Avatar for caballero


Member since Dec 2009 • Last active Sep 2021
  • 2 conversations

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  • in Track Cycling and Velodromes
    Avatar for caballero

    The sport has lost two track stars from the past who sadly passed away in July and the beginning of September this year. I'm sure many of you former trackies would remember them, both from the Halesowen club.

    Graham Rees born in 1949 won several National Sprint titles, the first as a junior in about 1966 and went on to win the tile in 1971 and 72. He rode for GB and also Wales and gained medals at National level in team pursuit. He was a very successful and popular rider but tragically contracted Parkinsons disease which he battled for many years - but was still a regular spectator at Halesowen and still able to get on the bike. Graham lost the battle passing away in July this year and is survived by his wife Anne and his son who lives in New Zealand.

    Dave Watkins born in 1945 also won National titles in the sprint and represented GB on many occasions and England in the 1966 Commonwealth games in Jamaica. He was a fearless rider with an incredible turn of speed. He continued racing into his late 30s and in later years turned professional.
    Dave later gave much back to the sport as a member of the BCF Executive Committee. Even in his heyday he was more than happy to help and advise younger riders. Nobody who witnessed the National Sprint final at Salford Park in 1967 ? could forget the horrendous crash that Dave suffered, Reg Barnett. Dave Watkins and Fred Booker fighting for the line side by side when Dave lost his front tyre and hit the tarmac at some 45 mph. The front page of Cycling that week showed Dave between Reg and Fred with his front wheel at right angles to his direction of travel. In his typical understated manner all he would say of his injuries ' I was bad after that one'. Dave had a very successful career with Dunlop as a development engineer in the competition department and registered many patents for tyre design. He was well known in motor racing and the MotoGP paddocks as Dave was a 'Guru' for tyre design and selection. Dave passed away a few days after attending Graham's funeral and he is survived by his wife Dot and daughter Celeste.

    Both great ambassadors for our sport and very sadly missed.

    The images show:
    Dave Watkins (foreground) in a madison with Jeff Platten
    Graham in team pursuit at Leicester behind Jeff Platten followed by Charlie Newman
    Graham winning in a very rough National junior title final at Halesowen

  • in Track Cycling and Velodromes
    Avatar for caballero

    Thanks for mentioning the Butts - the Easter Monday meetings were a big draw with the organiser Charlie Viner bringing over top sprinters from Europe.
    I can also add Cannock track - yes Cannock ! to the list of lost velodromes - it was demolished I believe in the early 70s whilst still rideable

  • in Track Cycling and Velodromes
    Avatar for caballero


    Obviously Derby should have been in the mix and was discussed, however a number of considerations were unfavourable, seating capacity, access etc. Halesowen is an outdoor facility which is and will be much used. It is also a multi-sport facility, Athletics, tennis etc, it is historically a conservation site so further development would be problematic. Halesowen members are amongst those driving the petition and working tirelessly for a new track in the knowledge that it will benefit all.

    The people working for the establishment of the Midlands velodrome are as much concerned with the legacy of the games and future development of the sport. Many of you may have raced at or spectated at Salford park track which was 500 yards from the M6 motorway , it was demolished by Birmingham City Council, despite great opposition, being in constant use. The land was given over to five-a-side football pitches leaving Birmingham without a cycling facility.

    A similar fate befell another great facility - Saffron Lane track due to reprehensible inaction by Leicester Council.

    Track cycling was a 'Cinderella' sport and as such allowed Local Authorities to ignore or maltreat it. We have never been in a stronger position to get funding and develop cycling. It's not about competing with other velodromes we just want to grow the sport and return a facility that was robbed from Midland cyclists and spectators.

    A centrally-base Midlands velodrome will be of benefit to all who love the track - and those who will do in the future, please join us and show the politicians the strength of feeling in our community .

    Thank you all for your interest and input, it is most appreciated.

  • in Track Cycling and Velodromes
    Avatar for caballero

    Can I ask those of you who would be supportive of the establishment of an indoor velodrome in the West Midlands to sign the online petition please- change.org - There is no suitable facility in the west Midlands where the Local Authority bid to hold the games with the strange idea of staging the track cycling in London. I appreciate this bodes well for London-based fans but we would all benefit long-term from such a facility in the midlands. Many thanks




  • in Bikes & Bits
    Avatar for caballero

    It's a bit lateI know but re Steve Thornhill - he started out as a mechanic at a shop in Ulleries Road, Solihull run by Tom and Jan Crowther - Steve was a first class wheel builder and mechanic. He eventually set up his own shop the other side of Birmingham - as previously stated on Bristol Road Selly Oak. I understood that the badged frames he sold - like so many other dealers including Tom Crowthers - were Mercian. I had a machine from Steve which was actually a Peugeot resprayed and badged Thornhill. I still have it and it is still in (occasional) use. Steve was a really good sort and sad loss to bike business....

  • in Bikes & Bits
    Avatar for caballero

    Superb photos, would like to see more.

    Very sad to hear Trevor Bull has passed away, nice bloke. The guy pushing him off was one Kim Cope who had the dubious honour of being the first rider ever to come off on the day the Leicester track was opened for use - it was of decidedly dodgy geometry initially, at speed there was little transistion out of the banking onto the straights - it was recified. a superb facility - the banking was thirty seven and a half degrees from the vertical - I watched in awe at the '80 world champs in the sprint final as the Russian and Polish riders did a track stand at the top of the banking under total control for a good five minutes.

    I have a photo I took of Paul Medhurst and I think Andy Coady or may have been Dave Marsh in a quarter or semi final in the amateur sprint at Leicester in 1975. You can see the 'Antipodean' attitude of Mr Medhurst, very entertaining.
    I saw him trying to beat Ian Hallam - as per the other photo -and he used every tactical trick in the book - but Ian Hallam wasn't a real sprinter with acceleration he just went from the gun and used his speed and stamina to burn the opposition off.

    The track surface was very fine concrete and gave a burn like a hot iron on contact..