I had resigned from the BCF racing committee at the end of 1982, 1983 was fairly quiet for me in cycling terms but in 1984, apart from organising the Girvan race, I undertook to run the British Road Race Championship in my home town of Kilmarnock – the first time the event had been held north of the border (I think!), The event was staffed by my trusty band of Girvan helpers and was a good success. Winner was Neil Martin, but only after first over the line popular Liverpudlian Joey McLaughlin was disqualified for changing his line in the sprint.

In November of 1984 Arthur Campbell, who had been President of the Scottish Cyclists Union since its formation in 1952 - a total service of 32 years, stood down. At the ensuing election SCU Secretary popular Dick Londragon and I stood as candidates. The vote was so close that I was elected by just 1 vote. Not the best of situations when there were two able candidates.

My first big task was to lead the Union activities for the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. These Games are reported elsewhere on this site.

In 1987 I instigated the employment of the Union’s first paid staff member when Jim Riach was appointed executive officer. Courtesy of then Secretary Len Rankin a temporary office was obtained within the confines of a milk distribution warehouse. Later Jim and I managed to secure ‘temporary’ office on free loan from Portacabin which was situated a Meadowbank Velodrome. Temporary was to last around 15 years!

During the early period of my Presidency Mountain Biking was developing rapidly and some within the Union were of the opinion that anyone taking part in these events should be banned. My opinion was that, having experienced a lifelong difference with the Scottish Highland Games Association who organised grass track racing at their events, we should not go down this road again. Rather we should embrace the sport and organise and promote events ourselves. The committee followed this advice and now Scottish Cycling’s MTB leaders’ course and events have become a model for others.

In 1989 I was asked to promote a series of City Centre events on behalf of sponsors ‘McEwans LA’ (a low alcohol beer). Events for Professionals only were held in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff and London were held. For the events in England and Wales I was grateful for the support of local officials who did the spadework at their respective venues. At this time another promoter approached me at the BCF annual dinner (a little under the weather I may say) to enquire about my events. After an amicable discussion he said that he would not encroach on my patch. I was busy organising the series for 1990 when the PR firm acting for McEwans asked me who this other promoter was as McEwans had an approach from a TV producer offering McEwans TV coverage with the events to be organised by this promoter. McEwans were swayed by the idea of TV coverage and dropped me in favour of the other. They got their coverage alright – at 2am in the morning! Result was that McEwans dropped cycling!

Whilst organising the Edinburgh event I asked to place the event on and around Princes Street and was pleasantly surprised when the Council and Police agreed. The Professionals put on a great show with Scotland’s Robert Miller the star guest.

During 1991 I advised the Scottish Cyclist Union that I would stand down at the end of 1992 having served 8 years as President thus effectively bringing to an end 26 years as a cycling office ial.

During 1992, with my club – Wallacehill, I organised the British Professional Road Championships in and around my hometown of Kilmarnock, which was celebrating 400 years as a Royal Burgh. In order to raise finance I obtained individual sponsorship from local traders. My own Company sponsored Sean Yates and during the process I asked his major sponsor Motorola if I could place an advert on his jersey, the answer was quite understandably NO. They would however not object to Sean wearing a hat with our advert. This was to prove a better deal than any of us realised. Sean won the event and on the podium he was presented with the National Championship Jersey (no advert) and he was wearing my hat!!

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