WORCESTERSHIRE’S Liam Killeen and Evie Richards won at the British Cyclo-cross Championships on a muddy Shrewsbury course.

Killeen’s disqualification at Bradford in December for a minor pit infringement fuelled the support of the huge crowds for the Malvern rider.

The 33-year-old, who rides for Specialized Racing, took five silver medals at previous championships but showed why he was 2006 Commonwealth Games champion by claiming the senior men’s title.

Ben Sumner (Beeline-Gener8) led the charge through the first technical section with Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) chasing.

Into the woods on the first lap, Field was ahead with Killeen hot on his heels followed by Jack Clarkson (Hope Factory Racing).

Killeen and Field were side-by-side with 20 minutes left when Killeen got a slight advantage and increased it to seal victory.

“Field is a class cross rider and I was a bit apprehensive because of the amount of running,” said Killeen.

“But it all worked out as on the bike I felt strong. I’m really pleased as it has been a long time coming.

“The race kind of naturally selected and I just rode to the finish once a gap opened up.”

Richards (100%me) clinched the inaugural women’s under-23s title after a dominant display.

The teenager led from the outset and was joined by Redditch’s Bethany Crumpton (Boot Out Breast Cancer).

But the 18-year-old from Malvern edged clear for a maiden national title, extending her lead on every lap.

Richards said: “I had a mechanical problem on the second lap and had to ride one lap with broken gears. But, apart from that, I probably wanted it the most and gave my all.

“I’m so pleased as I’ve always wanted a national jersey and I missed out on the mountain bike one with a broken arm, so I’m over the moon.”

Richards who has ridden for T-Mo Racing in both the mountain bike and cyclo-cross season, had to change teams as part of her British Cycling Senior Academy contract.

She added: “’I am so grateful to Tracy Moseley and T-Mo Racing for all of their support and I am also really grateful to so many other people who have helped me achieve this goal.

“Hopefully, I will now get the opportunity to race against the best cyclo-cross riders at the World Championships in Belgium at the end of January.’’ Harriet Harnden (Malvern Cycle Sport) looked likely to take the under-16s national title only to be robbed of a podium position due to a mechanical fault during the race.

Also representing Malvern were Joshua Brooks (under-23s men) finishing 21st and Ross Harnden (junior men) in 10th place.

Both riders used the event as part of their mountain bike training programme and got stuck into the spirit of the race as the course deteriorated.