|Bishopton Spring Road Race|
THE 68-miles Bishopton Spring Road Race, the longest competitive outing so far, ended in the first win of the year for Middlesbrough's national track squad member Brad Thurrell (V.C. Europa) who, with a well-timed final burst, crossed the line a few yards clear of Cleveland's other Great Britain squad rider Stockton Wheeler Paul Curran.
Promoted by Ferryhill Wheelers, the event gave most of Cleveland's road men their first opportunity to ride on the open roads this season during a very busy programme.
Hambleton RC's Gary Brown opened up a 40-second gap during the opening 14 miles circuit but lost all his advantage by going off course approaching the start of the second lap.
Thornaby CRT-Been Bag's Gordon Panicca was next with a lone attempt with almost 30 miles covered only to be overhauled by a chasing group of 15 riders on the approach to the third Great Stanton prime after almost a lap out on his own.
Collecting the final prime, Curran led the way as the last lap began, followed by Ray Wetherall (Ryton Cheviot-Bicycle Times) and Stuart Morris (Dinnington RC-Universal), Ian Murray (V.C. Stockton), Paul Blackett (Gosforth RC-Steel Cycles), Simon Hart (Stockton Wheelers) and Thurrell.
Constant attacking in the closing miles brought no further split in the leading group, but with 400 yards left Thurrell unleashed his powerful gallop, gaining yards before Curran and Wetherall took up the challenge.
It was Curran, passing the chequered flag two lengths behind Thurrell, who edged out Wetherall at the line.
Morris sprinted into fourth position followed by Panicca.
1. Brad Thurrell (VC Europa)
2. Paul Curran (Stockton Whs)
3. Ray Wetherall (Ryton Cheviot)
4. Stuart Morris (Dinnington RC)
5. Gordon Panicca (Thornaby CRT)