CHRIS Lawless defied the heavy rain to sprint to a second-successive victory in the Otley Grand Prix, last night.

The Aexon Hagens Berman CT rider followed up his second-place in Sunday's Men's National Road Race Championship race in the Isle of Man with another fine performance.

He is only the fifth rider to secure back to back wins at Otley. Burley-in-Wharfedale's Scott Thwaites, who is set to ride in his first Tour de France, was the last in 2012.

He held off the challenges of Matt Gibson (JLT Condor) and Sebastian Mora Vedri (Raleigh GAC) to take the victory and start his HSBC UK National Circuit Series campaign in fine style.

Almost the entire field was in contention on the final lap after the peleton closed down a seven-man breakaway group which featured Lawless, Mora Vedri, Keighley's Tom Moses, Rob Scott, George Pym and last week's Ilkley winner Tobyn Horton.

They had a 45 second lead with nine laps to go but were steadily reeled in as the race reached its climax.

Lawless kept his cool and secured a popular win in front of a large crowd huddled under umbrellas on Bondgate.

Local rider Tom Pidcock, the world junior cyclo cross champion, finished eighth.

Earlier in the evening, Ejay Harris (Storey Racing) won a five-strong sprint to secure victory in the Otley Women's Grand Prix.

She held off the challenge of 2015 winner Annasley Park (Drop Cycling) and Mel Lowther (Team Breeze) who were second and third.

The ladies race was reduced from 15 laps to just 12 of the 1.3km circuit after weather forced a delayed start to the Youth race which was won by Sam Watson of Chevin Cycles from the promising Joe Pidcock and Alfred George.

The Chevin Cycles Classic Race resulted in victory for Fergus Robinson. He beat off the challenges of Benjamin Brough and Matthew Taylor who were second and third respectively..