In 1974 I was one of the attendees at a Union Cycliste International (UCI) Commissaires course.  It was held in Cardiff and lasted a full week. My good friend Gerry McDaid had already qualified as an International  Commissaire at a previous course and was one of the instructors. We spent a full week learning and interpreting the then UCI rules and regulations for all the disciplines then in being (no mountain biking then!). Tests were held at the end of the week and I believe all students passed at one of the three levels. I just missed qualifying for Grade 1 (which entitled the Commissaire to takes charge of World and Olympic events) and had to settle for grade 2. It was difficult for me to undertake overseas appointments as my business was in full swing and required my attention so I was limited to UK events which included one of Mike Barrett’s  Tour of Britain events in the late seventies, a couple of visits to the Isle of Man for the Manx International run by Curwen Clague, and various city centre pro races.

In 1976 I stood for a position on the British Cycling Federation’s Racing Committee and was successfully elected and served for two three year terms. During that period I worked with people such as the late Benny Foster MBE, Norman Grattage, Peter Howarth, Keith Audas, Stuart Benstead and the Federation’s Racing Secretary Brian Wotton.

My last year on the committee was 1982 when I was elected Chairman.  This was the year when the UK hosted the world Championships including both Road and Track disciplines. The Championships were fraught with difficulties regarding sponsorship. The Federation had contracted with John Burns who had some success promoting and organising the Sealink 5 day International. Burns had promised to deliver on something like £1.5m sponsorship and with around six months to go it was painfully obvious that this was not going to happen. A meeting was convened with both the Finance Committee and the Racing Committee to discuss the situation under the Chairmanship of President Eileen Gray. The Federation’s solicitors were present to advise us on the legal implications and after the retired we considered the matter. Having read the contract with Burns I noted a paragraph that in essence said “the Federation can terminate this agreement for any reason”. I therefore proposed we implement this and it was seconded and approved by all. The solicitor’s were recalled and advised of our decision (which was the result they anticipated). Much to my consternation they immediately advised all members of the committee to divest themselves of any assets as Burn’s was bound to sue the Federation and possibly all the committee members. I was running a moderately successful Company and the possibility existed I could lose everything. In the end Burn’s did sue but the attempt failed when he was unable to deposit funds with the court (to meet the Federations costs should he be unsuccessful).  The task of rescuing the sponsorship for the Championship’s was given to Alan Rushton who did a fair job at pulling in sufficient cash to let the Federation honour it’s commitment.

In 1979 I was introduced to the Scottish Health Board by Alastair Macdonald who had met Sam Docherty, an executive with the Board at an event in Ireland which was sponsored by the Irish Health organisation. Sam liked the concept of linking health with sport. A few months later an agreement was in place for me to organise a five day race to be named" The Scottish Health Race". You'll find full details of that event on another dedicated page.

Bookmark and Share


Click to view enlargement