NATIONAL Points Race Championship
STAR Trophy leader Paul Curran (Manchester Wheelers-Trumanns Steel) reverted to the track to retain his 50-kilometre points race title in masterful fashion.
He made it look all so easy, taking charge in the middle section to win nine out of ten sprints in a run which put early leader Kevin Byers (Paragon RT) firmly in his place and -barring a mechanical mishap -guaranteed the gold medal with five sprints still to go.
Byers, who missed the race-winning move and had to work hard in the closing stages to repair the damage, went on to take the silver medal for the second successive year, with Phil Wilkins (VC Nottingham), the newcomer, in third.
With 89 laps to go the decisive move was made - Pike and Curran going clear, and Wilkins and Steve Sefton ('34 Nomads) joining them five laps later.
The gap quickly rose to half a lap, and only Wilkins could break the Curran-winning sequence as the points piled up.
With Pike scoring steadily to challenge for a medal position, Sefton was left with the scraps and 60 laps from home he dropped away.
Barnes immediately attacked and the next few laps went off at a furious rate as the chasers split into two groups. The three leaders plugged on to gain a lap on the back section of 11 riders, and the front group of 10 followed them across to bring a general regrouping with 39 laps left on the board.
With everyone scoring again Byers seized his chance by taking four successive wins - and then Curran clipped off once more with Tonks and Webster to finish nearly half a lap to the good.
"I felt really rough in my heat and I reckoned I wasn't going to get anything just by sprinting, so I banked on getting in a break," said Curran.
"I got in a couple and it worked. With riding on the road all season I find that I can sprint in a break but not in bunches, although I'm able to keep going a bit longer. I felt a bit stronger in my legs although the zip wasn't there.
"I wish I had known I was so far up though - I kept shouting 'can I be beaten?' to my helpers and they were saying I could, so I had to keep going"
1. PAUL CURRAN (Manchester Wh-Trumanns Steel) 50km
in 1-3-80, 88pts
2. Kevin Byers (Paragon RT) 50
3. Phil Wilkins (VC Nottingham) 44
4. D. Webster (Manchester Wh) 30
5. J. Tonks (Penn CC) 28
6. S. Pike (Charnwood CRC) 26
7. A. Gornall (GS Strada) 2
8. S. Cope (34 Nomads) 2
9. R. Fenton (Gemini BC)
10. K. Reynolds (Paragon RT); at one lap:
11. N. Barnes (34 Nomads) 19
12. H. Cameron (Manchester Wh) 8
13. R. Kennison (Dinnington RC) 6
14. A. Friedman (Marlboro AC) 6
15. M. Lewis (Stratos CRT) 3
16. I. Thompson (Chippenham & Dist) 1
17. W. Mansfield (Manchester Wh)
18. D. Williams (Southport RCC).