|NATIONAL 80km Madison Championship|
MADISON maestros Paul Curran and Hugh Cameron (Manchester WheelersTrumanns Steel) won their third successive title in Saturday night's 80-kilometres, 240-lap curtain-closer.
As in the other championship distance races, a fast pace - the average speed for the whole race was 29.7mph - made sure that attacks were restricted to a minimum, 11 teams finishing and all but one on the same lap.
The pattern was quickly established as Cameron wound up the pace and Curran did the sprinting to take the first two sets of points, on offer every 15 laps. After that they popped up with regularity, occasionally reversing roles, to stay in full control.
Both have now won four golds in the event - they had different partners for the first one - and Cameron can boast a superb, unbroken sequence on the podium with, in addition, four silvers and a brace of bronze.
Second place went to brothers Gerry and Terry Taylor (Team Haverill), with Kevin Byers (Paragon RT) and Dennis Lightfoot (Manchester Wheelers) in third. Lightfoot had to be lifted from his bike at the finish, his ride a courageous one following his earlier crash which, medical opinion said, had ended his championships. Dennis thought different.
The biggest break of the early stages was the rip that appeared in Byers' skin shorts when Lightfoot grabbed too hard at a change over. A quick sprint to the midfield, a quick change, and Byers was back.
All attempts to break clear failed, and it wasn't until inside the last 20 kilometres that a serious split began to form. Cameron and Nick Barnes ('34 Nomads), in the running for the bronze for a long time, attacked and with Curran and Simon Cope taking over the bid lasted eight laps.
By that point the gold was assured for the Manchester pair, and the only question was where the other medals would go.
Byers tried his all in the final sprint, coming through to lead the field over the line as Robert Coull (Dinnington RC) hit the floor, but a Haverhill jersey was right on his back wheel to make the silver safe.
"It was a bit hairy out there," said Curran, 'and much faster than last year."
1. HUGH CAMERON - PAUL CURRAN (Manchester Wh.Trumanns)
80km in 1-42-32. 27pts
2. G. Taylor - T. Taylor (Team Haverhill) 23
3. K. Byers (Paragon RT) - D. Lightfoot (Manchester Wh) 21
4. N. Barnes - S. Cope (34 Nomads) 10
5. R. Muzio (Zenith CC) - M. Webster (Manchester Wh) 6
6. M. Hill - J. Walshaw (VC Nottingham) 5
7. R. Holden (Manchester Wh) - R. Coull (Dinnington RC) 5
8. G. Mason (Charnwood CRC) - M. Perrett (Ratae RC) 1
9. P. Doel - M. Doel (Chequers RC) 1
10. S. Gowar - P.Parkinson (S. Western RC); at one lap
11. S. Evans (Team Haverhill) - E. Rooney (VC Slough).