Chapter 10 – And a Beginning

Nineteen Thirty saw us with a new President, namely George Mundell, the ablest of chairmen. Always scrupulously fair, he ruled an A.G.M. like a board meeting, and inculcated into many young members the value of the proper conduct of meetings. The only other new official was Art Jones as Editor, but he did not stay the course, and by midsummer that old stalwart Bill Bailey the Sec., had to act as Editor for the rest of the year. It had also been decided to run the Club ’12’ on a Sunday, and to include a Club ‘100’ in the racing programme, and later two of our club ’50’s’ were destined to be inter-club events with the Mersey Roads Club.

This year saw the beginning of Cycling’s Best All-rounder Contest in which Fred Turner was to do great things, so there is no doubt that the decade of the thirties opened with plenty of interest.

The Annual Dinner was held at the Victoria Hotel, one of the best hotels in Manchester. A menu of 5/- had been submitted and accepted and tickets were priced at 6/- per head. A splendid time was had by the 77 members and friends attending, and the many ballads, such as ‘My Old Shako’ and ‘Chorus Gentlemen’ went down very well, and in those days we had a club anthem ‘The Mermaid’ which always terminated proceedings. Our good friend, Mr. H. Sutclifie, once more accompanied each artiste with distinction. But there was no prize distribution! Prizes were always handed out in an informal way at the A.G.M. The member writing up the Dinner for the News suggested that in future ‘to add the atmosphere of the open road’ the prizes won in club events be presented at the Annual Dinner in future. And that is what happened thereafter.

The Easter Tour headquarters were at the Manor Hotel, Airton, near Malham, in Yorkshire. Although expenses were but 6/6d. per day it was poorly attended, by Andy, Bill Bailey, Steve Weekes and friend, and Albert Fretwell.

Racing in 1930

Fred Turner started as early as March 30th by returning 7th fastest time of 1-6-36 in the Stretford Wheelers’ ’25’, and a week later he won the Club ’25’ (and took the second handicap prize from scratch) with 1-6-10. Bill Waring was second fastest and first in the handicap with 1-9-35, whilst Jimmy Barnes took the 3rd handicap with 1-11-51. Parker was a non-starter.

Fred Turner had decided to ride in the Charlotteville ’50’ on the Bath Road on Easter Monday, and Parker (still living in the wilds of Lancashire) entered too. All that was wanted was a third man to make up the team. I had arranged to tour down to the event with Ron MacQueen and that was my undoing. I was persuaded to make up the team, but so keen was I on the route we had planned that I would not hear of it being cut in the interests of racing. Mac and I left Cheadle at 7-30 on Good Friday morning and had lunch some miles to the north of Derby. By mid-afternoon we were on our ‘hands and knees’ in the Quorn country climbing hills which seemed to have no top, but a little bakery in Melton Mowbray saved our ‘lives’ with a meal of hot-cross buns and jam. We went our way rejoicing to Stamford where Mac knew of a good pub, the ‘Crown and Woolsack’, and it was good too. My diary records that I put 115 miles into my racing legs this day. Our ride down the Great North Road on Easter Saturday was a sleigh-ride with a northerly gale abaft the beam. I was riding a gear of 66 inches with ‘rags and timber’ (sprints and tubulars) and Mac was using a SturmeyArcher 3-speed gear. My goodness, didn’t I twiddle. We had lunch at Fuller’s at Girtford Bridge, and with another century behind us reached Hounslow, where we stayed with some relatives of Mac’s for the night. Then, said Mac, a gentle potter along the Bath Road and you will be as fit as a fiddle for the fifty. But on this Easter Sunday we made all sorts of diversions – Eton, Windsor and all round there and when Pangbourne was reached I knew that Easter Monday would not be my day! However we joined Fred Turner at Mrs. Oldbury’s abode where we met Freddy Frost and the Allondon boys and were delighted to find that Syd (who travelled in his mother’s big limousine) had brought support for us in the persons of Stan McConville, Chris Price and Len Johnson. I was a late starter in the event and I had plenty of time to change my cog for the race (using a Grubb cog remover), but when I reached the timekeeper, Fred, of course, had started, but Syd, to my chagrin, had not. He had left his tights at home! He could have had mine with pleasure! I was soon last man on the road and died a thousand deaths on the return journey from Froxfield to the finish, praying for the puncture which just would not occur. But the news of a great ride by Fred quickly cheered me up. He had returned 2-15-41 for sixth fastest time, a really great performance against an entry which comprised the cream of the country. Frank Southall (Norwood Paragon) was the winner in 2-8-4 and the North Road Team, which included that prince of stylists Stan Artaud, took the team honours. My miserable effort was 2-35-8. I had the Tuesday after the Bank Holiday off, and it was mid-morning when as I was changing my cog once more, the happy Chesh party left, Stan Mac decorating Syd’s car with ribbon in the club colours and with room having been found for MacQueen as well. I felt now, that with all my suffering over, I could tour homewards in leisurely style without a care in the world. But my troubles had barely commenced. Dropping to the Thames at Shillingford my rear tyre did not puncture – It blew up! And the way I had prayed for a simple deflation during the race! I changed tyres (throwing the old one away) and then followed a succession of punctures until I had no spares left and I was mending tubulars by the road-side. Reaching Stonebridge for the night I spent the entire evening at the ‘Olde Malt Shovel’ mending tubulars, a hateful but essential task. Including the race I had ridden 132 miles on this glorious Bank Holiday. My repairs were good and I reached home on the Tuesday evening after covering 500 miles in 5 days and trying to race over fifty of them. I had tea at Mrs. Nuttall’s cottage at North Rode before reaching home. She made no comment at the time, but when she saw me a few weeks later she said that I had looked very pale and ‘done up’. She was right. I don’t think I ever rode in another Open! But what a grand tour!

