SOPHIE Thackray, making a rare Saturday appearance, has maintained her unblemished record in the Yorkshire Points Series of cyclo-cross races.

The 24-year-old from Eldwick conquered the mud of iconic Bradford course Peel Park to win the eighth and final round of the series.

Missing the opening round at Wyke in September, which was on a Saturday, and the seventh round in Sheffield last month, Thackray had triumphed in the rounds in between at Myrtle Park (Bingley), Temple Newsam (Leeds), Barnsley, Pontefract and Wakefield to clinch the overall series title before the Bradford round.

She said of her Peel Park endeavours: “I knew that the race would go off fairly fast so I tried to be steady and not fall off, and I then picked my moment (to attack) just before the end of the first lap and just kept going.

“I don’t mind running but I went a bit slower on the descents than I would normally as you can lose a lot of time if you mess it up and fall off, and then held the gap as I wanted to and the extended it a bit towards the end.

“This year the course was harder than last year - it was tough but a good course - but maybe not as hard as somewhere like five years ago.”

As for her cyclo-cross season, Thackray said: “I haven’t done any of the National Trophy Series as I work on Saturdays (as a trainee physiotherapist in Saltaire) so I have just been doing the Yorkshire Points Series, where I have won all six that I have competed in, so I can’t complain about that.

“Then I am off to the National Championships at Falkirk on the weekend of January 12-13, which should be good.”

Thackray has been retained by her road racing team, DAS Handsling Bikes, for 2024 and said; “I did quite a lot of work for the team (as a domestique rider) and didn’t do well in some of them, but I have a ride for the team this year so I am looking forward to building on that.

“We have a bigger team, which means that we can send riders to races that are more suited to them, which will be nice.

“However, we are a close group of girls and if someone else wins it feels like we have all won.”

Thackray wasn’t the only Eldwick rider to stand on the podium at Peel Park, however, as Bingley Grammar School pupil Oliver Barker (Shibden Cycling Club) was third in the men’s junior race.

He said: “I had a really good start and managed to get the hole shot (lead) around the first corner, and then one of the senior riders, Ian Taylor, told me to take it steady as it was such a hard race.

“For the first two laps I rode not as quickly as I might have done, on the third lap I managed to catch some riders up, then I lost a couple of places but managed to get third in the end.

“I have ridden Peel Park since I was eight, and it is technical, which I like, but this is the most running I have ever done.

“However, that also suits me as I am small and light and can skim through the mud.”