BACKPEDAL: Mud and snow make for tough first Rough Stuff since WW2

 

1948 March 3 Source Cycling Balham Cyclists Ken Smith Venue Surrey / Kent Meeting Balham Rough Stuff Meeting Date 1948 February 29 Race 25 Mile Race Result Viking RC’s FT Devonald wins and Addiscombe CC take home the team prize

Worth reading cutting just for the phrase: “He admitted the temptation to copy one competitor who had fallen and decided that a roadside sleep in the sun was a far more practical way of spending the morning”


The season has started – officially! London’s traditional “pipe-opener”, the Balham CC Rough Riders’ “25” proved to be 25 muddy miles of thrills and spills won in rather runaway fashion by East Londoner FT Devonald of the Viking RC. The improvement in the weather during last week, culminating in a spring-like morning on Sunday, was much needed on the Surrey-Kent roads, paths and tracks on which the event was run, several parts of the course still being snow-covered on Sunday morning and mainly just rideable – if caution was exercised. Some of those not so cautious took tumbles, but there were no serious spills and two-thirds of the 75 who faced timekeeper Alan Gordon returned to him in times varying from two to three hours. Hill-climb champion Vic Clark was on the card but was a non-starter; Charlotteville’s George Nightingale thoroughly enjoyed himself in getting around without falling off in two hours. 40mins. – He admitted the temptation to copy one competitor who had fallen and decided that a roadside sleep in the sun was a far more practical way of spending the morning! TC Ginn, one of the favourites, gave the Addiscombe a sound start in the team section with a time of 2.1.5 to get second to Devonald; JB Smith and AW Boynton were close to him to assure an Addiscombe win, while RF Cooke, despite a puncture and a crash when he was forced on to the “rough” owing to other traffic, was seventh in 2.9.11. This, or even the times of AR Dunning or SE Harvey, would have given the Addiscombe first place. It was a good sporting event – the first “Balham” since the war, last year’s trial, it will be recalled, being cancelled when roads were impassable.

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Original article from Cycling, 3 March 1948

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Photos from Ken Smith’s scrapbook from the 1948 race. Captioned by the man himself.
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At the end of the race, probably on Farleigh Common. Centre Front is Balham CC’s Charlie Press. All others as yet unidentified

roughriders1948racecard

Your Help

Have you or any family members got any photos or club memorabilia from the Balham Rough Stuff ?  Did you ride in it in the 50s and 60s? Email me at balhamcyclingclub@btinternet.com or drop me a line in the comments box. I would love to hear from you.


Sources

Race report from Cycling Weekly formerly Cycling which I found in the online scrapbook of De Laune CC

Ken Smith photographs from his scrapbook

Picture on Farleigh Common courtesy of Joan Brown

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