May 4th was the date of our first inter-club ’50’ with the Mersey Roads Club, on our own course, the second one being away. In both the events we were annihilated. Never have I known such a bunch of fast and enthusiastic racing men as were the Mersey Roads boys in the early thirties. Fred Turner apart we could not hold a candle to them. The first six men in time order counted and this was the result of the team race :

J. C. Jones, 2-17-47 F. Turner, 2-14-55
S. Phillips, 2-18-16 C. Price, 2-28-26
F. Da Costa, 2-23-12 S. Parker, 2-29-11
B. Cunningham, 2-23-35 A. J. Power, 2-29-55
G. R. Garnet, 2-23-49 W. Waring, 2-30-34
F. Brockwell, 2-24-3 A. Fretwell, 2-32-33
Aggregate-14-10-42 Aggregate-14-45-34

Our only honours of the day were taken by Fred Turner, who with 2-14-55 returned fastest time compared with Jimmy Jones’s 2-17-47 for the Mersey Roads. We ran a club handicap in conjunction with the race and in addition to taking fastest time prize, Fred’s time placed him first in the handicap from scratch. Chris Price and Albert Fretwell took the second and third handicap awards.

Fred Turner, evidently with eyes on the new Best All-Rounder contest, now put in a series of excellent rides, but try as he would he could not pull off a fastest time. In the Dukinfield ’50’ he was 7th fastest in 2-19-37 (winner Joe Brooke, Gomersal in 2-16-20), supported by Stan Partington with 2-28-59, Parker and Power retiring. A week later (May 25th) he returned second fastest tiine in the Clifton ’50’ with 2-16-0, Chris Price doing 2-26-46 and Len Williams (a C.T.C. man from Chapel-en-le-Frith) 2-28-51.

In the second Club ’50’ on June 1st Fred again put up a fine show with fastest time of 2-13-29 (any ride within 2-15 was regarded as ‘super’ in those days), and third place in the handicap. Bill Waring was second fastest with 2-27-29, and Len Williams third fastest with 2-28-12. MacQueen’s trip to the Charlotteville ’50’ had evidently made him fit as he surprised everybody by returning 2-30-33 and collaring the first handicap prize, beating Albert Fretwell into second place by nearly a minute.

Bren Orrell returned fastest time of 4-56-34 in winning the Anfield ‘100’ for the promoting club, but we were delighted with a fine ride by Fred Turner for fifth fastest time of 5-5-13, Parker once more retiring. Fred was fifth fastest also in the Warrington R.C. ’25’ with 1-5-53 and and was placed in the same position in the Manchester Wheelers’ ’50’ with 2-16-40, Parker doing 2-23-30, Charlie Holland (M.C. and A.C.) fastest in 2-13-28.

Turner did a superb ride of 4-49-58 in the Grosvenor ‘100’. He finished before Orrell and there was much speculation as to whether Orrell could beat this time. Orrell did, however, with a remarkable 4-41-8 and relegated Fred to second place, but a time inside 4-50 spoke for itself. Of our six entries Price and Partington returned the respective times of 5-25-0 and 5-26-50, the others, including Parker, retiring.

