Castelnau 1959

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Updated 29 August 2015

Yesterday or when they were young....


 Scanned from CYCLING, February 25, 1959

De Laune Does It Again!

Alan Rowe The Castelnau Surprise Man

TIME: 8.18 a.m. last Sunday morning. Scene: the finish south·west of London of the Castelnau C.C. 72-in. gear "25" (by default of the Balham this year's southern season-opener), the event 1hr. 18min. in progress, a small group round the as yet almost virgin result board. Sixty odd riders to come.

Enter a clubman, fresh from home. Bike suitably garaged in the ditch, he approaches the board. Dialogue:

“Cor! A' two '." Momentary pause. Eyebrows right up. ”Cor! Two' twos'!"

The big surprise that surprised him and almost everyone else? It wasn't John "Kav" Kavanagh, De Laune C.C., the first of those "two," off No. 10, home in 1·2-44, although it might well have been. Remember last year? With almost 100 men home the event was "won" by Scotsman Hislop Dickson and lost by trying-for-a-hat-trick Ron Sefton. Then came Kavanagh, No. 101, and the only man to beat 64min. It was a surprise that in a different way, by improving 55scc. to set a scorching "beat that" early best, he well nigh repeated on Sunday.

But it wasn't the surprise that kept eyebrows high and whistles low round the result board-the surprise that surprised Kavanagh.

Off five minutes after the determinedly defending "De Launer" went a 20 - year - old clubmate called Alan Rowe. Kavanagh knew that last year at Herne Hill in his first 4,000-metre pursuit ride Rowe had done 5min. 19sec.; that he'd won a couple of second-class events; that he'd twice beaten the hour on this course, his favourite; that the mild, damp conditions were to his liking. Kavanagh also knew, however, that Rowe was riding his first medium-gear event; that he lacks experience. And, indeed, among their clubmates at the finish, it was names like Keith Butler and Reading Wh. Peter Woodburn that aroused most trepidation on Kavanagh's account.

Shock number one came, therefore, for Kavanagh at the turn, where he found himself 15sec. down on a comfortably flying Rowe. Shock number two, more drastic, came at the finish, where Rowe arrived in superb style, without a sign of having been about to wilt, in 1·2·1

"He's done some fine rides," said Kav., "and he's going to be good. But I didn't think he was anywhere near so fit!"

The 60 men who went and came back after him, proved just how fit Rowe is. Only one could get within seconds of him-Woodburn, No 80, the Reading man, a superb stylist, gave Rowe a long, nervous wait and then let him off by doing 1-2-30. Others who ought to have been nearer that mark but weren't, included Len Jackson, new star of late 1958, one of whose cotter-pins fell out soon after starting; and Keith Butler, who was "all right" after losing six minutes getting rid of his breakfast (" He's had a 'morning’!" said father Stan, who knows).

One man who might have been a lot nearer but for misfortune was soldier John Hockley, who fell at the second of the three roundabouts on the way out, suffering arm, hip and ankle abrasions. What seemed to annoy him most was that a chap in front went round faster and stayed upright!

Behind Rowe, Woodburn and Kavanagh, Weybridge Wh. D. J. Hiley improved from eighth last year to push Charlotteville's Bill Lawrance from out of 1958's fourth place. Team honours went emphatically to De Laune over Charlotteville.

Entries were down from last year's full card to 83, of whom, as against 40 last year and 50 per cent of the field in 1957, 13 failed to start, presumably because it rained slightly up to No. 1 off,

(Gears restricted to 72-in.)

A. G. Rowe, De Laune C.C. 1 2 1
P. J. Woodburn, Reading Wh. 1 2 30
J. Kavanagh, De Laune C.C. 1 2 44
D. J. Hiley. Weybridge Wh. 1 4 22
W. Lawrance. Charlotteville 1 4 33
J. D. McKeown, Middx. Clarion 1 4 50
T. C. McGavin, Charlotteville 1 4 52
D. G. Hardson, Feltham R.C. 1 4 59
G. F. Anerbury. Worthing Excel. 1 5 1
J. Hockley. Army C.U. 1 5 26
R. Kay. Army C.U. 1 5 32
W. J. Fisher, Norwood Paragon 1 5 50

Team: De Laune C.C. (Rowe, Kavanagh, M. R. Dongworth, 1-6-42), 3-11-27, 1; Charlotteville C.C., 2.


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