Local rider Grace Inglis was third at 58 seconds. Maclean-Howell won the Under 23 title.
“I still don’t believe it, it’s my first elite title in any discipline, so I’m quite happy,” Kay said after pulling on the British champion’s jersey.
“My game plan was to let some of the riders go off fast, follow the wheels and see the best lines. But I felt good on the first lap and so I just decided to go for it.”
2022 winner Zoe Backstedt opted not to defend the title, boosting Kay’s chances of success and the 24-year-old took full advantage.
Imogen Wolff led on the rising start but Kay soon hit the front and took charge as the field lined out.
Kay was the only rider able to bunny-hop over the barriers and that allowed her to open a gap on the subsequent climbs. Kay already had a lead of 25 seconds after the first lap.
The exposed course meant riders had to battle a wind but Kay powered on and continued to extend her lead. Behind Maclean-Howell, Inglis and the rest began to race for the placings, looking at each other to do the work on the front on the fast sections.
The cold sunny conditions meant the park grounds were frozen, creating a fast course on the short grass. That suited Kay, rather than the mud of 2022 and she used her power to continue to gain time. Racing in Europe with 777 has clearly given her strength and endurance.
Kay used her superior ability to produce a controlled race for the final three laps. She was able to run the steep banking and quickly jump back into the saddle to continuously extend her lead.
Kay completed the six laps in 48:21, finally taking the British red, white and blue jersey after a number of minor placings.
Kay will now race in the British champion’s jersey for the final races of the 2023/2024 season.