A History of the Leamington C&AC Cycling Section (also see rider profiles through the decades)
The earliest evidence for a Leamington Bicycle club dates back to 1879 and there was a thriving cycling club in the twenties. Amalgamation came about in 1928.
1930: Billy Bricknell and Jack Knifton, both age 20 beat some of the best in the country. Bricknell becomes club champion, Knifton wins Vaughan aggregate trophy for best total time in club events and also wins handicap points prize. In open events Billy won eight events, took two second places and secured six course records. Among his wins were the Godiva CC 50, setting a new course record of 2:12:45. He also rode the fastest 30 mile time trial ever done by a Midlander on Midland roads. This was in the Coventry Cycling Clubs Alliance “30” when he clocked 1:15:42. Jack, in his first season won three events and took second place in three. In open team races Leamington secured one first place, two thirds and one fourth. The first place was in the Birchfield CC 25 mile time trial where Billy Bricknell, Jim Wise and Jack Knifton finished in 3:19:11. Billy was also successful on the track and won the prestigious Coventry Hospital Cup in the five mile scratch race. In the same season he won three other track events, came second four times and third three times. Brother Ted (EH Bricknell) also gained two wins and one second place on the track.
1931: Jack Knifton does even better in his second season, with five wins, five second places and two fourths. His most notable win was in the Speedwell 100 where he finished in 4:56:40, one of only three riders to get under five hours. Great rides from Jim Wise and WH Meats also enabled Leamington C&AC to take the team prize. Billy Bricknell wins three open 25 time trials and takes two course records before his racing career came to an abrupt end when he had his left leg amputated after being hit by a car while out on a clubrun. He was later awarded £1,200 in compensation. Being a Cycling and Athletics club enables members to try out both sets of activities and founder member Fred Dale, primarily a cyclist, took full opportunity of this when he won the Chandler cup for the best total points in 12 cross-country races, repeating his success of 1929. In team time trials Leamington won the Birchfield 25, Leicester Roads 25, Coventry Alliance 10 & 25. J Wise becomes club champion with a brilliant 1:05 in the 25 mile championship, Knifton takes the Vaughan aggregate trophy for the second year running.
1932: Jack Knifton secures a mid-season place in the BBAR table but doesn’t ride a qualifying 12 hour. Reg Gadsden took 12th place in the Midland C&AC 12 hour event, clocking 213 miles.
1933: Leamington won seven successive best team awards in time trials, including Leicester Forest 25, Godiva and Coventry CCA 50, Oxford, Cheltenham and Speedwell 100 and Alliance 12 hr. The winning team were a combination of Denis Broughton, J Osborn Jack Knifton and Colin Rogers. Broughton won the club’s open 100 mile time trial in 4:52:06.
1935: Marshals at one of the club’s open events were fined five shillings (25p) for obstructing traffic. A crowd of 5000-6000 gathered in Victoria Park for the Jubilee Sports, hosted by the club.
1937: Leamington C&AC places three riders in the BBAR competition – Fred Dale in 12th place, EC Jones in 39th place and Harry Rogers in 59th place.
1938: Ralph Dougherty takes second place in the Muratti gold cup 10 mile race at Fallowfield, beaten in the sprint by Gorton after a long 2-man breakaway during which the crowd was not happy with Gorton for refusing to do his share of the work. At the same meeting Dougherty won the 10 minute Roadmen’s Australian Pursuit by just one yard, completing 4 miles and 375 yards in the time allowed. Fred Dale wins Vaughan aggregate trophy and places 12th in BBAR competition for the second year running.
|12 hr||Fred Dale||243.25m|
1939: Ralph Dougherty sets national competition record by becoming only the second rider to beat the hour on English roads in the Solihull CC 25 mile time trial. Fred Dale again places 12th in BBAR competition.
Despite many riders away due to the war – among them Alf Moore in the Royal Navy and Wally Austin a POW – and the difficulties of getting a good bike, competition was still strong among those left at home.