The return inter-club ’50’ with the Mersey Roads Club took place on July 6th on a Lancashire course based on Maghull. Most of us, on racing gears, took a pasting finding our way over the wastes around St. Helens against a nasty wind. Then on the morning of the race it was found that Turner and Parker had been unable to make the journey and would be non-starters and our morale became very low. The course started near Maghull, proceeded northwards towards Preston, crossing at least two hump-backed sett-paved canal bridges which were murderous on sprints, detoured to Banks, near Southport, leaving twenty miles to cover to the finish from the final turn. This last stretch was into a gale of such strength that not a C.R.C. man finished inside ‘evens’. True, we were without our two best men, but all the Mersey Roads team beat ‘evens’, and truly proved their superiority. The fastest time of the day, 2-19-30 by Jimmy Jones was a terrific ride under the hard conditions. Result of team race:

J. C. Jones, 2-19-30 L. Williams, 2-31-33
S. Phillips, 2-24-3 G. Hearder, 2-32-57
J. E. Farrar, 2-26-45 H. Chantler, 2-33-22
T. H. Sexton, 2-29-0 F. Grisbrook, 2-33-38
J. R. Fer, 2-29-30 W. S. Partington, 2-33-42
F. Da Costa, 2-29-48 W. Waring, 2-34-6
Aggregate – 14-38-36 Aggregate – 15-19-18

Len Williams

Len Williams was first and fastest in our own club race incorporated in the event, with Grisbrook and Chantler second and third in the handicap. A depressed band of ‘Rogues’ made their way to lunch at the Queen’s Head at Chester, but we had to hand it to the Mersey Roads for their toughness. Looking back, I recall that as we made our way to Chester we crossed the line of the East Lancashire Road near Aintree then in course of construction.

Every year the North Road C.C. invited the twelve best fifty-milers of the day to ride in their Memorial ’50’ (in memory of N.R. members lost in the 1914-1918 War). This had always been an eagerly sought honour and great was our delight when this year Fred Turner received an invitation to compete. To indicate how highly we valued the selection here is an extract from the minutes of a Committee meeting held a week before the race: “‘The President (G. F. Mundell) congratulated Mr. F. Turner on his selection as one of the twelve best fifty-milers in the country and remarked that the selection was an honour both to himself and the Club ‘. Fred was not at his best and returned 2-16-48. Here is the full result:

North Road Memorial Fifty, July 13th, 1930

1. G. W. Jenkins, Hastings and St. Leonards 2-11-57

2. J. W. Brooke, Gomersal O.R.C. 2-13-16

3. H. Winstanley, Barnsley Road Club 2-13-57

4. F. A. Lipscombe, Ingleside C.C. 2-14-19

5. C. Holland, Midland C. and A.C. 2-14-47

6. W. R. Donovan, Kentish Wheelers 2-14-48

7. E. Bloodworth, Broad Oak Road Club 2-14-55

8. F. Turner, Cheshire Roads Club 2-16-48

9. J. P. Woodcock, Irish Road Club 2-27-2

F. W. Southall (Norwood Paragon), F. G. Frost (Allondon R.C.) and J. Bragg (Birchfield) were non-starters.

On the same day as the North Road event (July l3th) Stan Partington returned 2-26-12 in the Apollo Wheelers’ ’50’, and a week later Fred Turner confirmed his fine form by winning the Stretford Wheelers’ ’50’ in 2-14-31, Frank Grisbrook taking the second handicap prize with 2-26-47 and Jimmy Atherton finished outside “evens” with 2-33-15.

The last Sunday in July was the occasion of the Club ‘100’, the first event at this distance ever held by the Club. Needless to say, Fred Turner staged another runaway victory with a fastest time of 4-53-18. Harold Chantler was second fastest in 5-26-43 and took the first handicap award, and Stan Wild, with 5-39-10 was third in the handicap, Turner taking the second handicap from scratch. Other times were : Stan Partington, 5-31-43; Charlie Smith, 5-41-17; and Ron MacQueen, 5-43-43. J. B. Atherton, R. Gerrard, W. Waring, A. R. Bell and A. Fretwell retired.

Fred Turner was our sole representative in the Bath Road ‘100’ this year, but he put up a great show, his 4-48-11 (with a puncture) being fifth fastest time, and establishing yet another Club record. F. G. Frost (Allondon R.C.) won the event in 4-33-49. The East Liverpool Wheelers’ ’50’ was still a Bank Holiday fixture on the Shawbury triangle. Our three riders did little of note – Stan Partington, 2-30-16; Harold Chantler, 2-30-32; and R. MacQueen, 2-32-42. Ted Gilbert won his own club’s event in 2-13-32.

