Stanco Exhibitions Three-Day
Paul Curran (Manchester Wheelers-Trumanns Steel) confirmed his dominance of the domestic scene in the Stanco Exhibitions, three-day event over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Curran was supported by his formidable trio of club-mates, Norman Dunn, Mark Gornall and Pete Longbottom, the only real threat to their supremacy coming from Ben Luckwell (VC St Raphael).
Over £2,000 in prize money gave the 100-strong field plenty to race for. The organising Coldra RC had devised two stages in the hills of east Gwent plus a long haul to Cardiff via the Rhymney Valley which provided opportunities galore for attacking riding.
Opening up with a 75-mile loop from Caldicot via Monmouth, Rockfield, Raglan and Usk, early animators included Curran, Longbottom, Barrie Clark, (Surrey Division), Gary Chapman (Birmingham Division), John Evans (Coldra RC), plus last year's winner Roger Dunne (Southern Centre of Excellence).
This group formed, splintered and reformed for over 50 miles until the prime at Shirenewton with 18 mile to go. Dutch rider Wiko Zuyderwijk along with Simon Bray (British Students) joined Curran and Longbottom at the front with a one-minute lead before the Manchester pair put the hammer down, saw the others off and came home with a two-minute advantage - more than it had been throughout the stage.
With Jason Ford third placed on the stage and Evans in the early action, riders from the promoting club were not going to be intimidated by the visitors.
1. Pete Longbottom (Manchester Wh.Trumanns Steel) 75m in 2-37-44
2. P. Curran (Manchester Wh) st
3. J. Ford (Coldra RC) at 1-56
4. B. Luckwell (VC St. Raphael)
5. N. Bishop (ABC Centreville)
6. N. Noble (VC St. Raphael) all st.
Stage two, which climbed to 1,450 feet on the Heads of the Valleys Road before touring the Gwent Valleys en route to Cardiff, saw Keith Jones take up the challenge. Breaking clear on the headwind run-in along the A48, Jones, Gornall, Luckwell, Dunn and Steve Rowland (Lancs and Lakeland) finished just seconds in front of 17 pursuers with the field split to pieces in their wake.
1. Keith Jones (Coidra RC) 84m in 3-6-12
2. M. Gornall (Manchester Wh)
4. N. Dunn (Manchester Wh)
5. S. Rowland (Lanca & Lakes) all st
6. J. Rimmer (Brit. Students) at 29 sec
7. J. Evans (Coldra RC)
8. N. Bishop
9. P. Rogers (Southern C of E)
10. R. Chamberlain (Sapphire RC) all st.
The criterium which followed gave Luckwell another chance to demonstrate his powers in this type of racing. At Swansea in May he had devastated the survivors of the 'Ras', ripping round a hard circuit at over 28 mph. On the wide, flat straights of this Cardiff circuit, only Curran could survive in his company with all the field lapped, some individuals five or six times.
As a result of this mayhem, Curran entered the final day with a lead of one and a half minutes over Luckwell, Gornall the same amount again behind in third place.
1. Ben Luckwell (VC St. Raphael-Waites) 45-32
2. Curran st
3. D. Kempers (WWV The Hague) at 1-7
5. D. Woradale (West Midlands)
10. M. Jones (West Mids) all st.
Three laps of a 20-mile circuit around Shirenewton, Usk and Langstone made up the bulk of the final stage. On a day of frequent heavy showers it was the turn of the fourth Coldra RC rider, Norman Hughes, to go on the attack with Norman Dunn and Nigel Bishop (ABC Centreville) for company after a series of earlier forays had all been countered.
The trio did well to hold on to a lead which was never more than a minute, with the speed up to 35 mph along the A48 into the finish at Caldicot the line came only just in time as powerhouse Luckwell closed down with Andrew Perks (Sapphire RC) stoking the boilers.
Curran expressed satisfaction that the pace had been a good one throughout. He claimed that he needed to put the next two weekends out of the way before concentrating his thoughts on Seoul.
The form of Luckwell and Gornall was also encouraging with the Olympics only weeks away.
1. Norman Hughes (Coldra RC)
4. A. Perks (Saphire RC)
6. K. Jones
1. PAUL CURRAN (Manchester Wh-Trumanns) 10-2-50
2. Luckwell at 1-38
3. Dunn, at 3-3
4. Gornall, at 3-8
5. Hughes, at 3-12
6. Rowland, at 3-18
7. Bishop, at 3-22
8. Ford at 3-27
REPORT STUART STANTON
PICTURE RON GOOD