2023 Otley Town Centre Races Report

The 2023 Otley Town Centre Races were the first round in the British Cycling National Circuit Series.

The 39th edition of the Otley Town Centre Races saw fast and furious racing in the men’s and women’s races. They claim to be one of the most prestigious criteriums on the BC calendar and with previous winners including Tom Pidcock, Lizzy Deignan, Mark Cavendish, Adam Blythe and Jonny Clay, they could be right!

Women’s Race

The women’s race saw an initial break move clear with Monica Greenwood (DAS-Handsling), Bexy Dew (Pro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffee), Lucy Glover (Shibden Hope Tech Apex) and Flora Perkins (Fenix-Deceuninck Development Team). The bunch had to chase hard to bring the break back and when they did a counter-attack from the same four teams went clear!

Photo courtesy of bob.macgregor.31

This was to be the race-winning move of Sophie Lewis (DAS-Handsling), Cat Ferguson (Shibden Hope Tech Apex), Millie Couzens (Fenix‐Deceuninck), Robyn Clay (Pro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffee). The quartet managed to pull out a lead of 46 seconds all the way to the finale. Couzens put in a couple of attacks leading to the final corner, but to no avail. Lewis took the final corner wide and hit the front. She said she knew “you had to go full-pelt into that last corner” and then “it was just all out to the line!”

The winning break in the Otley Town Centre Races heads for the line
The winning break in the Otley Town Centre Races heads for the line. Photo courtesy of bob.macgregor.31

After the race Sophie said the win was “really special” after the disappointment of the previous weekends Nation Circuit Championship race. She also said the it fuelled her determination and gave her a” little extra edge into the last corner.

Sophie Lewis (DAS-Handsling) takes the win. Photo courtesy of adam@through-the-lens.co.uk 

DAS-Handsling DS Simon Howes said that after coming close in the two previous National Road Series events, the plan was to win the Otley Town Centre Races. With their squad reduced after a tough National Championships weekend the team knew that Otley Town Centre Races would be a tough race. Despite this the team raced aggressively, racing from the front. With Monica Greenwood in the initial break and then Sophie getting in the winning break, the tactic worked. Simon said that “Sophie has pedigree in sprint finishes so we all had full confidence in her being successful”.

The team had four riders in the top 15 and Howes said that it was “great to see Monica and Emma also finish in the top 10 with Lucy not far behind in 15th”. He also congratulated Sammie Stuart who “although not 100% led the team out on the final lap”

