Tag Archives: Scotland

The Velo Club Stella and John Kennedy

In part 1 of this historical research project I looked into the Belleisle Road Club, based in the East end of Glasgow.

The story continues with the establishment of the Velo Club Stella in 1953, as a team concentrating on road racing, as opposed to the touring and time trialling that clubs tended to focus on.

Jimmy Rae recalled: The Stella Maris was around when I was a lad and was one of the first Road Racing clubs with the old SCU/BLRC, it had Hugo Koblet as its Patron. It changed its name to the VC Stella in ’53, amongst its members were John Burrows, John Kennedy, Bobby Dykes, Ronnie Park, Joe Linden, Archie Fitzgerald, Brenden Roberts, John McLaren, John Fraser, the Downes brothers. They were among the trail blazers for road racing at that time who faced a ban by the NCU/RTTC for taking part.

1955 Isle of Man018
“Velo Club Stella L to R: John Fraser, John Burrowes, Ronnie Park, Archie Fitsgerald, David Ross, James Kelly (all founder members) and Gordon Watson of Belleisle R.C.”

The Stella Maris was formed as a road racing club from the St Christopher’s CC, which itself was a Catholic club, former member Joe Linden told me. While the Stella Maris wasn’t deliberately closed to non-Catholics, the membership was predominantly Catholic, and he remembered some dubiety about the acceptance of non-Catholics. The VC Stella seems to have been established as a club that was specifically available to all, with it’s main objective being competitive road racing in the continental style.

VC Stella

John Burrowes, one of the founder members, wrote to Swiss rider Hugo Koblet, winner of the Tour de France in 1951 and the Giro d’Italia in 1950, to ask him to be honorary president of the new Velo Club Stella, and he agreed.

La Perle - Hugo Koblet - Le Pedaleur de Charme - lui-meme 1951

The background to this is the restrictive ethos of the NCU/RTTC federation, who were against racing on the open roads and wanted to keep the status quo of the past 50 years, where only time trialling took place. The BLRC was a breakaway federation which, since 1942, held controversial road races and wished to emulate and ultimately compete against their continental heroes of the Spring Classics and the Grand Tours.

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Breast Cancer Care cycling team launch

I had hoped to attend the launch for the Breast Cancer Care cycling team at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome on Saturday afternoon but after putting my back out, I missed it and the Revolution track meeting in the evening.

The information that was released from BCCCT was of personal interest, therefore, as well as important for the Scottish Cycling community in general and hopefully Drum-Up readers. Scottish Cycling had been involved in Team Ibis in 2012 and the news that this team was to fold was met with great concern late in 2012. I understand a great deal of work went in to securing the sponsorship and organisation for this new team, so hats must be doffed to SC and whoever else was involved for making it happen. Of course there are English riders and other nationalities, but my main interest is in some of the riders who will be familiar to us on the local scene.

bccrt-1

Looking to Glasgow 2014, the team will provide top level competition for the Scottish women, primarily on the road in Holland and Belgium, but I should expect we will see them on the track in Glasgow too.

On Saturday the 2nd of February the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome played host to the team launch of the Breast Cancer Care cycling team, the UK’s number one domestic women’s cycling team. In these impressive surroundings in one of the venues for the 2014 Commonwealth games, the team, its riders and its sponsors were presented to an assembled crowd of media, supporters, friends and family. The presentation was hosted by well-known cycling commentator Anthony McCrossan of Cyclevox, himself a big supporter of women’s cycling.

Anthony McCrossan speaks to Eileen Roe
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The Belleisle Road Club, 1950s

I was given scans of some old Scottish cycling photos, which have led me down a trail of discovery. After investigation, I found that two of them are of the Belleisle Road Club.

I have had some trouble finding out when the club started. The photograph below was not dated but is from the early Fifties, definitely pre 1955 and probably pre 1953. A notable rider, John Kennedy, is sixth from the right, with a chimney pot behind him. He went on to ride the Tour de France, of which I will write more later.

Click on the image to see an annotated copy with the names of most of the people pictured. I spoke to David Ross, who was briefly a member of the Belleisle CC, as well as Joe Linden who also knew some of the members. Between them, and their friends and contemporaries, we been able to identify many of the faces in this image.

