|STAR TROPHY SERIES - East Coast Classic|
LOCAL rider Paul Curran hit his best form at just the right time on Sunday when his Manchester Wheelers team-mate Pete Sanders, chasing a hat-trick of wins in the Cleveland East Coast Classic, sponsored by the Hardcastle Motor Company could finish only 15th. Sanders, who led the field by more than two minutes at one point, cracked badly in the final stages and was caught only four miles from the end of the gruelling 107-mile Star Trophy event.
The 47-man field was split soon after the first hill prime at Ormesby Bank, when nine riders broke away including Sanders, Pete Long bottom (Manchester Wheelers ,Kevin Byers and Keith Reynolds (Paragon RT) and David Williams (Southport RCC). At the end of the first lap after 24 miles they were joined by Alan Gornall (GS Strada), Jeff Williams (Manchester Wheelers) and Adrian Timmis (Paragon RT).
On the second approach to Ormesby Bank Curran attacked, taking with him Martin Young (Chesterfield Coureurs) and Terry Morgan (VC Olympia). At the top of the climb the trio led the bunch by 15 seconds, but Curran's furious pace soon dropped Morgan, and when Young also fell away just outside Skelton Curran continued alone, still 45 seconds behind the leading break.
Within seven miles he had caught the leading group of 12 riders, and with four Manchester Wheelers in the break Sanders was well protected from counter-attacks when he took the lead with 30 miles to go. At one point Sanders' two-minute lead looked safe, but with nine miles to go Curran made the decisive break. He was soon joined by David Williams, and the pair caught and passed ailing Sanders at the final hill prime, before Curran outpaced the Southport rider on the closing straight to win by nine seconds.
Sanders eventually came in 15th, nearly two minutes down on the winner but took some consolation in winning the Monkradle Mountains jersey and the Northern Machine Tool Hot Spot sprint title in his last ride as an amateur.
1. PAUL CURRAN (Manchester Wh-Trumanna Steel) 107m
2. D. Williams (Southport RCC) at 9sec
3. T. Stevens ('34 Nomads) at 24sec
4. P. Longhottom (Manchester Wh)
5. D. Whitehall (Greenock RC)
6. A. Gornall (GS Strada)
7. J. Williams (Manchester Wh)
8. S. Farrell (GS Strada)
9. A. Hitchins (Mid-Devon RC)
10. K. Byers (Paragon RT) all st
Hot Spots: Sanders (Manchester Wh); 2, K. Byers; 3, D. Williams
Mountains: Sanders, 2, A. Gornall; 3, K. Reynolds (Paragon RT).