In 1944 four riders averaged over 20 mph in the British Best Allrounder competition over 50 miles, 100 miles and 12 hours. They were Norman Sargisson in 22nd place, Fred Dale in 23rd, HG Doody and Bob Matthews. Leamington took 5th place in the team competition (Sargisson, Dale and Doody). Leamington C&AC took 2nd place in the season long Birmingham league time trial events, after a close battle with Birchfield CC (Ted Clifford, Fred Dale, Eric Gale, George Doody all competed). In 1946 Leamington is mentioned in the cycling press as holder of three tandem distance records, accredited by the Midlands RRA:
50 miles Ralph Dougherty and Fred Dale 1:47:07
100 miles Ralph Dougherty and Fred Dale 3:51:35
12 hour Charlie Baines and Fred Dale 267¼
Leamington’s fast riders in the fifties included Jock White, Norman Sargisson and Ken Doughty. Jock White took 11th place in the British Best Allrounder competition of 1954 over distances of 50, 100 miles and 12 hours. His reward for success was to attend the RTTC champions concert at the Royal Albert Hell and have his BAR certificate presented by twice Tour de France winner, Louison Bobet. Another BBAR qualifier was Ken Doughty in 1950, 1951 and 1952. Norman Sargisson was another of the club’s fast men in the fifties and finished second in the Coventry CCA 50 with a time of 2:15:16. Along with Jock White and Ken Doughty he was a member of the Leamington team who took the Coventry CCA 50 mile team prize in 1951. In the same year distance specialists Doughty and White place 1st and 2nd in 12 hour and 2nd and 3rd in 100 miles. Ken Doughty won the Coventry CCA BAR in 1951 with an average speed of 22.17 mph over 50, 100 miles and 12 hours – all on fixed gear. He won the 12 hour Coventry CCA event and took second place in the 100 miles. In 1951 he established new club records over 50 miles, 100 miles and 12 hours. The 50 and 100 records were beaten again by Jock White in 1954.
The club had a strong road racing contingent with Roger Gardner, Phil Cooke, Ted Shipley, Paul Emberton and Lance Ravenhill. Some groups even ventured onto the continent to race, with excursions to Belgium, Guernsey. Some of the results are: Roger Gardner 19th in Wolverhampton road race, Phil Cooke and Ted Shipley 61st and 63rd.
Leamington hosts women’s national 100 mile time trial championships in 1970. As expected the event was won by Beryl Burton, in 4:19:56, a lead of almost fourteen minutes over her nearest rival.
1972: Lance Ravenhill won the Coventry CC September road race. Lance Ravenhill and Roger Gardner take 6th and 13th place in the 46 mile road race, part of the Guernsey Festival of Cycling.
1973: Roger Gardner is scratch man in Sheffield Wheelers 25 mile time trial, finishes third.
1975: Tony Williams won Circuit of the Clees, a 72 mile road race.
The eighties saw increased cycling membership and successes in time trialling, road racing and cyclo-cross. The sponsorship deal with Clift Clean Air, secured in 1982, brought additional funds into the club and saw cycling membership double.
1980: Tom Cummings was 12th in the Midlands BAR, Norman Sargisson 14th and Nev Gregg 16th. These placings also secured 2nd team prize for Leamington. Another grouping of Tony White, Dick Cottingham and Nev Gregg won the Cresswell cup for 1st team on handicap in the Midlands CCA 100.
1981: The season saw plenty of time trialling successes with four riders breaking the hour for the first time over 25 miles. They were Steve Burridge, John Oxtoby, Tim Hawkes and Tom Cummings. Fred Dale won the national 100 mile vets event on standard and the 2-up 25 mile record was broken twice by Tim Hawkes and Steve Burridge, then by John Oxtoby and Roger Gardner. Tony White rode the North Bucks 50 in 2:02:38 – one of the fastest rides ever recorded by a club member, till Mick Ford took over eight minutes off it in 1984 – a record which still stands nearly 20 years later.
