Kent Valley Road Race
Paul Curran (Manchester Wheelers-Trumanns Steel) began his season with a win in Sunday's Kent Valley road race near Kendal.
In wet and cold conditions, there was a fast start and halfway round the second of the six nine-mile laps, the decisive break was already established.
Curran, Phil Bateman (Chesterfield Coureurs) and Andy Wilkinson (Port Sunlight Wheelers) went away, and soon gained half a minute. Behind them the bunch split into two, leaving a dozen or so in the front half, another dozen chasers, a few stragglers, and the rest back in the warmth of the changing rooms.
With two laps to go the leaders were only two minutes ahead, Curran and Bateman sharing the work, with Wilkinson content to follow. Behind them, Mick Gornall (Manchester Wheelers) and Norman Dunn (Ferryhill Wheelers) left the rest, but after a lap together, Gornall left Dunn to his fate.
Inside the last mile Wilkinson punctured and rode in on a flat front tyre, but was not too disappointed, "I told them I wasn't going to sprint anyway. It was all I could do to hold on."
Curran had been leading for most of the last lap, but it was Bateman who led out at the yellow flag, only for Curran to surge past.
"I haven't really stopped training all winter so I am feeling quite strong today," said the Commonwealth champion as he towelled off the grime from 54 miles of Cumbrian lanes.
1. PAUL CURRAN (Manchester Wh-Trumanns Steel) 54m
2. P. Bateman (Chesterfield Cour) st
3. A. Wilkinson (Port Sunlight Wh) at 34sec
4. M. Gornall (Manchester Wh) at 4-28
5. G. Pickford (Manchester Wh) at 5-36
6. G. Atkinson (Midridge CRT)
7. M. Bailey (Horwich CC)
8. P. Halligan (CC Bowland)
9. G. Lumb (VC York)