WALLER’S BICYCLE CONTESTS AT MIDDLESBROUGH (1881)

WALLER’S BICYCLE CONTESTS AT MIDDLESBROUGH

On Saturday afternoon a large number of persons assembled in the huge tent belonging to Mr G W Waller in the Cattle Market to witness the first races organised by the champion bicyclist on this his first second visit to Middlesborough. The patronage accorded to the promoter on Saturday was very gratifying, but only what was deserved by one who has done so much to encourage this which is undoubtedly the most enjoyable and fascinating sport ever taken up by the young generation.; indeed, it is not only the youthful part of the community who have almost come to view the pleasurable part of existence as “the world on wheels” – the more mature members of society have caught the “fever” and although, perhaps, in but few cases do they venture to control the spirited two-wheeler, yet in every part of England – and every other land – may they be seen skimming along on tricycles, as happy as kings. The arrangements of the tent are similar to those of last year, with the one exception that the ends of the tracks are elevated more, in order to allow of the riders rounding the somewhat sharp corners with safety; indeed, to a spectator it appears incredible that the competitors – occasionally going at a speed of about 24 miles an hour round the curve in safety, and even from onlookers who know how to govern the “iron horse” may occasionally be heard some exclamation expressive at once of surprise and alarm. On Saturday there were but two mishaps and, happily, neither of those were attended with any serious consequences. In one case Mr L Marshall, of Hartlepool, probably owing to the head of his bicycle getting jammed, ran right off the track, and, turning a complete somersault, almost precipitated himself and his machine through the canvas partition into the dressing room., without, however, doing himself any injury. Mr G Hardy, the captain of the Stockton B C was the other unfortunate, his chance of winning one of the prizes in the five miles race being entirely destroyed by the india-rubber tyre coming off his front wheel. Owing to the unaccountable delay of the train, George Waller and three of the Newcastle amateur representatives did not arrive until the final of the amateur race was being decided. This in a measure robbed the event of some of its interest, although certainly the contest was one of the best and most exciting ever seen in Middlesborough, the special feature the really splendid riding of Mr West (Dean Bridge,) on whom A Crombie (Middlesborough), who was asked to concede him 100 yards, never gained an inch. Mr W G Begley (London), acted as referee. The following is a description of the

Five Miles Amateur Handicap

First Heat

W Gellender (Newcastle), scratch; J Wilkinson (Dene Bridge), 150 yds; J MacDonald (Middlesbrough), 300 yds; G Spence (Seaham), 210 yds; and W Porter (Middlesbrough), 400 yds. After going about a mile, Wilkinson overtook Porter and at two miles Gallender passed him and took the lead, which he maintained for two or three laps. After that Wilkinson again took command, Porter being third, followed by MacDonald and Spence. This order was kept for some laps, when MacDonald passed Porter and Wilkinson spurted past the scratch man. After doing 4 miles 4 laps McDonald retired and Gellender and Wilkinson again exchanged places. The former, however, could never get away from his apponent, to whom he had conceded a lap and Wilkinson eventually won. The winner rode a 52-inch No 0 Premier with ball bearings, Porter bestriding an ordinary club roadster and Gellender a 52-inch Northern. Time, 17 minutes.

Second Heat

J Woods (Newcastle), 200 yards and L Marshall (Hartlepool), 400 yards, went to their work, the former allowing the latter 200 yards. The third lap, whilst going round the scoring end corner, Marshall ran right off the track and completely “ashed” his machine. To everyone’s surprise, however, he procured another mount and rode one mile one lap, when, seeing he had no chance, he retired, Woods being allowed to dismount.

Third Heat

Only A Crombie (Middlesbrough), 50 yards, and J West (Dene Bridge), 150 yards, turned out, the former conceding the latter 100 yards. After running two miles Crombie, who had been losing a lot of ground, pulled up, and West passed him. Crombie, however, again spurted and made the pace hot for a lap or two, but he appeared to be out of form and could not shake off his opponent, who eventually won. Time, 17 mins 50 secs. Crombie rode a 55-inch plated Carver with ball bearings to both wheels, whilst West’s mount was a 52-inch No 0 Premier.

