Former Team Sky rider Chris Lawless produced a well-judged race to win the Nick Corkill Tour of the North on Sunday.

Riding for local bike shop Bikestyle in his first race of the year, Lawless made a lap-three break from the scratch group that also included Mark Cavendish in what was a return ride for him from a bout of illness.

Lawless got clear on his own towards the end of the third circuit on the short, but steep Bride Hill ascent.

First-year under-23 Callum Salisbury (The Cycling Academy) re-caught him heading towards Ramsey from Andreas on lap four. The pair then went straight through and out the front of group three.

Salisbury attacked up Bride hill himself on the same lap, putting a bit of daylight into the former Team TotalEnergies pro-rider, but Lawless was soon back on his wheel and the pair rode two-up for the final lap or so.

At the head of the race, group two (of four) had soon caught the longmarkers and a sizeable bunch of around 15 including seasoned campaigners Andrew Roche, Mark Harrison (later to puncture), Trevor Kirkwood, Gianni Epifani and Richard Fletcher, along with John Coppell, Dave Cain and Michael Moss worked well together.

Jess Pickavance and two or three more of the girls were close behind. They all tried hard to stay ahead of group three and the swiftly-advancing break from the scratch group (who were on a five-lap schedule as opposed to four for the rest).

Cycle road race
Mark Cavendish enjoyed his first competitive ride out on home soil this year (John Watterson)

Receiving the last-lap bell midway down Burmah Road, the combined front group was then overtaken by Lawless and Salisbury on the approach to Andreas on the final lap of the 9.5-mile course, with Roche, Coppell, Fletcher, Cain and the returning Moss managing to jump on.

Senior hand Fletcher was spat out on the lower part of Bride Hill, while Roche, Coppell, Cain and Moss managed to hold on a bit longer. Advancing quickly on them were Will Curphey and Cian Howard of the original third group, a tiring Moss getting caught near the top.

Salisbury did well to hold on to the back of Lawless, but as the finish line emerged the former pro gave it one last push and powered over the line several yards clear.

Roche, who won the race three years on the trot between 2011 and 2013, put on a late spurt to grab third place overall (and first over-50) from masters winner Cain, with cat B vet Coppell doing just enough to hold off junior class winner Curphey.

Moss, Howard, Niall Quiggin and Orry Lund rounded out the top 10, with Alec Sorby the first youth in 12th, not far in front of leading female Ruby Oakes of Shibden Apex RT in 14th - claiming her third win of the year on home soil.

First youth female was Abi Clayton and leading vet A Tom Broadbent.

Martino Macchia suffered facial abrasions when he came off on the Burmah Road in the mid-stages of the race.

Cycle road race
The lead group heading into the bell (last) lap, but about to be overtaken by eventual winner Chris Lawless and breakaway partner Callum Salisbury a few metres off the back of the bunch on Burmah Road JW (John Watterson)

Originally from Wigan, 28-year-old Lawless said afterwards how much he was enjoying his cycling again (and the social element of the sport locally), having moved to the island in 2019, around the time that he made history when he became the first rider to win a stage race in the colours of Ineos Grenadiers (Tour of Yorkshire).

He is now assisting some of the local juniors and CC Isle of Man, a team from which headed off to Ireland today under his support for the four-day Rás Mumhan race on the roads of Cork and Kerry.

Tour of the North road race results, Sunday - Ellan Vannin CC (47.5 miles scratch group, 38 miles groups one, two and three): 1, Chris Lawless (Bikestyle); 2, Callum Salisbury (Cycling Academy); 3, Andrew Roche (Watts Up Performance); 4, David Cain (Manx Viking Wheelers); 5, John Coppell (MVW); 6, Will Curphey (Team Utmost/Mezzo Isle of Man); 7, Michael Moss (MVW); 8, Cian Howard (Utmost/Mezzo IoM); 9, Niall Quiggin (MVW); 10, Orry Lund (Utmost/Mezzo IoM); 11, Rob Sorby (MVW); 12, Alec Sorby (Team RL360); 13, Mark Horsthuis (MVW); 14, Ruby Oakes (Shibden Apex RT); 15, Simon Harding (MVW); 16, James Meakin (Trash Mile Racing); 17, Gianni Epifani (MVW); 18, Trevor Kirkwood (Manx Road Club); 19, James Kinrade (Utmost/Mezzo IoM); 20, Florence Griffin (Utmost/Mezzo IoM); 21, Michael Faid (Cycling Club Isle of Man); 22, Richard Fletcher (Ellan Vannin CC/IoM Cycle Tours); 23, Cameron Hounsell (Team RL360); 24, Richard Curphey (MVW); 25, Jessie Carridge (MVW); 26, Kevin Kissack (MVW); 27, Abi Clayton (Team RL360); 28, Richard Gault (Bikestyle); 29, Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan); 30, Tom Broadbent (MVW); 31, Jess Pickavance (Liv Halo Films); 32, Andrew Radcliffe (MVW); 33, Lily-Ann Scott (Team RL360); 34, Zach Jones (Team RL360); 35, Stephen Christian (MVW); 36, Josh Knights (Manx Tri Club); 37, Marco Almeida (MVW); 38, Alec Kneen (MVW); 39, Tony Varley (MVW); 40, Mark Harrison (Eurocycles). DNF - Martino Macchia (MVW) and Nicholas Whitehouse (MVW).

- Round one of Manx cycling’s new spring series takes place next Wednesday evening, April 3 on the Jurby race circuit, followed one week later by round two on April 10.