2023 Oakenclough road races: report and results

Matt Warhurst and Cat Ferguson beat the weather - and quality fields - to win at the Oakenclough road races, Sunday 30 April

Matthew Warhurst (ROKiT-SRCT) and first-year junior Cat Ferguson (Shibden Hope Tech Apex) beat the weather – and quality fields – at the Oakenclough road races, round 2 of the Proper Northern Road Race Series.

Featured image: Ellen Isherwood


It was a tale of two solo attacks in a rain-soaked round two of Cold Dark North’s Proper Northern Road Race Series at Oakenclough on Sunday. Two quality fields graced a grippy, technical 17.4km circuit, punctuated with a finish atop the 5.8km Delph Lane climb. The racing was as fiercesome as the terrain and conditions suggested, Warhurst and Ferguson both full deserving winners.

The third and final round of the Proper Northern Road Race Series will be at Aughton on 23 July.

Men’s race

At the Capernwray road race, Round 1 of Proper Northern Road Race Series, race winner Ollie Peckover (trainSharp Elite) demonstrated that the early break can sometimes be the winning move.

Perhaps hoping to follow Peckover’s example, four riders forged clear on the second of six laps. Matt Warhurst (ROKiT-SRCT), Jacob Smith (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli), Leon Mazzone (Saint Piran) and George Peden (Team PB Performance) were clear as the crossed the finish line for the second time, with Ed Morgan (Wales Racing Academy) sandwiched between the lead group and the bunch in a lone chase.

Crockett leads the chaser with two to go. Image: Ellen Isherwood

The four maintained a lead of around half a minute for the next lap or so, while behind, a small chase group had formed in pursuit. At the line with two laps to go, only Warhurst and Mazzone remained out front, holding a slender lead of ten seconds. Just behind them, the chase group had merged with the remainder of the former lead group, swelling the group to around a dozen riders, led over the line by Finn Crockett (The Cycling Academy).

Undeterred by the increasing rain and wind, or the close attendance of the of enlarged chase group, Warhurst pushed on over the next lap, dropping Mazzone and stretching out his lead to amost a minute as he took the bell, a dozen riders still in pursuit.

Matt Warhurst wins. Image: Ellen Isherwood

Warhurst maintained his lead to take a superb solo win. Morgan punched clear of the chase group to take second place, while Tim Shoreman (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli) led home the rest of the chasers.

Women’s race

The wet and windy weather continued in the afternoon as the women’s field set out for four and a half laps of the same tough course.

The race stayed together for the first lap, but on the second lap Natalie Stevenson (Glasgow Ivy) began a brave solo escape. She had a 15-second lead on the second lap. By the third, she had tripled her advantage, enjoying 45 seconds over a splintering chasing peloton.

With the rain now falling once again, Stevenson drove onward. As she took the bell, her lead had grown once more. This time she had a minute and 20 seconds over a chasing bunch of around 25 riders.

Stevenson (in pink) tries in vain to hold off the marauding chase group. Image: Ellen Isherwood

Distinct in her striking pink club jersey, she was still leading as she hit the foot of the final climb up to the finish, but as the riders came into sight for the spectators braving the rain on the finish line, it was heartbreak for Stevenson, as she was swamped by the marauding chasers.

It was first-year junior Cat Ferguson who triumphed in the uphill sprint, her second win in succession at the Proper Northern Road Race Series, continuing a remarkable run of form for the 17-year-old. Ferguson’s teammate Imogen Wolff capped a brilliant day for Shibden Hope Tech Apex by taking second, with local rider Mary Wilkinson (Team Boompods) completing the podium.

Cat Ferguson wins. Image: Ellen Isherwood

And Stevenson? She rolled in 16th, exhausted after a heroic 50 kilometres out front. It turned out too that he had earlier shipped her chain on lap one, resulting in a chase back to the peloton even before she had launched her brave move. Her Instagram moniker is the extremely apt queen_of_cycling, and if she continues this type of performance, it might not be long before she begins to be regarded as cycling royalty around the hills of Lancashire.


