Balham CC and the Tokyo Olympics: Terry West and the 1964 Men’s Road Race

Terry West was just 17 years old when he was winning Balham Cycling Club trophies. Between 1957 and 1961 he dominated on the track and road winning the Huntley Cup as overall club Road and Track Champion five consecutive years and the EH Stevens Cup for members fastest 50 (on any course) between 1957-1962. He walked away from the 1958 BCC awards dinner with the trophies for the fastest 25, 50, 50 (club), overall points on track and road for the year and Mass Start Points Cup. He also won the junior club champion trophy.

In the early-mid sixties he was at his peak, claiming third place at the Tour of Britain (Milk Race); 6th on the 11th stage of the Tour de l’Avenir and 6th at the National Championships. He also represented Britain at two world championships in 1963 and ’64

Tour de l’Avenir GB Team. Terry West is far-right in photo

In 1964 he was also chosen to represent GB at the Tokyo Olympics in the men’s individual road race where he was officially placed 26th although he finished in a large bunch sprint.

It was a strong field. The Belgian team for example was made up of Walter Godefroot, Eddy Merckx, Roger Swerts and Józef Boons!

You can view the final sprint on YouTube and Olympeida.Org has the following description of the race: “The relatively easy course kept the pack mostly together throughout the race. A few breakouts occurred, but the last of those ended 15 km from the finish. Merckx tried to get away with 1.5 km to go, but only managed a gap of some 20m before getting caught by the pack. The two leaders of the sprint-out were Italy’s Mario Zanin and Denmark’s Kjell Rodian, with Zanin narrowly edging Rodian to win the gold medal.

Eddy Merckx was in the mix at the finish, but the great Belgian rider was not a strong enough and finished 12th. Merckx turned professional in April 1965 and the rest is well…well documented.

The 1964 Olympic Men’s Individual Road Race

West finished cycling soon after 1965 but took to Squash where he played to county standard. In 2019 he attended a reunion with fellow Tokyo ’64 GB competitors. We’re trying to make contact so if you know where he is, invite him our way!


Further information

Terry also rode for Morden Cycle Racing Club at this time, newly established in 1957 and as the name suggests specialising in racing. It was not uncommon for cyclists to be members of more than one club although our records do not make it clear as to whether he was a member of both clubs at the same time or if he made the move to ride exclusively Morden.

Known results

1963

  • 3rd in Manx International, Douglas, Isle of Man
  • 1st in Morden Summer Road Race, Morden, Surrey
  • 1st in Croydon Advertiser Trophy, Croydon
  • 41st in General Classification, Tour of Britain, (Milk Race), Blackpool, Lancs
  • 3rd in Tour of the Cotswolds, Shipston on Stour, Gloucestershire
  • 7th in Criterium des Vainqueurs, Chigwell, Essex
  • 1st in Ashdown Forest Road Race, Ashdown Forest, Hampshire

1964

  • 4th in Stage 11 Tour of Britain, (Milk Race), Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 4th in Stage 12 Tour of Britain, (Milk Race), Morecambe, Lancs
  • 3rd in General Classification Tour of Britain, (Milk Race), Blackpool, Lancs
  • 8th in Mountains classification Tour of Britain, (Milk Race), Blackpool, Lancs
  • 1st in Vaux Gold Tankard, Wolsingham, Durham
  • 23rd World Amateur Championship, Individual Road Race, Sallanches, France
  • 26th in Olympic Games, Individual Road Race, Amateurs, Tokyo, Japan 

1965

  • 6th in National Road Championship, Amateurs, Harlow, Essex
  • 2nd in Stage 2 Huntsman Ales – Easter Four Day, Bournemouth, Dorset
  • 3rd in General Classification Huntsman Ales – Easter Four Day, Bournemouth, Dorset 
  • 2nd in Stage 2 Streatham C.R.C. – Dover Two Day, Dover, Kent
  • 3rd in General Classification Streatham C.R.C. – Dover Two Day, Dover, Kent
  • 3rd in Tour of the Cotswolds, Shipston on Stour, Gloucester
  • 6th in Vaux Gold Tankard, Wolsingham, Durham
  • 6th Stage 11 Tour de l’Avenir, France
  • 40th World Amateur Championship, Individual Road Race, Lasarte, Spain

The results of the 1964 road race are somewhat in dispute. The 1964 Official Report and 1964 Official Results both list “all” finishers, but they only agree in the first 35 places. In fact, the Report only lists 86 finishers while the Results lists 107 finishers. The video clearly shows a break in finishing before 99 cross the line. Source: Olympeida.Org

Another photo of the road race

The course

Sources

Olympedia.Org race description

Club records and trophies

Morden CRC

Team GB Website

Official 1964 Olympic Games Report

Pro cycling stats website

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