Podium Photo courtesy of bob.macgregor.31

Otley Town Centre Races Women’s Results

1Sophie LewisDAS – Handsling Bikes45:22
2Cat FergusonShibden Hope Tech Apexst
3Robyn ClayPro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffeest
4Millie CouzensFenix-Deceuninck Development Teamst
5Lucy GloverShibden Hope Tech Apex+21
6Imogen WolffShibden Hope Tech Apexst
7Jayati HineTeam Boompodsst
8Emma JeffersDAS – Handsling Bikesst
9Corinne SidePro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffeest
10Monica GreenwoodDAS – Handsling Bikesst
11Francesca Morgans-SladerAWOL OSheast
12Isabel DarvillTeam Spectra Cannondalest
13Jo TindleyPro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffeest
14Flora PerkinsFenix-Deceuninck Development Teamst
15Lucy LeeDAS – Handsling Bikesst
16Harriet GrahamBrother UK – Orientation Marketingst
17Bexy DewPro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffeest
18Tiffany KeepHutchinson – Brother UKst
19Alice CollingShibden Hope Tech Apexst
20Emily ProudLe Col Race Teamst
21Libby SmithsonAWOL OSheast
22Amy GornallPro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffeest
23Lucy NelsonTeam Spectra Cannondalest
24Matilda McKibbenLiv Cycling Club – Halo Filmsst
25Ellen McDermottTeam Boompods+25
26Lauren RobinsonTeam Boompodsst
27Samantha FawcettHutchinson – Brother UKst
28Amira MellorRibble Collectivest
29Esther WongShibden Hope Tech Apexst
30Sammie StuartDAS – Handsling Bikesst
31Xan CreesTeam Spectra Cannondalest
32Beth Harley-JepsonJadan Vive le Velo Glasdonst
33Sannah ZamanHutchinson – Brother UKst
34Lydia WattsHutchinson – Brother UKst
35Sophie EneverAlba Development Road Teamst
36Caitlin DimblebyLe Col Race Teamst
37Megan BarkerTeam Inspiredst
38Sian BotteleyHutchinson – Brother UKst
39Amelia TylerAlba Development Road Teamst
40Erin AvillStorey Racingst
41Madelaine LeechLifeplus Wahoost
42Gemma MitchellTeam Boompodsst
43Sian MarshTeam Boompodsst
44Hannah BayesSaint Piran WRTst
45Lucy EllmorePro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffeest
46Francesca HallLoughborough Lightningst
47Lauren LanghamWahoo – Le Colst
48Georgia BullardAWOL OShea+30
49Isabel MayesShibden Hope Tech Apexst
50Maddie HeywoodFTP – Fulfil The Potential – Racingst
51Josie KnightTeam Spectra Cannondalest
52Emily MeakinAWOL OSheast
53Daisy BarnesAlba Development Road Teamst
54Elizabeth SandersFTP – Fulfil The Potential – Racingst
55Anya TamplinLoughborough Lightning+38
56Molly PatchHutchinson – Brother UK+1:01
57Millie SkinnerPro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffee+1:16
58Lucy NeathamLDN-Academyst
59Isabella JohnsonLAKA Pedal Mafia RT+3:34
60Freya WhitesideShibden Hope Tech Apexst
61Miriam JessettJadan Vive le Velo Glasdon+1 Lap
62Beth MaciverAlba Development Road Team+1 Lap
63Mari PortonTofauti Everyone Active+1 Lap
64Emily MiddlebrookeOtley CC+1 Lap
65Amelia CebakTofauti Everyone Active+1 Lap
66Annamarie LippSaint Piran WRT+1 Lap
67Hope InglisBrother UK – Orientation Marketing+1 Lap
68Arianne HollandAlba Development Road Team+5 Laps
Post race interviews for Sophie Lewis of Das-Handsling

Gallery photos courtesy of bob.macgregor.31

Men’s Race

The Property Development Men’s Otley Grand Prix was an aggressive, fast race that saw many attempted breaks early on. Ben Chilton (Ribble Collective), Sam Culverwell (Dolan Ellesse), David Hird (ROKiT-SRCT) and William Smith (TRINITY Racing) managed a lap away. Once they were caught Harry Birchill (Saint Piran) had a brief stint on his own. Then Dexter Leeming-Sykes (Wold Top The Edge Pactimo) and George Kimber (Embark Spirit BSS) went next, but again it was a short-lived attempt.

Finally Bob Donaldson (TRINITY Racing) managed to get away and held a 15 second gap with seven laps to go. While the bunch tried to chase his team-mates set about blocking any attempts. Donaldson then got some help in the form of team-mate Will Smith and Zak Machin, a junior riding for the BCC Race Team. This trio then held on as the gap to the bunch dwindled.

On the bell-lap Donaldson attacked on the back straight and while his break-away companions were swallowed up by the charging bunch, he held on to take the win by two seconds! Talking after the race Donaldson said it was a hard race and the he was “out there for a while, suffering a bit”, which has to be an understatement! Then coming into the last lap a friend shouted that he needed to go as the bunch was coming. So coming onto the last drag he went “as hard as I could, it was only a lap to go”. He thanked Will Smith for his help and said he felt bad about dropping him in the end: I’m sure he was ok with that!