Men’s race

134 Matthew WarhurstSeniorROKiT-SRCT
258 Edward MorganU23Wales Racing Academy
35 Tim ShoremanSeniorWheelbase CabTech Castelli
435 Jenson YoungU23ROKiT-SRCT
556 Huw Buck JonesU23Wales Racing Academy
639 Finn CrockettSeniorSpokes Racing Team
759 Dexter Leeming-SykesU23Wold Top The Edge Pactimo
81 Jacob SmithU23Wheelbase CabTech Castelli
97 Jacob GilkesU23BCC Race Team
1038 Leon MazzoneSeniorSaint Piran
1117 Joe WilsonU23Embark Spirit BSS
123 Tom MartinSeniorWheelbase CabTech Castelli
1347 George PedenSeniorTeam PB Performance
140 Matthew EllisSeniorROKiT-SRCT
1526 Daniel McDermottSeniorMoonglu Race Team
160 Ben MewesSeniorMoonglu Race Team
1715 Damien ClaytonSeniorEmbark Spirit BSS
1845 Andrew NicholsSeniorTeam Lifting Gear Products
1927 Nicholas TyrieSeniorPrimera-TeamJobs
2021 Alexander FosterJuniorInnovation Racing
216 Ben EtheringtonU23BCC Race Team
2248 Jude TaylorSeniorTeam PB Performance
2332 Alexander MacRaeSeniorRibble rechrg Race Team
2416 William PerrettSeniorEmbark Spirit BSS
2528 James O’ConnellSeniorPrivate Member
2618 Christopher BoothSeniorGiant Kendal-Sidas Uk
2714 Michael ChadwickSeniorEmbark Spirit BSS
2850 Archie EllenU23The Cycling Academy
2943 Samuel JacksonSeniorTactic Sport UK Race Team
309 Jude DavisonJuniorCog Set Papyrus Racing Club
3112 James WordsworthU23Cycling Sheffield
3255 Alessandro PiazzonSeniorVeloce Club Torrebelvicino
338 Jonathan OxleySeniorBCC Race Team
DNF10 James HawkinsU23Cycling Sheffield
DNF19 Joe BoothroydSeniorGiant Kendal-Sidas Uk
DNF25 Ben GrangerSeniorMg.K VIS Colors for Peace VPM
DNF13 Dylan HicksU23Development Team DSM
DNS11 James McKaySeniorCycling Sheffield
DNS23 Ben WigginsJuniorMAS Design – Fensham Howes

Full results, including all DNF and DNS information, will be updated here when available.

Women’s race

11 Cat FergusonJuniorShibden Hope Tech Apex
25 Imogen WolffJuniorShibden Hope Tech Apex
345 Mary WilkinsonSeniorTeam Boompods
49 Amelia TylerSeniorAlba Development Road Team
533 Zoe LanghamSeniorPro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffee
621 Tamsin MillerSeniorHutchinson-Brother UK
76 Esther WongJuniorShibden Hope Tech Apex
820 Jessie CarridgeSeniorHutchinson-Brother UK
932 Bexy DewSeniorPro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffee
1048 Adele BattersbySeniorWahoo – Le Col
1150 Lauren LanghamSeniorWahoo – Le Col
1216 Maddie HeywoodSeniorFTP-Fulfil The Potential-Racing
1340 Jayati HineSeniorTeam Boompods
140 Nicole CoatesSeniorSaint Piran WRT
1522 Beth Harley-JepsonSeniorJadan Vive le Velo p/b Glasdon
1619 Natalie StevensonSeniorGlasgow Ivy CC
1742 Gemma MitchellSeniorTeam Boompods
182 Lucy GloverJuniorShibden Hope Tech Apex
1941 Katarzyna MadejSeniorTeam Boompods
2043 Lauren RobinsonSeniorTeam Boompods
213 Isabel MayesJuniorShibden Hope Tech Apex
2224 Abi PlowmanSeniorJadan Vive le Velo p/b Glasdon
2312 Melissa DenmanSeniorContiki Velo Bavarian RT
2439 Hannah FarranSeniorTeam Boompods
2527 Miriam BullockSeniorLDN-Academy
2623 Grace NormanSeniorJadan Vive le Velo p/b Glasdon
2744 Lauren WatsonSeniorTeam Boompods
2811 Amber Junker-BrameldU23Brother UK-Orientation Marketing
2934 Katie HadnumU23RFDA

Full results, including all DNF and DNS information, will be updated here when available.