Saturday night at the HSBC UK | National Track Championships tends to be the hottest ticket in town as there are many titles up for grabs and there was no disappointment tonight.
Ella Barnwell clinched gold in the women’s scratch race to add to the omnium win she took back in October.
Amelia Sharpe and Abi Smith both pushed for glory in the middle of the race, but the pack remained tight. Smith broke free with four laps to go but was eventually caught, with Team Breeze taking gold, silver and bronze – with Barnwell coming out victorious.
“It was a pretty tough race – there was so much attacking and it was full on, so to have the legs in the last lap and a half was unreal. I just gave it everything.
“Being a first year in the under-23s is a big step up from junior level, but the legs are there and I’m doing my best every time, and hopefully this year is going to be really good,” said Barnwell.
Team Breeze continued to excel on the track, winning the women’s team pursuit. Having qualified with a time of 4:32.054, they easily defeated the University of Nottingham in the final, making the catch halfway through the final.
It was Josie Knight’s second title of the weekend, adding to her success in the individual pursuit yesterday.
Jonny Wale won the national title in the men’s kilo, edging out Huub Wattbike team-mates Dan Bigham and Kyle Gordon – adding to individual pursuit he won yesterday.
Wale said: “I’ve never really won a kilo – I’m known as a kilo rider, but I don’t ride good kilos! So it was a bit of a relief to actually get the gold. It’s pretty awesome; it’s a real honour. I love wearing the (national) stripes – it’s really recognisable in the sport, and hopefully I can do it justice for the next year.”
Favourite for the men’s point race, John Archibald failed to make it through the qualification round. The final was a tense affair as there was a three-way battle for victory going into the final sprint with Rhys Britton, Will Perrett and Will Roberts all in contention for the gold medal. Britton was edged on in the line by Roberts in the final double-points sprint but held on to win with 61 points.
The men’s sprint was fiercely competitive throughout, but it was Team Slingshot who made the final and it was a battle between two team-mates, Hamish Turnbull and Ali Fielding. The former dominated, winning the final 2-0.
The final medal of the night was awarded to Lauren Bell as she claimed her first senior national title in the women’s keirin.
“I came here mainly focusing on the team sprint, so I didn’t expect this with the really strong group of girls we’ve got at the minute. Even getting to the final was an achievement, and then to win it was quite unbelievable.
“I’ve got a good group of people around me, and to achieve what I’ve achieved is down to them as well,” said Bell.
Image credit: SWpix