Monday, 7 May 2012

Dave Whitehead

Nottingham Wheelers 25 TT in 1962
A big thank you to Dave Whitehead for sending in his story and pictures. Dave sent the following.

"I hope the following may be of interest to some readers......

In July 1961 I was fortunate enough to establish a new fastest 25 miles TT record in the Manchester RTTC District ( J-Courses) - 56m 59s.

A couple of days later my old pal "Ginger" Bates (Liverpool Unity CC) telephoned to say "Harry Quinn says if you tell him what you want he'll send you a new bike". Remember these were the days of amateur sport, the prize for winning an open "25" was about 30 shillings (£1-50) and it could only be claimed by submitting a receipt for cycling equipment for at least the prize value. This was Harry's way of supporting some riders and of course, if one went fast on a Harry Quinn bike he would maybe sell many more. I was a full time student at the time studying for a degree in Mathematics.   - -  -  - I said I would like a 23", 73 degrees parallel track machine with 28 spoked wheels on L/F Airlite hubs. I was one of the last riders to regularly ride 'fixed' for short distance time trials. The beautiful new machine, finished in white with the HARRY QUINN  decals in bright red, arrived shortly afterwards.
I used it for the remaider of the 1961 season, winning three 25's and a 30. Generally highly place (top 6 ) in other events, and I rode a couple of Track League meetings at Fallowfield on the new machine.

At the start of the 1962 season Robin Murray and I travelled to the London St Christophers CC 25 on the last Sunday in February - before the TT season started up north. The event was on the G9 course on the Brighton Road in Surrey ( Where Gatwick Airport is now.) It snowed. Robin finishe 2nd with a time of 1h 7m   25s and I was 3rd with 1h 7m 45s. I rode in a full TorinoSport woolen training suit. The prize 'money' ( £1-10s and £1-00 ) certainly didn't justify the travelling but maybe the prestige of 2nd and 3rd places did? I didn't have a terribly good 1962 season, a crash on the track leaving me needing new teeth meant I achieved a number of 2nd's 3rd's and 4th's but no solo wins. With Apollo Wheelers we had a number of team wins and , as I recall three Team TT wins. In the Championship "25" ( held on Merseyside that year), I was a seeded rider ( off No. 100) but only placed 33rd (58-34). Riders I often beat were in the top 10.  - Still short of teeth at that time!
Robin and I were 1st and 2nd (in that order) in the BCF M/cr Division 4000m pursuit.

I spent 1963 gaining the BSc Degree I should have got in 1962.

In 1964 fixed wheel time trialling was over. Road bikes with one large ring and a close ratio block were the norm. I didn't ride mant trck events and I'm afraid I can't  remember what happened to the frame. I still have the 28-spoked track wheels 'tied-and-soldered'  - NEVER NEEDED ANY ATTENTION or REPAIR.
Thank you Harry.
Incidentally - Another Merseyside rider - Norman Shiel, (57min 08sec) had held the 25miles record I broke .
Dave Whitehead"

London St Christophers CC 25 TT in 1962

In a later e-mail Dave added the following information.

"Up to mid july 1961 I was a "fair" 25 miles Timtriallist (I hate the word "tester") Having won one or two events , done a short '58' in 1960 in Manchester and a short '57' on the E3 course in Essex - I was studying at London University.
I did the (long) '56' on my Carpenter track bike (88" gear I recall). This was a few seconds faster than Norman Shiel's previous best in M/cr set in 1957.
As a result of the ride Harry Quinn sent his offer so my rides on the Quinn machine were all after the record.
Hope tis helps clear up the sequence of events. I'll dig out "PROOF" of the record ride and send it.
I don't know how many of the Liverpool riders from that era are still about. some of them would remember me...... Ginger (EG) Bates of course, Dave Allen & Brian Green (Port Sunlight) Keith Boardman, I'm sure is still around. Charly McCoy  and the Melling boys.....Joe McLean, Frank Beattie Geoff Hughes (Birkenhead) and Norman Bartley."

So if any of Dave's old competitors are still around, i'm sure he'd like to hear from you.

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