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Girvan Three-Day

Worthy winner for Girvan Easter Cycle Race

GIRVAN Easter Cycle Race is over for another year but seldom has there been a more worthy winner than in Paul Curran of England.

Paul not only took the title, he also won both specialised events of the Volvo sponsored King of the Mountains Competition and the Digital Equipment Scotland Limited's sprint competition.

Paul was lying in fourth place and over two minutes behind the wearer of the "maillot jaune", the yellow jersey, at the beginning of the fourth stage, but using his hill strength he broke away with the leading group after only eight or nine miles.

After his victory Paul said: "It was smashing, I really enjoy this sort of race. The roads here are similar to the roads arid hills at home on the Yorkshire Moors.

"I like the sort of climbs that drag up like the ones here, not the steep ones.

"I really had my work cut out to make up the two minutes on the race leader but I acted about eight or nine miles into the race.

"The time was then up to us. We were that far ahead we just decided to keep going."

This is the third time Paul has competed in the Girvan Cycle Race, last year he was placed fourth and in 1982 he was fifth.

The remarkable thing about Paul's win is the fact that he is a hot favourite for a place in the British Olympic team for the TRACK cycling events.

He said of the Girvan race and the benefits it has to the track cyclist: ''It is just good preparation for track racing. It is just basically getting you fit for the season ahead. Eventually you cut down the miles and concentrate more on speed training, I will be doing that next week."

As far as the town of Girvan is concerned, Paul said: "It is smashing, especially in weather like this."

Second overall in the race and winner of Monday's stage, Dave Mann of the North East Centre of Excellence, said: "I don't think I could have done it without Paul Curran. I'd like to thank him for dragging us up all the hills.

"He was a good race winner and I am very pleased at coming second."

The third placed man in the stage was Young Scotland rider, Martin Coll. Martin who is strongly tipped by those in the know in racing circles to make the top, also finished third overall.

He said: "In the first stage I never really settled down. I found it very hard and it did not help having the second stage on the same night.

"In the first half of the second stage I wasn't going too well but I never lost much time. Over the whole day I only lost a minute.

"On Sunday I was away on a break for five miles and then I got caught by the big boys.

"I got a good talk from my team manager last night to get away early on and that's what I did, and with the help of Paul Curran, I stayed in front. Paul towed us up all the hills."

Not only was this Martin's first time in the Girvan race it was his first ever senior race.

He said of it: "It has been a hard competition but I am over the moon, It was my main aim to do well in it."

Before the race began on Saturday afternoon, Jamie McGahan of Greenock RC -Cairney Sports told the Gazette, I've been four times before. I come simply because I enjoy it. The facilities are fantastic." Jamie finished fourth equal in 1979.

Frank Kelly of Merseyside was competing in the race for the first time, he said: "It's a well organised race.

"I am taking part mainly because the race is quite hard and it will get you fit for the rest of the year, it is also good for selection purposes."'

Provost Dr. James Boyle welcomed the riders to Girvan He said: "I am delighted once again that Easter has come round and we once again have a field of top class cyclists for the Girvan Cycle Race.

"The race has been going for a long time and it is recognised throughout the cycling world and it is a matter of great pleasure to the local authority that this is an established annual event." Dr. Boyle started the race by the dropping of the Saltire.

The first stage 72.9 miles long, was won by Phil Wilkins of V.C. Nottingham in a time of 2 hours, 55 minutes, 46 seconds.

Second after the first stage was Neil Mitchell of Kirkby C.C. Puch Cycles, and third was Jason Ford of the Welsh national team.

Phil Wilkins also lead the Digital sprint competition at this stage and Duncan Melling of V.C. Nottingham lead the Volvo King of the Mountains competition.

After the first stage, race organiser George Miller said: "It was a very hard day, they started off with a tail wind and a lot of hills in Straiton and Dalmellington. They had no sooner got over the hills until they hit a head wind on the way back.

"It was a ptetty hard day for them. There were no incidents at all, however, everything ran very smoothly."

The second stage of the cycle race was on Saturday night. It was a tough race because the riders only had about three hours relaxation between that and the morning race.

Mark Walsham of Chesterfield Coureurs - Ness took first place in a time of 38 minutes and 6 seconds. Phil Wilkins came in second and Neil Mitchell was third.

Phil went into the third stage still wearing the yellow jersey. In second place overall at that stage was Neil Mitchell and lying third was still Jason Ford.

Phil Wilkins had a strong lead of 40 points over second placed Paul Curran at this time in the Digital Sprint competition.

Sunday's stage saw Deno Davie of Manchester Wheelers - Trumanns Steel take the lead overall.

Deno won the stage in a time of 4 hours, 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Paul Curran took second place and Paul Carroll of the North East Centre of Excellence took third

Phil Wilkins slipped into second place overall and Neil Mitchell ended the day in third position

Duncan Melling and Paul Curran shared the lead in the King of the Mountains competition and P. Wilkins was still 16 points clear of Curran in the sprint competition.

After winning the stage and taking the lead Deno Davie said:

"My legs feel pretty tired and fatigued. It has been a really great ride but it is very long and tiring."

In fact the Sunday stage was no less than 98 miles long. When asked what the hardest part of the race was Deno replied: "The last 25 miles when I broke away and was out on my own."

At the end of the day George Miller said: "A fantastic' day for racing, one of the best racing stages I have seen in a long time.

"We have had a champion race and no accidents at all. We have had the usual crop of punctures and mechanical trouble but that is to be expected. Nobody has suffered untowardly."

In all the racers covered a staggering total of 274.7 miles in three days, without any major problems.

Mr Miller said: "I am exhausted! The race has been great and we had no real problems that weren't surmountable.

"We had a small problem in Dailly when we suspected that one of the arrows had been tampered with. Someone had turned an arrow on its side which misled some of the riders and send them off course, it took a lot of effort to get them back on course."

Mr Miller said, however, that those who took the detour did not lose or gain by it because it measured up to the same distance as the set route.

He continued: "The last two days have been superb racing, Sunday in particular was the best I have seen in racing.

"I just hope that we will be back next year, we will if we can raise the finance. We plan to be back.

"The police have been tremendous in their approach to the race, their attitude towards us has been fantastic. It would have been very hazardous without them."

Mr Miller would also like to show his appreciation to the Red Cross who "thankfully were not needed this year."


Stage One

1. Phil Wilkins (V.C. Nottingham)
2. Neil Mitchell (Kirkby C.C. Puch Cycles)
3. Jason Ford (Wales)

Stage Two

1. Mark Walsham (Chesterfield Coureurs - Ness)
2. Phil Wilkins (V.C. Nottingham)
3. Neil Mitchell (Kirkby C.C. Puch Cycles)

Stage Three

1. Deno Davie (Manchester Wheelers, Trumanns Steel)
2. Paul Curran (England)
3. Paul Carroll (North East Centre of Excellence)

Stage Four

1. Dave Mann (North East Centre of Excellence)
2. John Kennedy (North East Centre of Excellence)
3. Martin Coll (Young Scotland)

Overall Competition

1. Paul Curran (England)
2. Dave Mann (North East Centre of Excellence)
3. Martin Coll (Young Scotland)

Volvo King of the Mountains

1, Paul Curran, England; 2, Dave Mann, North East Centre of Excellence; 3, Dave Whitehall, Greenock R.C. Cairney Sports.

Digital Sprint Competition

1, Paul Curran, England; 2, Phil Wilkins, V.C. Nottingham; 3, Dave Mann, North East Centre of Excellence.

The team competition was won by the North East Centre of Excellence.