|NATIONAL Professional 5,000m Pursuit|
ANY initial disappointment at Tony Doyle's absence was quickly dispelled by heir-apparent Colin Sturgess as he took the professional pursuit title at the first attempt in stunning fashion.
Doyle versus Sturgess would have been something to savour, but that treat will have to wait - perhaps, it would be nice to think, until the World's final.
Instead, 20-year-old Sturgess (ADR) treated everyone to an outstanding exhibition of speed over the two-day competition, starting with a championship record 5-53.382 in the qualifying time trial - his first ride over the professional distance.
Jon Walshaw (Percy Bilton), last year's silver-medallist, was caught with five laps to go as Sturgess finished off with two 1-10 kilometres to shave just over a second from Doyle's 1988 mark and draw gasps from the crowd.
Paul Curran (Percy Bilton), starting at the third attempt - 'I wouldn't make a very good greyhound, would I?' - after twice falling off as he tried to master the starting gate, was 17 seconds down as second fastest with 6-10.178 to beat Darryl Webster (Teka), 6-13.360, while Walshaw's 6-13.981 gave him the other semi-final slot ahead of Keith Reynolds (PMS-Falcon) and unsponsored Ian Binder. It meant two repeats the following night with Curran, amateur silver -medallist in 1983 and riding to a schedule for the first time in his life, recording another 6-10 to go through by nine seconds and Sturgess pedalling steadily through four kilometres in 5-1 before unleashing a searing burst of speed to catch, Walshaw inside the next half lap.
The ride for bronze was a repeat of last year's semi-final and the outcome identical to the very second for both: Walshaw winning in 6-16.336 to Webster's 6-21.992 as opposed to 6-16.423 and 6-21.651 12 months earlier.
On to the final and three 1-13 kilometres put Sturgess six seconds up and well in control before an injection of pace signalled to all that he was after his prey.
Going through the fourth split in 1-11 he had his man in his sights and after catching Curran on the next lap, he carried on to finish with a shattering 1-6 for the last kilometre and a total 5-56.181.
'Just make sure Dean Woods reads about this,' was his first comment.
COLIN STURGESS (ADR-Bottechia) 5-56.181 bt Paul Curran (Percy Bilton) ct in 5-25.61.
C. Sturgess (ADR-Bottechia) 5-53.382; P. Curran (Percy Bilton) 6-10.178, D. Webster (Teka) 6-13.360, J. Walshaw (Percy Bilton) 6-13.981, K. Reynolds (PMS-Falcon) 6-17.725, I. Binder (unsponsored) 6-48.722.
Curran 6-10.400 bt Webster 6-19.773; Sturgess ct Walshaw in 5-1 6.94.
Third place: Jon Walshaw (Percy Bilton) 6-16.336 bt Darryl Webster (Teka) 6-21.992.