Talkingshop: Winning National Trophy is doable says Oldham


Despite a ‘pretty horrible’ race in Shrewsbury, a win in the National Trophy Series in Derby is doable says Paul Oldham

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Wearing the Yellow jersey of National Trophy Series leader, Paul Oldham says he had a horrible race at the Shrewsbury round due to illness and he now trails Oli Beckinsgale by only two points. Last year Oldham won the series by ten points from Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles) and the year before that, Crawforth beat Oldham by only five points in the final round in yet another two horse race for the National Trophy title.

With only two points in it, perhap’s we’re heading for a tie like in 2008 when both Oldham and Crawforth finished the series on 268 points with Crawforth getting the series on countback. I don’t think there is another national series as constantly exciting as this one to win!


You’d get dizzy trying to keep up with who has the yellow jersey in the National Trophy! After Shrewsbury it’s held by Oli Beckingsale (left) but his lead is just two points from Paul Oldham (right)

You have to go back to the 2009-10 series to find a more comfortable victory when Paul Oldham won the series from Crawforth by 49 points.

So far the battle between the two has been epic!

Round 1: Paul Oldham 2nd | Oli Beckingsale 4th
Round 2: Oli Beckingsale 3rd | Paul Oldham 6th
Round 3: Paul Oldham 2nd | Oli Beckingsale 4th
Round 4: Oli Beckingsale 3rd | Paul Oldham 4th
Round 5: Oli Beckingsale 2nd | Paul Oldham 3rd

The lowest placed ride by Oldham was 6th in Ipswich while Beckingsale’s worst result is 4th. Paul went into the Shrewsbury round with a slender lead of two points over Beckingsale but it wasn’t a great race for Oldham and he came out of the race trailing Beckingsale by two points.

“I have had a chest infection all week” he explained after the race in between bouts of coughing. “I got a stitch after the start and never got rid of it really. Luckily it was slow and sloggy so I did get my backside into gear at one point and kicked on from Nick (Craig). Beckingsale was good today and rode away from me while Hofman that won, he were pretty awesome.”

Speaking about the course at the Shrewsbury Sports Centre, Paul says “it was a bit like mountain biking in the woods but with it being so wet, the tyres ended up slick and we were swapping bikes every half lap. The pit crew did well today and earn’t their money!”


Shrewsbury: Paul Oldham escapes the clutches of the chase group to chase after Beckingsale.

In the National Trophy series which Oli Beckinsgale leads now by just two points, Paul explained “it’s anyone’s isn’t it? We’ll have to see and have a good Christmas!” Paul added having won his British title at Derby that it’s a good omen for the Trophy!

Talking about how close the series is between him and Oli Beckingsale, Paul says it’s another example of how close the series can be and he recalled the tight battles that he’s had with Hargroves Cycles rider Jody Crawforth over the last few years and now it’s Beckingsale that is standing between him and another series win.

“The first year I won it, it was at the last round at Derby so it’s certainly doable!” There was a word of caution though as Paul is expecting there to be quite a few Belgians riding in Derby on January 6th and he says that may have an influence on the race.

Who ever, out of him and Beckingsale, finishes in front of each other is expected to win the title. That is unless either of them finish outside of the top six where the difference in points awarded goes down to two points and then from 11th onwards, only 1 point between the placings. With only two points between Beckingsale and Oldham, a simple mistake or even a change in the pits could be the difference between winning the series or not.


Last season and it was a win for Paul Oldham at Shrewsbury in the series. The finale for 2012/13 is Derby.

There’s been nothing between them all series as the stats above show and Paul says “the further down the order we are, the harder it will be for me to win”. Paul added that it won’t only be a battle with Oli for the series but a battle to get in amongst the many Belgians that organiser John Holmes is expected to bring over.

Paul added that his preparations for the cross races have been a bit rubbish recently. “I just seem to have this naggy cold and I could do with getting rid of” he says. Asked if his busy year doing crit races and road events for his Hope Factory Racing team has had any effect on his cross season, Paul replied “I don’t know. We haven’t done much different in the cross season to normal. I’d say I am pretty tired and haven’t really got my head down this winter but I have three weeks to turn it round!”

Talking about the National Championships at Bradford, Paul says “If the weather stays like this (wet) then there will be a lot of running at Bradford.” That championship event comes a week after the National Trophy decider in Derby and asked about the two courses, Paul explained they are quite different.

Derby, Paul says, is fairly flat and if the rain keeps up, will most certainly be muddy but Bradford is the hilliest course they have at national level. How it will hold up over two days of racing and two days of practice is anyone’s guess but Paul expects the course to get well and truly chewed up before his battle for the title late on Sunday afternoon .

“My previous record on both courses is quite good and if the course at Bradford is not frozen, then there may well be a lot of running even on sections which are rideable but where riders will run just to preserve their bike in amongst the leaves etc.”


In previous years the series battle has been between Oldham (left) and Jody Crawforth (right) but in 2012/2013, it’s been Beckingsale who has been Oldham’s closest challenger.

Asked for his highlight of the National Trophy series so far, Paul replied “I think Southampton was good for me. I didn’t feel good in the morning and rode a lot lot better than I expected. I managed to get a gap on Oli at that point so it was a good round for me.” On the flip side, Paul says the low point was Ipswich which was his bogey round in 2012/13.

While talking to Paul, I asked about disc brakes which seem to be on more and more bikes such as the Trigon used by Youth Girls Series leader Abby Mae Parkinson (Interview).

“The trend is shifting that way especially now that manufacturers are bringing out frames with lugs for disc brakes” Paul, who works for Hope says. “Maybe not at the top professional level where they are worried about the slight extra weight but for the general racers, it is a massive advantage with better braking, not wearing out your wheels or having to set up the brakes all the time. As soon as the top pros start to use them, and they will do because of their sponsors and so on, that will be it and discs will end up as an industry standard.”

“It took quite a while in mountain biking and now you can hardly buy a bike without them!”

Riders in the National Trophy now have a break before the final round on January 6 in Derby and while Paul has in the past raced in Belgian, this year the family comes first because as he says, it’s not a lot of fun for the kids camped out in a car park in Belgium over Chistmas!

Instead, Paul and his family will be celebrating Christmas at home and Paul hinted that he may, just may, be tempted to ride the Macclesfield Wheelers Supacross on January 30th but as yet, he hasn’t made his mind up on that …

Thanks to Paul for helping with the article and good luck for the rest of the ‘cross season.

Overall Series Wins since 2005 (thanks to Jim Court)

1 Jody Crawforth 238
2 Ian Field 192
3 David Collins 184
4 Steven Roach 154
5 Paul Oldham 142

1 Philip Dixon 205
2 Jody Crawforth 200
3 Daniel Booth Pedal Power Loughborough 162
4 Nick Craig Team Scott UK 153
5 Paul Oldham Hope Factory Racing 131

1 Paul Oldham 198
2 Rob Jebb 188
3 David Collins 186
4 Ian Field 164
5 Lewis Craven 142
6 Jody Crawforth 138

1 Jody Crawforth 268
2 Paul Oldham 268
3 Ian Field 253
4 Stuart Wearmouth 198
5 David Collins 165

1 Paul Oldham Hope Factory Racing 245
2 Jody Crawforth 196
3 Stuart Wearmouth 172
4 Dave Collins Hope Factory Racing 141
5 Rob Jebb 123

1 Jody Crawforth 245
2 Paul Oldham 240
3 Nick Craig 140
4 Rob Jebb 125
5 Liam Killeen 112

1 Paul Oldham 247
2 Jody Crawforth 237
3 Steven James 137
4 David Fletcher 121
5 Nick Craig 118




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