|Four Dales Road Race|
STOCKTON WHEELER Paul Curran repeated his 1980 Bell's Dairies Four Dales road race win when he outsprinted Gordon Panicca (Thornaby CRT-Been Bag) on the summit of Birk Brow after climbing away from the rest of the field over the toughest section of the 55-mile North Yorkshire course which started at Guisborough.
Only once in the past three years has Curran failed to collect the Bill Gibson Trophy and even then he was the best amateur in the race, finishing as runner-up to top British professional Sid Barras in last year's edition of the Teesside Clarion promotion.
Stuart Morris (Dinnington RC) and Hugh Cameron (Manchester Wheelers) took the opening primes on Clay bank and Newgate bank and, although the field split on both climbs, it was not until reaching Kirbymoorside after 35 miles had been covered that a positive break began to be established.
Again it was Cameron who rode clear with Simon Goodge (Rothwell RC), a move which brought a quick reaction from Morris, Peter Stevenson (Middridge CRT) and Mike Milen (Northern Velo) who increased the leading group to five.
Curran, well positioned on the front of the 20 rider main bunch, seeing the danger of the swiftly opening gap, jumped of in pursuit along with Panicca as they turned towards Hutton-le-Hole and the seven-mile climb over the open moorland of Blakey ridge.
They soon overtook the leaders, Cameron and Goodge having already returned to the bunch. Morris, nursing a cold, called it a day shortly afterwards, leaving only Stevenson and first year senior Milen attempting to hold on, but as they climbed out of Hutton-le-hole on to the start of Blakey Ridge, they too lost contact, and the race was firmly in the hands of Curran and Panicca.
Panicca took the final prime on Castleton bank before they descended towards Lockwood Beck, leaving it until 200 metres from the line to start the final gallop, Curran getting there first by just half a length.
Milen finished the race in third place just over a minute down on the leaders while fourth place went to Stevenson with Thornaby CRTs Alan Thompson leading home the next group almost two minutes behind Curran and Panicca.
1. Paul Curran (Stockton Wh)
2. Gordon Panicca (Thornaby CRT) st
3. Mike Milen (Northern Velo) at 1min
4. Peter Stevenson (Middridge CRT) st
5. Alan Thompson (Middridge CRT) at 2 mins.