Former national junior champion Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven) secured his first senior National Trophy cyclo-cross series victory when he won round three at Durham University on Sunday.
The 24-year-old from Dover, who was sixth and fifth in the first two rounds, moved up to second in the overall Series rankings on the back of the win, while second place was enough for Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles) to take over the lead from Ian Field who was absent.
Paton led virtually from the start and gradually pulled clear, but he could not shake off his rivals and eventually won by just 18 seconds, with top Under-23 Ben Sumner (Beeline Bicycles) third, 23 seconds behind.
In fact Sumner had been up at the front alongside Paton in the middle of the race, while Crawforth looked to be heading for third before a big effort from the Guildford-based Crawforth pulled him back into contention and left Sumner to settle for third.
“This is the first elite race I’ve ever won so I’m really chuffed,” said Paton. “It was quite a hard race. The plan was to settle in on the opening half of the race and then hit it hard in the second half. I rode hard out of the corners and tried to chill out a bit on the easier sections.”
Meanwhile, in the elite women’s race teenager Amira Mellor (Paul Milnes RT) led a clean sweep of the podium by Yorkshire-based riders – but she too had a close run thing and took victory by just two seconds.
Round one winner Annie Simpson (Hope Factory Racing) had led as they headed round the final lap, but a smart bit of skill on an off-camber corner just before the finishing straight gave Mellor enough of a gap to take the win. Meanwhile, Simpson took second place, 19 seconds ahead of Sheffield-based Adela Carter, the Hope Factory Racing rider who wore yellow as Series lead following her win in round two.
“I knew in my mind I had a win in me soon,” said Mellor. “I knew I had to stay with Annie [Simpson] until the end because she has quite a kick on her, so I decided to stay on her wheel and kick her at the end.
“I think I’m a bit better on the technical sections and I just stuck to my lines. I knew if I was going to pass her it would be on a slippy part which I did and just gave it everything till the line.”
In other categories, Nick Craig (Pioneer-Scott Synchros) won the veterans 40-49 race prior to racing in the senior race too, while fastest over-50 veteran was Steve Davies (Hargroves Cycles). Madeline Smith (Bolsover and District) was best female veteran.
Alfie Moses (Paul Milnes RT) won the juniors race, while Harry Yates (Hargroves Cycles) was first in the Under-16 boys race and Madeleine Gammons (Bourne Wheelers) in the Under-16 girls race.
More on the National Trophy
Ian Field tops podium in 2014 National Trophy Series round two; Adela Carter wins women's race
British cyclo-cross round-up (January 4-5): News and results from around the UK