The 2023 British Gravel Championships is set to play out in in King’s Forest, Suffolk on Saturday, with riders on the start list for the third edition including Connor Swift (Ineos Grenadiers) and Danni Shrosbree, who took the title in 2022.
The race will take place amid the King’s Cup Gravel Festival, with the senior championship events 76.5km long and run over five laps of a completely off-road loop that is 15.3km in length. The women’s events starts at 8:30 local time, while the men’s race sets off at 12:30.
In the race guide organisers describe the loop which starts and finishes at Wideham Farm as “fast and furious Strade Bianche type sterrato in Suffolk – but without Chianti and the pasta might not be as good”. There are narrow and technical sections among the wide open gravel roads, and a modest 440m of elevation gain across the race.
Last year it was Shrosbree and Jacob Vaughan who took out the titles. In the women’s race a group of five went out early, and when mountain biker Tiffany Keep attacked she took Shrosbree. Keep, from South Africa, crossed the line first but, of course given it was a British Championships the title went to the first British rider, which was Shrosbree. It was a nine man sprint for the title in the men’s race, once a chase group managed to peg back a dangerous attack from Michael Mottram. Vaughan sprinted over the line to take the victory ahead of James Phillips and Ben Thomas.
This year Shrosbree will back to defend her title, returning from the US where she has been racing the Life Time Grand Prix, taking out fourth place at the brutal 2023 edition of Unbound. She’ll be lining up against some new rivals for the title this year, including Amelia Mitchell who came second to Tiffany Cromwell at the UCI Gravel World Series round at The Gralloch earlier this year, and also Xan Crees, who in Scotland took the third step of the podium.
The Gralloch in May was also at that race that Swift put his hand up as major gravel contender, with the road professional winning in his gravel debut. The six time national champion in the time trial, Alex Dowsett, will also be lining up in the men’s race at the British Gravel Championships alongside Cameron Mason, who has made multiple podium appearances in the Gravel World Series and holds the national cyclocross title. Two-time Olympic gold medallist in the triathlon, Alistair Brownlee, who is on the return from ankle surgery, is also on the start list and is likely to be a fierce rival…