Gascoyne vows to improve on silver medal won in final race of season
IT WASN'T to be for Will Gascoyne, as he had to settle for a National Trophy silver medal when the cyclo-cross season-long series concluded at a muddy Moorways in Derby.
The Matlock CC rider, leader of the youth series for the first four of six rounds, could only come third in the final round.
A third successive win in the series saw Tom Franklin, from East Grinstead, take the title, after he finished 50 seconds ahead of Gascoyne.
But Gascoyne can be well pleased with his first season of racing in the under-16 age group – and he has a chance for revenge over Franklin today, the first day of the one-off cyclo-cross National Championships, at Bradford's Peel Park.
Franklin just got better as the Trophy series unfolded and Gascoyne needed to beat him by more than two places to lift the title at Derby.
"I had kept my hopes up going into the final race in the series because it was still possible for me to win but, when we set off, I could feel I wasn't strong enough to keep the pace," Gascoyne conceded.
"After a crash on the first lap, I completely lost touch with Tom.
"I managed to gain a bit back on the second lap but it wasn't good enough and I finished in third.
"I'm not going to let it get me down, though, because I intend on putting in a good performance and proving myself at the national championships."
Spectators who turned out at Moorways for the Trophy series finale saw Derbyshire's Olympic mountain biker, Annie Last, make a rare domestic cyclo-cross appearance.
Winning the women's race by 18 seconds and showing off her new Trek team kit, Last spoiled the whitewash which would otherwise have gone the way of veteran Louise Robinson.
Robinson, with five wins and a second place, still took the overall series by a distance.
"This was my first National Trophy and it's been really good," said Last, from Great Longstone, near Bakewell.
"I've been doing some races in Belgium but it's really nice to come back and race against the British girls in a British race.
"There's some really good girls. The field's got bigger, so it's great and it's really good to come out and race.
"I'm riding for Trek this season and I'm looking forward to this year with my new team."
After working flat out to qualify for the Olympics with mountain bike races all over the world and full-time training in Manchester, Last is currently combining racing with her medical studies at university.
" I had a full-on two years and then, in September, I had a good break off my bike," she said.
"I love cross but I'm a mountain biker really, so you can't always fit everything in.
"This year, I've managed to have a good break and then have a really compact cross block.
"Hopefully, I'll get faster and faster."
Apart from Gascoyne's medal in the under-16s, Derbyshire riders took two bronze medals.
Matlock CC's Sarah Lomas finished third in the under-16 girls' series, while Isabelle Boon of Belper BC, who came third in four of the six rounds, finished third overall in the under-14 girls' series.