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NATIONAL 50km Points Race Championship

Curran always in full control

CHEERS replaced jeers when Paul Curran followed his pursuit bronze with the gold in Thursday night's amateur 50-kilometre points final.

Also champion in 1982, Curran (Manchester Wheelers) always appeared in full control of the 150-lap marathon, running up a cricket score with eight sets of first place points and four seconds before leading the field over the line in a final act of supremacy.

Never far away from the action, Kevin Byers (Paragon RT) who, if you believe his fans, walks on water - moved up from last year's bronze to the silver medal, winning five sprints and taking the overall lead at the 1l0-laps-to-go board.

And after looking short of his best earlier in the week, Martin Webster (Manchester Wheelers) climbed off the floor to win the bronze - his first track medal.

It wasn't a classic race for the crowd, the best to-date, but an average speed of 29.77mph probably explained the lack of positive escape bids.

Only once did a front working group look remotely like gaining a lap. Curran, Greg Newton (VC d'Or), Phil Raynor (Manchester Wheelers), John Tonks (Penn CC) and Nick Barnes ('34 Nomads) went away after 15 kilometres and enjoyed 16 laps of freedom before a general regrouping.

What the break did do was accord Curran the opportunity to increase his total by 13 points and take over the helm from Byers.

After that Curran figured repeatedly along with Byers and Webster. Any attacks were quickly countered and Malcolm Hill (VC Nottingham) found himself excluded three times in the sprints - once for pushing, and twice for riding on the 'blue'.

Then 12 laps from home Webster hit the deck at speed, midway along the home straight, and very close to the front of the bunch. Miraculously nobody else came down as Webster controlled his falling machine superbly, and was soon back in the fray within the permitted three laps.

"A wheel moved out in front of me and I touched it', said Webster. "I looked up and just saw wheel after wheel flashing past my face! I was lucky not to be injured and lucky as well that it didn't happen inside the last five laps."

Curran admitted to a tremendous sense of relief.

"After the Olympics I knew I would have to do something here," he said. "I was in Los Angeles for a week after the racing finished and I really got down to some hard work -I knew we'd get some stick when we got back.

"Towards the end my legs were getting a bit heavy after the sprints. I don't go too well in the cold.

In the heats I wasn't sprinting too well and I thought that after getting a few points I would probably go for a lap. It wasn't on but once I got in that break and picked up two first placings I got into it."

And the pursuit saga?

"If some of the crowd didn't like it that's up to them. It didn't matter that we were in the same jersey, I was looking after my own interests.

"You've got to spread your effort out and I knew I wouldn't beat Darryl. Beating Mark Noble was the only way I was going to get a medal."



1. PAUL CURRAN (Manchester Wh-Trumanns Steel) 50km in 1-2-36, 70pts
2. Ken Byers (Paragon RT) 44
3. Martin Webster (Manchester Wh) 37
4. J. Tonks (Penn CC) 24
5. G. Rowland (VC d'Or) 16
6. G. Sadler (GS Strada) 15
7. M. Hill (VC Nottingham) 13
8. S. Gowar (S Western RC) 13
9. G. Newton (VC d'Or) 13
10. K. Reynolds (GS Strada) 13
11. P. Rayner (Manchester Wh) 13
12. N. Barnes ('34 Nomads) 12
13. H. Cameron (Manchester Wh) 11
14. N. Noble (Team Zoyland) 11
15. A. Friedman (Marlboro AC) 10
16. N. Bishop (Huddersfield Star Wh) 8
17. A. Hughes (Coventry RC) 5
18. T. Annable (City of Edinburgh RC) 5
19. R. Pike (Charnwood CRC) 3
20. J. Manning (Askern CC) 1
21. P. McArdle (Manchester Wh) 0
22. S. Richards (Askern CC) 0
23. P. Looby (Port Sunlight Wh) 0.

Heat One qualifiers

1. A. Adams (City of Edinburgh RC) 26 25km in 33-29.79
2. P. Curran (Manchester Wh) 22
3. P. McArdle (Manchester Wh) 20; at one lap:
4. S. Gowar (S Western RC) 35
5. M. Hill (VC Nottingham) 23.

Heat Two

1. J. Tonks (Penn CC) 37, 25km in 32-35.11
2. N. Barnes ('34 Nomads) 36
3. K. Byers (Paragon RT) 24
4. G. Rowland (VC d'or) 18
5. J. Manning (Askern CC) 14.

Heat Three

1. G. Newton (VC d'Or) 36, 25km in 32-58.13
2. N. Noble (Team Zoyland) 27
3. A. Freidman (Marlboro AC) 22
4. S. Richards (Askern CC) 19
5. H. Cameron (Manchester Wh) 19.

Heat Four

1. M. Webster (Manchester Wh) 34, 25km in 32-39.208
2. S. Pike (Charnwood CRC) 29
3. K. Reynolds (GS Strada) 26
4. N. Bishop (Huddersfield Star Wh) 23
5. A. Hughes (Coventry RC) 16.

Heat Five

1. G. Sadler (GS Strada) 32, 25km in 33-34.682
2. R. Muzio (Zenith CC) 31
3. P. Rayner (Manchester Wh) 24
4. T. Annable (City of Edinburgh RC) 22
5. P. Looby (Port Sunlight Wh) 18.