1982: Newcomer Phil Adkins beat the hour in his first 25 mile time trial and went on to win all the club championship events except the hilly 22. The two-up record was broken three times that year by Phil Burridge and Tim Hawkes, then by Tom Cummings and Phil Adkins and finally by Such and Mason. Fred Dale set 2 vets records on standard at 50 and 12 hours and his 50 ride was a new personal best, at age 60.
1984: The club time trials were dominated by Phil Cooke who won 6 events and newcomer Tony Smith, who won 4 events and came second in 5. New club records were set – Phil Adkins sets new 25 record of 54:19, Mick Ford sets new 50 record on 1:54:19, Mick Ford and Phil Cooke set new 2-up 25 record of 54:26. All three records stand today
1985: notable for star performances from John Bevan, both on scratch and on standard and for the club’s first female cycling competitor, 16 year old Angela Morgan. The club won the team competition in the Coventry CCA 50 mile time trial with fine performances from John Bevan, 4th in 1:59:15, Mick Ford and Tony Smith.
Schoolboy cyclists of note were Edward Chronicle who won the schoolboy 5 mile time trial in 1982 and Dave Bennett who was the most improved schoolboy. Leamington were well represented in cyclo-cross with promising riders such as Lance Ravenhill who took 2nd place in the Bromsgrove Olympic event in 1980. Roger Gardner, A Jones, and schoolboys Steve Hundal and Julian Chronicle were keen cross riders. M Smith and Steve Hundal were placed 1st and 2nd numerous times in the 1980-81 season. Julian Chronicle went on to win both junior and senior cross trophies in 1985. Roger Gardner was 1st vet in an Oxford event.
The club was represented in road racing by Phil Burridge and junior Pete Taylor, among others. Phil took first place in a Coventry Olympic event in 1981, winning the sprint from a small breakaway group. Phil also placed 3rd and 8th in events at Ullenhall in 1984. Pete Taylor took 4th place in the Henley Swan Easter road race and 6th in Saracen event. In the 3 day Ras de Cymru over 200 miles in South Wales Leamington’s team of Lance Ravenhill, Jim Iredale and Roger Gardner put on an impressive performance with Ravenhill finishing in 19th place and Gardner in 36th. Lance Ravenhill was runner-up in the 52 mile Tour of the Fosse, taking 2 primes at the top of Sunrising Hill and winning the King of the Mountains competition.
As well as home grown talent, membership was boosted in the eighties by an influx of cyclists from other clubs, including Tony Smith (ex Coventry CC), Mick Ford, John Herring, Martin Hackley and Len Orrick (ex Coventry Olympic).
The National 10 mile TT championships held 8/9th September 2002 was a turning-point in the racing careers of three ladies from Leamington C&AC. Held on a course in the Neath valley, South Wales, these three women proved themselves worthy of national recognition when they won the Team award for the first time in their cycling careers. Next year they will be competing in other championships, not least the promotion of these same events by the Leamington Club. Pam Styles led the charge with a fine 27:56, Chris Walker recorded 28:50 and Tina Mullins 28:54, total time 1:25:40.
Leamington C&AC hosted the national 10 mile time trial championship in May and 300 competitors plus numerous friends, family and supporters converge on Princethorpe on a very windy day in May. Most times were 1-2 minutes slower than riders’ usual times and only the winner, Stuart Dangerfield and second placed Michael Hutchinson went under 20 minutes. The event was notable for a renewed interest in the women’s team competition, following Leamington’s victory in 2002. No fewer than 13 teams of three women competed, with sponsored club GS Strada taking the honours.
Nadine Garioud has a phenomenal first complete season taking club records at 5, 10, 15, 22 and 30 miles. She also won several open events, including both our own open 10s, Rockingham Forest Wheelers 12.8 mile hilly, 45 Road Club 10, as well as coming second in five other events in distances up to 50 miles. She is only the second female rider to complete a 50 mile time trial.
Mick Ford is once again the only rider to compete in distance events, finishing the National 100 mile time trial championship in 4:13:50, averaging 23.6mph over the distance.