Otley Town Centre Races Men’s Results

1Robert DonaldsonTrinity Racing1:01:26
2Matthew FoxWheelbase CabTech Castelli+3
3Jim BrownCross Team Legendrest
4Ben ChiltonRibble Collectivest
5Tim ShoremanWheelbase CabTech Castellist
6Harry BirchillSaint Piranst
7Dexter Leeming-SykesWold Top The Edge Pactimost
8Leon MazzoneSaint Piranst
9Oliver Woodst
10Ollie PeckovertrainSharp Elitest
11William TrueloveROKiT – SRCTst
12Tom MazzoneSaint Piranst
13Joe PidcockTrinity Racingst
14Callum LabordeWheelbase CabTech Castellist
15Cai DaviesKalas Motip Race Teamst
16Huw Buck JonesWales Racing Academyst
17David HirdROKiT – SRCTst
18James HartleyCycling Sheffieldst
19Finn CrockettSaint Piranst
20Bradley SymondsSaint Piranst
21Sam CulverwellDolan Ellesse Race Teamst
22Daniel BarnesTeam Spectra Cannondalest
23Josh HousleyDerby CC Webuycycle Huub RTst
24Tom CouzensRibble Collectivest
25Thomas ArmstrongWheelbase CabTech Castellist
26Josh PriceROKiT – SRCTst
28Sebastian GrindleyMAS Design – Fensham Howesst
29Tom WilliamsROKiT – SRCTst
30Rowan BakerLondon Dynamost
31Harry PaveleyTeam PB Performancest
32Will PerrettEmbark Spirit BSSst
33Tom PalfreyTeam PB Performancest
34Joe HoltTEKKERZ CCst
35Daniel McDermottMoonglu Race Teamst
36Hugo Lutz AtkinsonRibble rechrg Race Teamst
37Joseph BeckinsaleROKiT – SRCTst
38George KimberEmbark Spirit BSSst
39Jacob SmithWheelbase CabTech Castellist
40Ben BrightWales Racing Academyst
41Griff LewisWales Racing Academyst
42Rhys BrittonSaint Piranst
43Joe CoukhamCycling Sheffieldst
44Liam FlanneryTeam PB Performancest
45Lee RosieWheelbase CabTech Castellist
46Alex BeldonMAS Design – Fensham Howesst
47Ben MewesMoonglu Race Teamst
48William HardingWales Racing Academy+13
49Zak MachinBCC Race Team+15
50Oliver PeaceTofauti Everyone Activest
51William SmithTrinity Racingst
52Lucas JowettSaint Piranst
53Robert ScottCross Team Legendrest
54Aaron KingWheelbase CabTech Castelli+22
55Matthew KingstonZappi Racing Teamst
56Cameron McLarenKalas Motip Race Team+37
57Damien ClaytonEmbark Spirit BSS+57
58Ed MorganWales Racing Academy+1:08
59Ben PeaseMoonglu Race Team+1:12
60Alec BriggsTEKKERZ CC+1:13
61James WordsworthCycling Sheffield+2:19
62Sam KettlewellEmbark Spirit BSSst
63Olivier ManghamTEKKERZ CCst
64William TidballSaint Piran+1 Lap
65Max RushbyMateriel-Velo.Com+1 Lap
66James BevantrainSharp Elite+1 Lap
67Harry MacfarlaneTAAP Endura+4 Laps
68Scott ReddingROKiT – SRCT+4 Laps
69Josh KnowlesTAAP Endura+4 Laps
70Archie FletcherInnovation Racing+4 Laps
71Vaughn PretoriusKalas Motip Race Team+4 Laps
72Isaac Lawrence503+4 Laps
73Harvey StrohTAAP Endura+4 Laps
74Joshua HorsfieldRibble rechrg Race Team+5 Laps
75Felix WhetterMid Devon CC+5 Laps
76Archie Wright503+5 Laps
77Carrick HewingRibble rechrg Race Team+5 Laps
78Conal DavidsonSpokes Racing Team+6 Laps
79Joe ThorpRibble rechrg Race Team+6 Laps
80Fergus RobinsonRibble rechrg Race Team+7 Laps

Next race in the National Circuit Series are the Illkley Cycle Races in west Yorkshire on the 30th June.

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