As the road season reaches its conclusion for another year, many riders are swapping asphalt for mud, grass and sand as the cyclocross season gets into full swing with the first round of the National Trophy Series in South Shields on 7-8 October. To help you understand the ins and outs of the Series, we’ve pulled together an explainer. What is it? Why does it matter? And how does it work?
Featured image: Monument Cycling/British Cycling
What is the Cyclocross National Trophy Series?
The British cyclocross series stands as the premier event in the country, encompassing diverse categories for both men and women across various age groups, ranging from under-14s to veteran 60+. The races are often dominated domestic cyclocross teams such as the UCI squads Hope Factory Racing and Team Spectra Cannondale p/b DAS, as well as elite teams like Ribble-Verge Sport. Additionally, occasional participation from British riders representing international UCI teams, like Anna Kay from the Cyclocross Reds team, adds to the excitement and competition of these races.
While it’s got National in the title, this year’s series sticks solidly to England – although the National Championships will be in Falkirk in January – but compared to the National Road Series, the cyclocross calendar does at least explore each corner of England.
While the venues occasionally change, the Series always tends to hit key areas – North East, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Devon and Kent – so riders from across Britain often take part in the events – which are a bit more spread out than the road racing equivalent – when they’re not off in Belgium.
Why is the Trophy Series important?
The series serves as the only elite-level cyclo-cross competition in the country and provides a significant opportunity for top domestic riders to compete against each other on home soil. It also offers young riders the chance to develop their skills and progress through the ranks.
What is the 2023-24 calendar?
Considering the amount of travelling the best British riders do to cyclocross hotspots on the continent, and the amount of regional leagues available, a six round calendar for 2023-24 adds good opportunities for riders to get races in the legs without causing too many clashes with UCI World Cups and other important international races.
All categories and age groups race at each round, with junior, senior, men’s veteran 50-59, and men’s veteran 60+ races on the Saturday, and under-14s, under-16s and men’s veterans 40-49, and all women’s veterans age category races on the Sunday.
|7-8 October||1||Gypsies Green, Tyne & Wear|
|14-15 October||2||Thornton Hall Country Park, Skipton|
|28-29 October||3||Moorsway Leisure Centre, Derbyshire|
|11-12 November||4||Torbay Velopark, Devon|
|9-10 December||5||Cyclopark, Kent|
|6-7 January 2024||6||Parkwood Outdoor Centre, Tong|
|13-14 January 2024||Nat Champs||Callendar Park, Falkirk|
Recent history has seen the National Trophy Series won by increasingly younger riders. Since 2016-17, Ian Field has pretty much dominated the men’s elite competition. Winning three titles back-to-back, his run was finally broken in 2019-20 by Dutchman Gosse van der Meer.
After a year off due to COVID, the two most recent yellow jersey winners have been 20-year-old Corran Carrick-Anderson and 22-year-old Toby Barnes – the latter beating Jenson Young to the title.
It’s the same in the women’s competition too, which started in 2018, with the latest champions Alderney Baker (20) and Amira Mellor (25) continuing to lower the average age of the winners.
Last season saw Baker (Team Empella) only just secure the title – pipping Millie Couzens (Crelan-Fristads) by five points after a frenetic series in 2022-23.
Cameron Mason and Zoe Bäckstedt are the respective reigning national cyclocross champions after claiming their titles in Westmorland at the beginning of this year.
The scoring system takes some getting used to, with a lot more points available for a win compared to the National Road Series. Points ultimately go down to 100th place, decreasing accordingly as the positions get lower.
In all categories, Series points are awarded as follows:
Then, from 12th to 21st the points available decrease by 3 points, 22nd to 31st they decrease by by 2 points, and from 32nd to 95th they go down by 1 point, and 96th to 100th will receive 1 point.
Riders will drop their lowest point scoring round, with the best scoring rounds counting towards the overall points result. In the event of a tie on points, the higher position is awarded to the rider with the highest finishing position in the final round.
If neither rider contests the final round, then the tiebreak is applied to the penultimate round, then the round before that, and so on.