At last the Club ’12’ was held on a Sunday, but in spite of all that had been said about the advantages of the change from a Saturday event, there was a disappointing entry of 11, and of these 7 finished. Fred Turner again improved on his own Club record by winning with a mileage of 220 3/4 and taking third place in the handicap. Next man was Len Williams with 204 miles – second greatest distance and second also in the handicap, but Ron MacQueen improved enormously by covering 202 1/2 miles which gave him most deservedly the premier place in the handicap. Stan Partington was the only other rider to reach 200 miles; which he did exactly. We used a new course for the event and in searching for new feeding stations, Reg Danby, the Racing Sec., found a fine place, Mrs. Barker’s, at Four Lane Ends, Tarporley, which for many years proved to be an ideal venue for lunch and tea runs.

Turner’s fine ’12’ did not slow him down and a week later he returned 6th fastest time in the Potteries C.C. ’25’ with 1-6-58. Frank Grisbrook took the second handicap prize with 1-10-14 and Bill Waring did 1-10-38; Chris Price, 1-12-30; Albert Fretwell, 1-13-47, and Len Williams, 1-13-52. The Anfield ’24’ was held on this week-end (August 22/23), a month later than usual, but both our entrants, Power and MacQueen, retired, the winner being Tom Melia (Mersey Roads) with 380 1/2 miles.

Fred Turner now turned his eyes towards the record breaking field. He attacked the N.R.R.A. ‘100’, starting at Broken Cross and descending into Salop, but adverse conditions forced him to retire at 60 miles. Still in fine form, however, Fred returned second fastest time in the Palatine ’50’ (2-13-54) supported by Chris Price, 2-26-0, Frank Grisbrook 2-27-37, and Albert Fretwell 2-31-52.

In the Manchester Wheelers’ ’12’ G. B. Orrell (Anfield) won with 232 1/2 miles, and Fred, alhough improving on his own Club record with 224 miles, had to be content with third place. Charlie Smith was our only other finisher with 194 3/4 miles.

For the third year in succession we held our inter-club tandem ’50’ with the Manchester Wheelers, and an invitation to compete was extended to our enthusiastic friends in the Mersey Roads Club. The Wheelers won for the second year in succession, fastest time going to Johnny Berry and Harold Crye with 2-5-42. Arthur Wood with yet another new partner, Albert Fretwell, came second in 2-7-4, narrowly beating Stan Phillips and Jimmy Jones, Mersey Roads, by 11 seconds. Thirteen tandem pairs entered and all finished, but considering that three clubs were concerned the entry should have been better.

The racing season ended on October 5th with a club team competing in the Stretford Wheelers’ ’25’, Fred Turner returning 10th fastest time, 1-7-35, Frank Grisbrook 1-9-32, and Albert Fretwell 1-11-10.

Fred, however, had not had enough, and on October 12th he attacked the N.R.R.A. ’50’ record, starting at Hadnall, 5 miles north of Shrewsbury and working northwards into Cheshire. The anticipated tail-wind was not as strong as expected, and although not far outside record he retired with only a few miles to go after a most valiant effort.

Fred’s great and consistent all-round riding throughout the season paced him 8th in the Best All-Rounder Contest promoted for the first time this year by Cycling. To finish in the first 12 was an honour greatly coveted by the ‘cracks’ and in achieving the feat in the initial contest, Fred undoubtedly carved for himself a niche in cycling history.

Thanks to Fred it had been a great and thrilling year for the Club and perhaps no better way of ending this chapter would be to append the table containing the first twelve in the first ever Best All-rounder Competition :

1. F. W. Southall, Norwood Paragon 21.141 mph.

2. F. G. Frost, Allondon R.C. 20.992 mph.

3. G. B. Orrell, Anfield 20.981 mph.

4. E. Bloodworh, Broad Oak 20.978 mph.

5. J. W. Brooke, Gomersal 20.872 mph.

6. L. Cave, Vegetarian 20.865 mph.

7. C. Marshall, Vegetarian 20.859 mph.

8. F. Turner, Cheshire Roads Club 20.631 mph.

9. E. Gilbert, East Liverpool Wheelers 20.575 mph.

10. J. H. Brooks, Uxbridge 20.561 mph.

11. J. J. Salt, Liverpool Century 20.543 mph.

12. J. Lauterwasser, Finsbury Park 20.458 mph.

Fred’s average speed of 20-631 m.p.h. was computed from his rides of 2-13-54 in the Palatine ’50’, 4-48-11 in the Bath Road ‘100’, and 224 miles in the Manchester Wheelers’ ’12’.

As a postscript it is worth recording that in November of this year the Committee decided to appoint a leader for each club run, starting from a definite meeting place, Cheadle Green or St. Margaret’s, Altrincham. Hitherto, our runs had been go as you please, meeting at the lunch or tea venue.

  • New Club Captain

  • We have a new club captain! Terry Crosswell has agreed to take over the post from Phil! Thank you Terry.
    Terry would appreciate suggestions for destinations and offers to lead rides. He can be contacted through the Contact form.