Days Gone By - Cheering on cycle races through Suffolk over the decades
PUBLISHED: 14:30 11 July 2020
Cycling is currently very much in the spotlight, with more of us being urged to get on our bikes for the sake of both fitness and the environment.
Today we are looking back at some of the popular cycle races held around the region over the decades.
Some of these events have involved mainly local cyclists riding through the streets of their own town or village, while others saw top cyclists riding through the region. Some featured a mix of local and professional cyclists.
Our gallery features photos of races in Felixstowe, Sudbury, Mildenhall, Ixworth, Woodbridge and Bury St Edmunds - and a cycle race on the A140 back in the 1950s.
A previous article about cycle races in Felixstowe brought back memories for reader Ken Nichols, of the Wolsey Road Club.
He wrote: “Thank you for printing the pictures of the cycle racing at Felixstowe during the 1970s and 80s. They bring back many memories of fun, excitement and long days of hard work.
“As a member of the promoting cycling club, the Wolsey Road Club, I well remember how we had to persuade shopkeepers that closing roads was a good idea for the town, although the town council were all for such a sporting event and they donated a handsome cup to be presented to the professional winner.
“We also had to walk the streets and call on shops to get prizes. A sign of the times is that the professional winner took home the princely sum of £12 for racing for an hour, and having travelled perhaps 200 miles to the course before and afterwards.
MORE: When cyclists raced around Felixstowe seafront
“The idea of closing the seafront roads of an English seaside town in high summer was almost unheard of back then. Today they even close the Mall in London without another thought.
“All the helpers and officials were just giving their time for the sport, unlike big races now. I well remember getting to a farm outside the town at 5am to load a van with bales of straw, which we then had to put around the course at danger points.
“The races started in the morning and continued until about 4pm, when the winner of the professional race would finish. After the prizes were presented, the second hard bit would begin, for after marshalling all day, the course had to be taken down and the straw bales were then returned to the farmer. I think we slept very well that night, although we were 45 years younger and full of energy.
• What are your memories of cycle races? Email firstname.lastname@example.org To order photos, visit www.eadt.co.uk/myphotos24, or call Diane Townsend on 01603 772449
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