Ian Field and Evie Richards win in Bradford National Trophy Cyclo-Cross

Report from the penultimate round of the 2014-15 British National Trophy cyclo-cross series in Bradford

Ian Field and Evie Richards won the elite men’s and elite women’s races in the penultimate round of the National Trophy Series at Peel Park in Bradford, West Yorkshire on Saturday.

This was Field’s third win of the campaign and the Hargroves Cycles rider looked strong as he made light work of the increasingly difficult conditions on his way to victory.

An early break saw Jack Clarkson of Hope Factory Racing take an early lead and along with Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven Colbornes) and Steve James (Hargroves Cycles), did much of the early pushing at the front of the bunch.

But it took just two laps for Field to stamp his authority on the race and had already started to pull away, leaving an exciting battle for second place which was ultimately won by Grant Ferguson of Betch.nl, making his first National Trophy appearance of the season.

Ferguson looked strong but could do nothing as Field relished the challenge of the pouring rain to spin out a lead which stood at just over a minute by the end of the race.

“The rain was really coming down towards the end of the race,” said Field afterwards. “I prefer it to be more technical and muddy because it allows me to use those cross-specific skills that I train at week in and week out.”

The result sees the three-time National Champion take the leader’s jersey from Alex Paton and puts him in a commanding position going into the showdown in Derby on January 4.

Ben Sumner of Beeline Bicycles secured third place and despite being at the sharp end of the contest for much of the race, Jack Clarkson made an error which saw him drop out of the top five.

Going into a corner, Clarkson elected to take the bend on foot but when he went to get back on his bike, it was in the wrong gear and it cost him dearly. Despite the mistake, he still holds on to the under-23 leader’s jersey going into the final round.

The women’s race saw mountain biker Evie Richards make an explosive National Trophy debut, taking victory at the first time of asking.

Yorkshire’s Amira Mellor, riding for Bradford-based club Paul Milnes Cycles, missed out on victory in her home county after a thrilling battle with Richards.

The two riders, both aged 17, traded the lead throughout and also had consistent rider Merce Pacios Pujado to contend with.

Mellor dropped down to third at one point but managed to battle back to take a 20-second lead in the closing stages of the race.

But Richards caught up with her and as they made the final climb together, a sprint finish looked to be on the cards. But Richards stunned Mellor with a powerful finish that saw her cross the line with seven seconds to spare. Pujado finished third.

Richards said: “It was great to win in my first National Trophy event and I really enjoyed it, there was a great atmosphere. Amira and I had a real race-long battle and I had couple of things go wrong with my bike so I really had to fight to get back.”