Back row, L-R: older man with hand on saddle, unidentified; hand on saddle, Angus Cameron; standing behind, unidentified; hand on saddle, Frank Wiggins; standing behind, Jackie Mullen (aka “Chossie”); hands on top tube and handlebars, Jackie Todd; standing behind, hand on shoulder, John Kennedy; behind, Martin Bonnar(sp?); hand on handlebar, Alex Campbell; behind, unidentified; Jim Crawford; unidentified.

Front row, L-R: kneeling, hand on top tube, Roger Wallacott; kneeling, arm round shoulder, John McNee; kneeling, Charlie Fleming.

Cycling club life at this time revolved around the social side of things- group rides, drum-ups and evenings in the club house. The Belleisle RC met in the East End of Glasgow, with a clubhouse in a converted tenement on or near the London Road and Fielden Street. Celtic Park is just a stone’s throw away. As the SpokeyDoke Blog discussed, rides were often a way to get out of church of a Sunday, but some clubs were not free of religion – the St Christophers CC was one Catholic organisation. With a club hut in this part of Glasgow you might assume that the Belleisle was a Catholic group, but it was non-denominational and there were an equal number of Catholic and non-Catholic members.

The picture above may be a meeting in the clubhouse of the Belleisle Road Club, likely in the early 1950s, and possibly in the London Road club house.

Many of the guys pictured above are sadly no longer with us. Joe Linden, who was a member for a short while, recalled that like many riders, National Service got in the way. John Kennedy was stationed with the RAF at Ballykelly in Northern Ireland around 1952-3. Joe himself spent two years in Pakistan from ’53 to ’55. David Ross was another who was a member briefly, but who told me his racing career took a downturn after his stint in the army.

The club was still going into the 1960s and their colours at this time were a copy of the Italian National Championship jersey: green, white and red. At this time, the Belleisle RC won the Scottish 25 mile team time trial championship in 1960 and broke the team record. The 50 mile team time trial record also fell that year, according to Steven McGinty.

Fraser Connell (who is more associated with the Johnstone Wheelers) was part of those teams and also won the National Road Race and 100 mile time trial championships in 1963 when he also broke 100 mile record. The championship team also incuded ome UCI Commissaire-to-be, Gerry McDaid.

Ian Sharp recalls that this team may have actually been specifically put together to win the team time trial championships, with Fraser Connell reverting to the Johnstone Wheelers and Gerry to the Glasgow Nightingale after. Another memorable member was Willie Anderson, described by one as a ‘firebrand that was the scourge of Centre meetings’.

As I drift in to the 1960s, some readers may recall that the Belleisle Road Club was revived in the 1980s. However, I wish to stay in the 1950s to pursue the next chapter of this story: the emergence of Scotland’s first elite road racing team.

[12 Feb 2012, edit paragraph 5, to reduce emphasis on idea that clubs were formed on religious grounds]

Scottish Bike Show 2013 news

The Scottish Bike Show is back for its 3rd year at the brand new Emirates Arena & Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, home to The Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014. “Next year is going to be special” said Rowan Mackie, Magdala Media. “The recent success of the ‘Thunderdrome’ event and ‘Track Cycling World Cup’ has already put this new venue on the map as a world leading facility and I am sure this is only start of things to come.”

Confirmed exhibitors to date, Madison, Upgrade Bikes, Condor, Alpine Bikes, Ronde Bicycle Outfitters, Eurobike, Keela, Cycling Scotland, Scottish Cycling, Schwalbe, C4C and a host more will be attending the 2013 show.

The recently launched SBS website boasts many new features for the 2013 show. A larger exhibition hall @ 6,000 sq metres, full use of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome for the visiting general public to enjoy taster sessions throughout the weekend of 27th – 28th April and a 1 kilometre outside test track as a demo area to test ride a multitude of road, commuter and mountain bikes. To compliment this, SBS 2013 will be providing a presentation area for cycling stars past and present, free spinning classes, kids play area, a huge BMX display from Scottish outfit BSD Forever, with Mackie promising even more features still to be confirmed.

