SOUTH Craven School student Cat Ferguson, 15, has just won the U16s Cyclocross National Championships in Crawley, Sussex.

This was Cat's third national title in 2021, having won the national road title in July and the national Madison (in a velodrome) title in August. She hopes to make it through the cycling ranks to become a pro cyclist and races for Dame Sarah Storey's team on the road and track and for Hope Factory Racing in both cyclocross and mountain biking.

Cat is on the British Cycling's academy programme too and has to train six times a week requiring not just hard work and talent but an incredible amount of dedication in order to meet the training demands as well as her school work. Cat is so grateful to her school though who have been immensely supportive of her training needs throughout.

Earlier this season Cat went to Belgium - the home of cyclocross - to compete in the most iconic cyclocross race, Koppenberg, with its steep and slippery cobbled climb forming part of a very demanding course.

Cat won this race too, beating the Belgium national champion in the process.

Cat's coach is Seth Smith - Tom Pidcock's former coach - who is now helping her to the step up required as she enters the junior ranks next season, backed by Hope Technology too which has made an enormous difference in terms of the coaching, support, equipment and logistics required in cyclocross.

Her father, Tim, said: "Cat started cycling when she was about five, but in reality really started cycling at a club when she was 10/11. She started with Cycle Sport Pendle, in Colne, and signed for Storey Racing in Nov 2020. (Dame) Sarah Storey is one of her inspirations along with Lizzie Deignan, from Otley.

"Cat races several cycling disciplines, Track cycling, road cycling, cyclocross and mountain biking.

"She took up the sport because she just liked it…not really another reason. Her mum and dad both cycle so I guess this will be an influence too. Cat initially started doing much more ‘ski racing’ but chose to concentrate on cycle racing when she was 12.

"She is on the British Cycling's talented programme and is aiming to get selected for their ‘apprentice programme’ in 2022. South Craven School has been very supportive of her over the years. She spends an awful lot of time racing all over the UK."