Fourth Heat

C E Harling (Darlington), 165 yards, J S Meredith (Hartlepool), 280 yards, G Hardy (Stockton), 320 yards and J Saville (Eaton), 350 yards, came out. After doing three miles five laps Harling retired. Hardy and Saville, getting level, made a good run of it, as they kept overhauling one another amidst the most tremendous excitement. In the last mile, however, the Stockton representative proved too much for the Eaton man and won a grand race by a few yards. Time, 16 mins 14 secs. Hardy rode a 54-inch British Challenge and Saville a 52-inch made by himself.

The Final

For the final J Wilkinson, J Woods, J West, G Hardy and Saville competed, the latter by virtue of being the quickest loser. In the second lap West went past Hardy and Saville and went along at a good pace. At two miles Woods was leading, with West second half a lap behind. When he had scored 2 miles 6 laps the rubber of Hardy’s front wheel came off and he had a nasty “spill.” The machine was pulled out of the way without any accident to the other riders. At three miles West went along at a splendid rate and was lustily cheered. He diminished the distance between himself and Woods in a surprising manner, although the latter rode very well and at 4 miles 4 laps he passed Woods. Wilkinson and Saville now raced for third place, but the former proved too much for the latter in the long run. Woods made a splendid effort to overtake West, but without avail and the former came in first by half a machine’s length, Woods being second and Wilkinson third. Time, 15 minutes 55 seconds. The first prize is a silver and oak punch bowl; second, silver and oak biscuit box; and third, plated cruet stand.

100 Miles Professional Race

At about 5:25 pm and immediately after the conclusion of the amateur race, the following professionals, after a turn or two, were dispatched on their way: – G W Waller (Newcastle), J W Lamb (Newcastle), J Cleminson (Cramlington), W Parkes (West Moor), Tom Battensby (Seaton Delaval) and J Skeene (Seaton Delaval). After riding for an hour, the whole lot had ridden 18 miles 3 laps. At the 29th mile Cleminson and Waller left Parkes and at 29 miles 8 laps did the same to Skeene and Battensby, the couple leaving Lamb behind at the 30th mile. At the second hour Waller and Cleminson’s scores stood at 35 miles 7 laps; Battensby and Skeene, 35 miles 6 laps; Lamb 35 miles 5 laps; and Parkes, who had to dismount owing to his saddle slipping, 33 miles 5 laps. The scores registered 50 miles for Waller and Cleminson in 2 hours 53 minutes 27 seconds, Skeene and Battensby in 2 hours 53 minutes 75 seconds and Lamb 2 hours 54 minutes 25 seconds. At the third hour Waller and Cleminson had ridden 51 miles 9 laps; Battensby and Skeene, 51 miles 8 laps; Lamb, 50 miles 3 laps; and Parkes, 46 miles 10 laps. The fourth hour saw the score as follows: – Waller left the track at 63 miles 4 laps; and Cleminson took the lead with a score of 68 miles 1 lap; Battensby and Skeene, 68 miles; Parkes, 61 miles 7 laps and Lamb, 61 miles 6 laps. At the sixth hour Cleminson still had the lead of 1 lap and a score of 83 miles 6 laps; whilst Battensby, who had raced for five laps with Skeene, had a score of 83 miles 5 laps; Skeene, 83 miles; Lamb, 70 miles 8 laps; and Parkes, 67 miles 8 laps. Some grand spurting now took place between Cleminson and Battensby, the latter repeatedly trying to gain the lead, but without avail. Lamb retired after riding 80 miles and Parkes on accomplishing 70 miles 2 laps. Cleminson eventually won the race, doing the 100 miles in 6 hours 4 minutes 10 seconds, Battensby accomplished 99 miles 9 laps and Skeene 92 miles 4 laps in the same time. Rain fell gently in the afternoon, but increased in force as time wore on and towards the end of the race the competitors had to ride very carefully, owing to the fact that the rain poured through the canvas on to the track, rendering it slippery and unsafe. The proceedings did not terminate until after eleven o’clock, but in future the time for closing will be ten o’clock pm.

The North-Eastern Daily Gazette, September 19, 1881; pg.3

 

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