Tuesday, 11 March 2008

#033 1952 - Dublin Galway Dublin

1951 was Festival of Britain year, there were many special cycling events, I can’t recall any apart from the Notts Centre 5 mile grass champs where I finished third to “Cis” Crisp and “Hervy” Turner. I did a Norman Casswell type kick over the line I thought I had won but - no.
We again rode the Dublin - Galway held on August Bank holiday; a Sturmey Archer expert from Raleigh (he designed the Trigger control) decided to come with us. Tommy Clough was his name, he was 65 but he kept up with us O.k. Well, that is until we climbed over Nant Francon pass, he took a real hammering and could not continue, Bill and Bren Thorpe stayed with him at Bethesda, Bert Humphries, Alan Prentice and I continuing to Holyhead, it was a hard ride, head wind and rain. We were to be in Dun Laoghaire some 12 hours before being joined by the others.
On buying food in Dublin and just before the start, I overheard Brian Robinson and his team saying they were going from the start. I conveyed this information to the other riders in our team but only Bert and I were able to make the breakaway. The group worked very well, we were minutes up at Athlone and then calamity - I punctured, I changed tyres and the “bunch” caught me, meanwhile Bert was still there but with 2 miles to go he touched a wheel and came down, he was taken to hospital. We finished some minutes behind the leading group still unaware that Bert had been taken to hospital. In those early days a big van took all the baggage and it emptied the whole lot piecemeal in the middle of Galway Square, whereupon we would rummage through the collection, find our property and then seek out the ‘accommodation man’ who told us where we were to stay.
We found our place - five beds in one room, one bed being a camp bed so of course this was left for Bert. We had our evening meal then – Bert still missing - decided we had better make some enquires of his whereabouts. We found him wandering round Galway still in his racing kit but wrapped in a hospital blanket. We took him back to the digs, he had a bath and a meal after which it was then time for bed, Berty played hell about the bed we had allocated him, then we heard him saying “22 - still a virgin and lost my manhood”, he had fallen heavily on across his crossbar. We were to rag him for years over these remarks and others.
We all finished the next day but out of the prizes. A breakaway that occurred just about 20 mile from Dublin was caught, all those who were in the chasing group have never ridden so fast - before or since - it was terrific. My wife Jean and Carol were at the finish so we had a nice weekend, I electing to go back with them on the train. We still won the Nottingham Track League but I was still hopeless in the sprints. I did win all of the Club track championships and so had Trophies presented at the dinner.

No comments: