross Series will go down to the final race next month after a series of crashes made for an eventful penultimate round at Peel Park in Bradford on Sunday.
Round Four winner Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) proved his Southampton victory was no fluke when he won at Bradford, crossing the line 16 seconds ahead of Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) while series leader Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles) was another couple of minutes back in third.
That result means Crawforth’s lead has been cut back to just one point over Oldham, and the fate of the series will be decided in the final race on January 16 at Oakham in Leicestershire.
While the ground was frozen the surface of the course cut up quickly with temperatures hovering just above freezing, and the slippery conditions caused several crashes throughout the day.
The most significant came on the opening lap of the elite race, with all riders except eventual winner Ian Field being held up. As he passed the line at the end of the first lap, Field was seen to sit up and wait for his rivals before putting the hammer down again, clearly wanting to win the race on merit rather than by the misfortune of others.
Field will now head to Belgium and is not contesting the final round, leaving Oldham and Crawforth to battle out for the overall title.
“I thought I had the series lead in the bag,” said Oldham. “But then Jody did really well on the last lap and moved up from fifth to third, so he’s just leading by one point. Now whoever finishes first out of the two of us takes the series in the final race.”
In other categories, Victoria Wilkinson (unattached) won the women’s race, beating Stourbridge CC duo Hannah Payton and Isla Rowntree into second and third respectively.
Hargroves Cycles were celebrating victory in the junior category as well as the elite race with Alistair Slater taking victory, while Coventry RC’s Darren Atkins again had the measure of Chris Young (Wheelbase) in the over-40s.
National Trophy Cyclo-Cross Series (Round Five, Peel Park, Bradford)
1 Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) 1-02-35
2 Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) at 16sec
3 Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles) at 2-12
4 Rob Jebb (Wheelbase) at 2-18
5 David Van Der Poel (Belgium) at 2-33
6 Nick Craig (Scott) at 3-24
Victoria Wilkinson (unattached)
Darren Atkins (Coventry RC)
Steve Davies (Endura)
Alistair Slater (Hargroves Cycles)
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Jody Crawforth’s overall lead is cut back to just one point
Ian Field has a close shave with the course tape