BACKPEDAL: 1947 Rough Stuff cancelled during record breaking cold snap

1947 Feb 23 Sources Various BCC Ephemera Balham Cyclists Steve Smith; Fred Hatch Venue Surrey / Kent Meeting Balham Rough Stuff Meeting Date 1947 February 23 Race 25 Mile Race Result Cancelled Bad Weather

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One aspect of the Balham Rough Stuff that made it unique was the tough conditions. Ridden in February or March the weather was often inclement and that often meant a treacherous surface.

Surprising then that it was only ever cancelled once because of the weather and it took  one of the coldest winters in England for many years to get it called off.

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We’ve managed to get our hands on an entry form, guidance notes, start list, directions and map for the event.

It was 2/ to enter and for the winner prizes worth £2 2, runner up £1 10 and £1 for third. Prerequisutes were a brake and a bell – ‘two brakes on free-wheel machines in ordinary touring costume’

Riders were warned “to take particular care on the hill leading down from Flinshire Farm as it is dangerous to take this hill at too high a speed”.

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It was traditional that the event was opened and closed by riders of the hosts. SN Smith and FC Hatch were meant to do the honours for The Balham.

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The 1947 event, scheduled for Sunday February 23, was sold to riders as ‘your best training ride’ . It attracted 82 entrants from over 20 clubs from London and the Home Counties.

Alas, the weather got the better of it, or as the Club Road Secretary Bob Rance wrote in the March 1947 Edition of the Club Newsletter, “The weather decided to enter the Rough Stuff and won the event hands down”.

The course map and full directions

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START: – Little Farleigh Green, Farleigh Court Road, Farleigh, follow road bearing right. At the end of the road turn left (M), follow road and at the end turn right to cross-roads (M), bear slightly left down hill. Follow road through Bedlested to main road (M), turn right, continue past top of Titsey Hill and take road on left leading to Woldingham (C). Continue down road  and at Flinthouse Farm, by cross-roads, turn left (M), continue down steep hill and under railway arch turning left at T roads (M), continue along road passing under two railway arches to New Oxted where turn left opposite church (C). Continue along the road and at Park Farm bear left along lane marked ‘No through-way for motors’ where main road bears right (M), continue along lane to lodge gates of Titsey Park where turn sharp right along bridle path (C). Follow lane through to Limpsfield-Titsey road (M), continue straight over road, through gate, and up narrow lane. Near top of hill bear left through another gate, and up naroow lane. Near top of hill bear left through another gate and then right to the Limpsfield-Westerham main road (M), turn left towards Westerham. Follow main road for approximately 1 1/4 miles until just past the ‘Grasshopper’ public house, where take first narrow road on left (C). Continue along to T roads, where turn right, along Pilgrim’s Way (M). Follow Pilgrim’s Way going straight over cross-roads (M), to Westerham Hill, where turn left (M) to Hawley’s Corner (C). Turn right and take right hand fork and continue along for half a mile to fork roads (M). Take left hand fork and follow road to Scott’s Lodge (M), where turn left taking taking road through Horns Green and on to Cudham. Continue through Cudham to steep hill on the left (M), turn down hill taking right hand fork, a few yards down hill, and follow road through Downe Court and on to Down (C). Turn left in Downe past pond, and keep to left hand road at fork just past pond, follow road bearing left through Single Street to Berry’s Green (M), turn left down Berry’s Hill and turn right halfway down the hill (M) along Berry’s Green Road. Turn right at end of Berry’s Green Road (M) and follow road to Hawley Corner (M). Cross over main Westerham-Biggin Hill road and take right hand fork. Follow on to cross-roads (M) where bear right up hill to Tatsfield Village (C) bearing right past ‘Old Ship Inn’.  Follow lane, and at next fork (M) bear right over Polsteeple Hill, at foot of hill (C) turn sharp left. Follow road to cross-roads (M) turn right and take a narrow rough lane on right, Crown Ash (M), at top of hill (C) turn sharp left down Saltbox Hill and then up Jewels Hill to cross-roads where turn left (M), follow road, take first on right (M) right (M) then first on left (M) to muddy lane on left (M), turn down lane and at end (M), turn left. Follow road and take first road on right (M), Continue along Farleigh Court Road where turn right (M) to finish at Farleigh Green.

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Sources

Various Balham Ephemera from the Club’s own collection.

Club Newsletter The Balham Gazette, March 1947

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