West Suffolk Wheelers honour retiring membership secretary Peter Heath
PUBLISHED: 13:40 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:40 08 February 2018
Riders in West Suffolk Wheelers’ Suffolk Punch reliability trials faced a challenging morning in the hilliest parts of Suffolk, climbing and descending through villages like Ashley, Ousden, Whepstead and Hawkedon while playing hide-and-seek with a cold north-east wind, writes Fergus Muir.
Before the “off” there was a brief pause for West Suffolk Wheelers chairman Neville Pettitt to make a presentation to retiring club membership secretary Peter Heath.
West Suffolk members had voted to award him the Mothersole Trophy for Service to the Club – together with an engraved glass tankard.
During Peter’s 15-year tenure of office, club membership has increased from around 100 to 600-plus, a record few could match.
With over 40 years experience putting on events like the Suffolk Punch organiser Justin Wallace knows how to write the necessary pre-ride heads-up in an eye-catching way.
“Wear your oldest kit – unless you are planning to be on the front all day as it’s going to be messy” he wrote. “The usual hedge butchery has been going on – try and miss the thorns”
Suffolk roads certainly have some sharp surprises waiting to deflate the tyres of those cycling on them at the moment.
I was fortunately puncture-free on my ride from Stowmarket to Bradfield Combust for the Tricycle Association Regional Lunch on Sunday, but I came across a cyclist outside a village church with front wheel in hand.
He had a beautiful carbon-framed bike with 11-speed and deep-section carbon rims, well equipped with under-saddle tool kit. However, as I crossed the road, towing my tricycle, he asked
“Have you got a pump, by any chance?”
I produced mine, but he must have been a bit frustrated when it proved I could only half-remember how this natty miniature two-speed device was supposed to work.
However we were saved by a lady dressed in her Sunday-best, who walked up, rather surprisingly holding a large and splendid track pump.
“Is this any help – it’s my husband’s” she said - “He’s on that ride from Bury ....I noticed you as I came out of church”.
Thanks to our Good Samaritan we were soon happily heading to our separate destinations.
The rest of West Suffolk Wheelers’ annual awards were presented at a combined awards and roller racing night. Among a large number of prizewinners, Laura Brown Paul Vickers and Viv Smith had especially big hauls, while in the roller final a smooth-pedalling Simon Wallace overcame a gritty challenge from Malcolm MacFarlane.
At the Tricycle Association lunch Ian Pike and Lez Young were the main trophy winners while Peter Holland received his certificate as a member of the team that broke the national 15 mile team record in 2017.
The Wolsey Road Club and Suffolk CTC annual lunch was at the Fynn Valley Golf Club where the greatest pleasure was the presence of members Karen Eaton and Colin Kindred, both of who have had emergency hospital stays recently.
Karen was prominent in the racing award lists as were Bob Quarton and Steve Cave, while David Eaton was won the award for best attendance on the Wolsey’s Saturday morning clubruns.
Plans for a new event on the Lotus test track at Hethel have been announced. It will be a full day on Saturday 17th March with for racing for all categories, ranging from Under Eight Girls and Boys up to Elite category stars.
With room for 100 riders in most races the senior events will be a much needed opportunity for new competitors to get bunched racing experience at a time when entries to established events on the road are increasingly oversubscribed.
Entries – via the British Cycling website, are already open. It is emphasised that NO entries will be taken on the day.
Organiser Ken Jolliffe said: “Should Saturday 17th March be successful, another similar event will be organised on Sat 18th Aug, provided it fits in with a day free from use by Lotus Cars Ltd.”