BACKPEDAL: 1899 Club Championship re-run at Crystal Palace after dispute

1899 August 16 & October 7, 13 Sources Sporting Life; Pall Mall Gazette; Morning Post Cyclists AE Wills, A Woods, GRV Willis, WG Wills, AE Marshall, H Bugg, T Potter, G Bottoms, AJ Falkenstein, F Jones Venue Crystal Palace Meeting 1899 Club Championship Meeting Dates 1899 August 16 & October 11 Races One Mile; Twenty-Five Mile Race Result Unknown, 25 mile race re-run

Worth reading cuttings just for the phrase: “The members, by consent of the Nation Cyclists’ Union re-ran the event”

Our hunt to piece together the story of the Balham CC Club Championship has led us to our oldest and most intriguing find yet.

The 1899 Club Championship was held on the 16 August at Crystal Palace. Some familiar names are on the card, most notably the new star of Balham CC, Albert E Wills and his brother William.

SportingLife 160899
The big day promoted on the day: Sporting Life 16 August 1899

The results are unknown but a report from the Morning Post dated 13 October 1899 suggests some controversy on how it all played out.

Morning Post article with reference to NCU consent

On the 11th October 1899, three riders are at the start line again – “at 4 o’ clock thus allowing for the race to be finished before dusk” – for the 25mile handicap after a dispute about placings. It must have been quite a kerfuffle as the re-run required the consent of the National Cyclists’ Union.

PallMallGaz 991007
Re-run: Pall Mall Gazette 7 October 1899

Here’s the original line-ups with handicaps in full:

The One Mile

AE Wills scratch; A Woods scratch; GRV Willis 30yards start, WG Wills 30, AE Marshall 80; H Bugg 100; T Potter 100; G Bottoms 140; AJ Falkenstein 170; and F Jones 220.

Twenty-Five Miles

AE Wills scratch; A Woods scratch; GRV Willis 1min 30secs; WG Wills 1min 30secs; AE Marshall 4mins; H Bugg 4mins; T Potter 4mins 30secs; G Bottoms 5mins 30secs; AJ Falkenstein 7mins; and F Jones 11mins

Twenty-Five Miles Re-run

The line-up for the re-run was AE Marshall 4mins start; G Bottoms 5mins 30secs and AJ Falkenstein 7mins started, H Bugg (4mins) who was also eligible not going to the mark. Bottoms retired in the 13th mile and Falkenstein beat Marshall by over a mile for first place.

No reason is given for the re-run or why the top 3 weren’t there.

AE Wills was the club 50mile champion in 1899 and went on to an extraordinary career that we’ve documented before. He often raced with his brother William on a tandem.

Albert Wills

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