|Pitman's Derby Road Race|
STOCKTON WHEELERS, international Paul Curran, won both the race and the king of the mountains award when he beat Paul Blackett, Tyne Electric in the Polar Seal Windows sponsored Pitman's Derby road race organised by Houghton CC.
Although only 65 miles long, the race rates as one of the toughest in the area with 10 laps of a 6¼ mile circuit which includes seven stiff climbs.
There was an early break from Ian Spensley, Gosforth RC, Mike Milen, Northern Velo and Kevin Sabiston, Ryton Cheviot CC, but they were never more than 12 seconds clear and were back in the fold for the second lap. It was on lap three that an important move was made which was to provide a stepping stone for the eventual winner. Dave Thompson, Thornaby CRT and Dennis Pickard, VC York, rode away, stayed clear for five laps and had a maximum lead of 1-10.
The writing was on the wall for them when on the seventh lap Curran, Blackett and Sabiston set off in chase. On the eighth lap The three chasers caught the two leaders, then when the mile-long prime hill came around Thompson lost contact.
As he drifted back to the bunch which was now 1-10 in arrears he was caught by Chris Vasey, Hambleton RC, who was trying to bridge the gap to the break. For a while they hung there but eventually were both back in the bunch.
With one lap to go the gap between the four leaders and the bunch has not changed much at 1-16 but it was to grow over the final laps. On the last climb up the prime hill Curran and Blackett drew away from Sabiston and Pickard taking 1-18 out of them over the last four miles. These final miles saw Sabiston strong enough to drop Pickard and while the chasing bunch now had the York rider in sight on the odd straight stretches he was still out of reach at the finish.
1. PAUL CURRAN, Stockton Whs, 65m in 2-53.15
2. P. Blackett, Tyne Electric st
3. K. Sabiston, Ryton Cheviot at 1-18
4. D. Pickard, VC York at 1-53
5. I. McKenzie, Cleveland Wh. at 1-57
6. G. Marshall, Tyne Velo
7. J. Wright, Middridge CRT
8. P. Fisher, Leeds St,Christophers
9. D. Thompson, Thornaby CRT
10. M. Adamson, Richard & Darlington, all st