Arriving at London we had hell of a job with the customs owing to our having the gold wrist watches, luckily about a week before Wolverhampton Football Club were in from Moscow where they had been given similar gold watches but which had been impounded by customs. This matter had been raised in Parliament and the team had been allowed their watches. We announced this precedent and after much wrangling we were allowed to keep ours. I had swapped a Campag front and rear for a new Praktica single lens reflex camera fitted with F2 lens Ziess. No one had seen one of these in England and I had a job to understand it. We also had Zorki and Fed cameras, these were copies of the famous 35mm Leica , made under licence in Russia.
My personal observations of this race were - On the better side I had made umpteen friends but how hard it was on the mechanics, in fact I vowed not to go on it again. How we had to have two hammers to knock the dents out of rims as the roads in parts were made from seabed boulders, this road was especially bad in Poland just before the stadium finish, the Germans called these roads cat head shape boulders. A pal of mine Derek Robinson (we were on the ill fated “Tour of Eire” together) made a tool to make oval wheels round again, it was like a micrometer and was really efficient. He later also made me a bike stand that fitted on top of my toolbox, it was so good that Eddy Merck’s mechanic wanted to buy it – the reason being that our toolbox was totally portable and with it’s collapsible stand could go in our team car boot, (I still have it!) but their large stand and box had to be sent on the night before.
After we had been back in England a few weeks the NCU sent me an invite to go as Team Manager to the “Tour of Nine Provinces” in Belgium, but with such a back log of work in the shop to catch up with I had to refuse. 12 years was to pass before I was asked to manage a Team again - this was to be the 1967 “Circuit Sarthe” in France. This is quite another eventful story which will appear shortly.