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NATIONAL Motor-Pace Championship

Four in a row for Curran

FIGHTING back after mechanical trouble, Paul Curran retained the national motor-paced title for a fourth consecutive year at Herne Hill on Saturday.

The Optimum Performance RT rider suffered his first ever defeat in a British paced event in the opening round, but then outclassed the rest of the field in the deciding race.

Curran appeared to be cruising to victory in the 25-kilometre first leg when his pacing bike dramatically slowed. The throttle cable had snapped and pacer Noel Worby could only glide off the track while Curran attempted to maintain his momentum for the two remaining laps.

Russell Williams (Team Ambrosia) was the only other rider in the same lap as the defending champion and he duly swept past to claim the heat with Curran second and Keith Reid (De Laune CC) back in third spot at five laps.

Curran had needed all his experience to avoid crashing. 'I hit the roller with quite a thump,' he said later. 'I was pleased to stay upright.'

If he was to retain his title he needed a resounding win over Williams in the second round. Williams was favoured by the draw, starting first in the six-man line-up, with Curran back in fourth.

Williams threw everything into an early attack, rapidly gaining half a lap on Curran. Then Curran responded, lapping the 450-metre track in under 24 seconds. He quickly overhauled Williams and just before half-distance lapped the Ambrosia rider.

Leaving nothing to chance, Curran went on to gain a total of four laps, finishing almost two minutes faster than the first heat to clinch the title from Williams, with Reid taking the bronze.

John Dale (Beeston RC) was fourth, and fifth place went to 58-year-old Dennis Tarr (Bournemouth Arrow), who staged a storming finish to relegate Dave Harding (Woolwich CC) to last place in the final lap.

Curran will ride next month's European motor-paced championship in Germany, 'If it doesn't clash with the national '100'.'

Williams, meanwhile, is hoping his good form this season will earn him a place with Rob Hayles in the world championship Madison.

Final Overall

1. Paul Curran (Optimum Performance RT) (pacer Noel Worby) 85 pts
2. Russell Williams (Colin Denman) 85
3. Keith Reid (Derek Marine) 50
4. J. Dale (C. Murden) 34
5. D. Tarr (P. Wingrave) 18
6. D. Harding (G. Bristow) 18.

Round 1

1. Russell Williams (Team Ambrosia) 25km in 24-33
2. P. Curran (Optimum Performance RT)
3. at 3 laps: K. Reid (De Laune CC)
4. at 5 laps: J. Dale (Beeston RC)
5. D. Harding (Woolwich CC)
6. D. Tarr (Bournemouth Arrow).

Round 2

1. Paul Curran 22-45
2. Williams at 4 laps
3. Reid
4. at 5 laps: Dale
5. at 8 laps Tarr
6. Harding.