On the following Sunday, 5th May – the 2nd annual SBS Sportive will take place around Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, starting at Balloch Castle with a choice of either 65 or 100 mile routes. Over 870 entrants completed the inaugural event in April and next year both entries offer excellent value at under £30.00 per rider. Nutritional sponsor High 5 & Hydration sponsor Gatorade will provide all riders with plenty of options at the 5 feed stations to keep their electrolytes buzzing to the finish line. Additional sponsors and partners confirmed, Cyclosport, Kinesis, Ronde, Braveheart and Loch Lomond National Park Authority.

Michael Nicolson tour of the North

These photos come courtesy of Marian Lamb of the www.cyclingulster.com federation web site, via Dany Blondeel, Founder of the Belgian Project.

Michael Nicolson wins a stage of the Tour of the North, an international stage race in Northern Ireland, last weekend. He was competing for a Scotland team that included Jack Barrett, Taylor Johnstone and Rab Wardell.

Michael won stage 3 at Magherafelt, putting him in 3rd place on GC in the 4-day event. He was 8th after the three-quarter mile prologue, two seconds back and after the 72 mile second stage had moved up 1 place. His teammates were able to help defend the time gained on stage 3 and he moved up into 2nd overall on the final day- great result.

This is just what I have been able to piece together quickly from the results sheets but there is a fuller report of the terrain and the race evolved on VeloUK.
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Scotland’s unique time trialling stuation

February sees the first time trials of the season, the Ice Breaker 2-up, followed by the 3-up in Musselburgh in March- both races can be windy and cold affairs and the shelter of a team-mate or two to draft behind is essential. These team time trials open the year, with 10 mile races dominating the calendar in March and April before the longer 25s and 50s come in. Early on there are a couple of mountain TTs with the Knockhill Mountain Time Trial and the Tour of the Meldons, amd then much later in the season a couple more classic hilly TTs: the Tours of the Campsies and Trossachs, and finally the hill climbs starting around September. We have a lot of time trials.

The good news for any Scottish amateurs who have invested in top-end kit in the past few years, is that. Scottish Cycling won’t be adopting the new UCI regulations for the specification of time trial bikes. The bad news is that they will be phased in over the coming years. So a bike like with the Specialised Shiv nosecone below wouldn’t be allowed.

Matt Hennon Inverclyde Velo 22.44

The UCI now specifies some pretty restricive technical regulations about time trial bikes, and as Scottish Cycling is the internationally recognised governing body for cycle sport in Scotland it would normally be subject to the UCI technical regulations for time trial bikes.
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Scottish racing moments of 2011

‘Tis the season for ‘Top 10’ style lists, so here’s a brief rundown of some of my highlights of 2011 where Scottish racing is concerned. I certainly haven’t watched everything closely- these are just the things that stand out, off the top of my head. Please contribute your own ideas in the comments.

in no particular order

Arthur Doyle’s 19:45
Arthur is pretty much the best time triallist around, particularly in 10s and 25s and this blistering time at Westferry at the end of August was brilliant. Check out this discussion on Braveheart which looks at other 19 minute rides.

20110320_6046
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Endura Racing 2011 – Tour of Britain

Having had a successful racing season so far, with strong results at international as well as national events, Endura Racing are now in the final stage of their preparations for the Tour of Britain which will start in Peebles, Scotland on September 11th.

I’m disappointed not to be watching the Scottish stage of the ToB this year, having enjoyed being a roadside spectator in 2008 and 2009, but the start in Peebles is sure to be a spectacle, with the borders town having fully embraced the race over the past few years.

Jack Bauer, Tour of Britain through EdenfieldEndura’s Jack Bauer, former NZ champ
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Scottish Road Race champs 2011

Congratulations to Jane Barr and Evan Oliphant, womens and mens road race champions respectively for 2011.

Through a combination of tweets and text messages from friends I was able to bring you a brief report on how things went down, and have now added a bit more detail once full results and reports were published.

Womens championship
The women’s race kicked off in the morning and Jane Barr won an uphill sprint to retain the championship. 2nd and 3rd place went to Sandy Wallace riders – Gemma Neill and Claire MacAulay. A particularly strong ride from Gemma, who had punctured and had to chase to get back on. A mention for my clubmate Lettie Chambers (Stirling) who did very well to place highly as well as Jay Burgess (Sandy Wallace) and Katie Wylie who I had mentioned in my preview.

Claire Macaulay (Sandy Wallace Cycles), bronze medal, and Jane Bar (Velocity 44) winner
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