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Derrick Woodings - My Cycling Career (Chapter 3)

We hope you enjoyed Chapter 2 of 'Derrick Woodings - My Cycling Career'

Here is the next chapter from Derrick's memoirs:

Chapter 3 - Cycling as a competent racer 1960 - 1962

1960: Riding regularly every Sunday I gradually improved my time down to a 58 minute ride and finally won my first open 25 (West Bromwich CC) with a sub 58 after competing in the National 25 Championship near Lincoln, still riding fixed wheel; then later another PB on the Newark course.

National 25 Championships

I was also riding the track league too (Harvey Hadden-Nottingham) usually riding out there from my home with my racing wheels strapped onto the bike with custom built wheel carriers.

Bantel Pursuit

I had an invite to ride the Bantel novices pursuit from Coventry promoter Charlie Viner. This was a new venture for me and I was completely at a loss of how to pace myself. The 4000 metres was approximately eight laps of the track, with four riders equally spaced round the perimeter. I had a certain Mick Ives chasing me and I guess that Charlie had told him to start fast in order to eliminate me which he did in two laps, me being a relatively slow starter, and he carried on for the win.

1961: Still mainly time trials, I did a 21:19, 10 in an evening club event then riding the national 25 on a T shaped course based on the A5 road near Gailey in Staffordshire finishing equal 10th just ahead of Alf Engers and Barry Hoban. This event finally set the discipline for gears, Pete (John) Woodburn winning on them, although in 1959 and 1960 Bryan Wiltcher, principally a roadman had also won the 1960 BAR on gears too. I had my first road race win at Coventry on the Baginton circuit, events promoted by Charlie Viner, deciding to ride the road that Easter in preference to the track, after my disappointment the previous year. Next day I won the Godiva 25 as well.

1962: Still on the 25 treadmill regularly winning and occasionally entering road races , with ambitious hopes I entered the BCF Division Champs on the hilly Turnditch course near Derby - eight 11 mile laps finishing just before Weston Underwood, making it over 90 miles to comply with the East Midlands regulations. I finished 2nd behind Nottingham roadman Johnny Aslin who had clipped off a small group of us on Turnditch hill with a lap to go. I declined to chase initially as there were several not prepared to work (some were John’s team-mates) however with hindsight I should have attacked the group on one of the climbs, but doubting my ability decided to wait. That was it, John was away and he was going well after a good Tour of Britain ride, and stayed away. Uncharacteristically I left it to the gallop and won that. However, I add previously, earlier that day had ridden and won the Long Eaton CC. 25, so was somewhat fatigued. Next Easter I got another invite to ride the Bantel pursuit at Coventry and this time I made sure I started somewhat faster, ending up winning from Barry Jones who I met up with again as a pro and 50 years later as a vet. I add that a year after this win my younger clubmate Roy Jeffries followed on from me by winning this same trophy carrying on the Derby Wheelers successes. Roy tells me that over the PA system having won his race, he heard the announcement that ‘Derrick Woodings’ had won the RTTC 100 mile championship and he had burst into a generous applause and cheer. I’m sure that being a Wheelers rider it must have made him feel good. I also add that I felt the same whilst out training with Bruce Jones in Derbyshire, a few years previously, we heard that Roy had won the junior 25 mile championship.

When I started my bike racing career back in 1956, mainly club 10’s on, typically in those days, a fixed wheel track machine, using heavy high pressure tyres. I was gradually improving my times in 10’s and in 1957 whilst training with Derby Mercury (which was by then my club), I was approached by Tom Crowther, the owner of Mercian Cycles, who offered me a decent Mercian track frame and suggested I enter a local ‘middle markers’ open 25. I came 3rd in this to a more experienced rider, and from then on I was on my way to more success.

During those early years I and some club-mates occasionally used to ride on the old ‘Municipal’ track situated on the Derby ring road on the Moorways site used for CycloX these days - parts of the old track surface are still visible in the bowl where it was built. There was no supervised training at the track, a huge concrete bowl terribly surfaced and around 500 meters in length not at all suitable for bike racing. It was originally designed for motorised competition. But it was all we had, until the Harvey Hadden track at Nottingham was opened, followed later by Saffron Lane track at Leicester. I mention here that a Derby club had organised a track meeting there during the early 1950’s where Reg Harris was matched against Arie Van Vliet. I rode my first competition on that old track the BDCA track championships in, I think it was in 1958.

Note: This chapter is a summarised account from Derrick's memoirs, Derrick can expand on any of this so if you have any questions, please reply to this post with a comment and Derrick will respond.


Coming up next time: Chapter 3 - Cycling as a competent racer

102 views3 comments


This is really great reading. Are there plans to create a permanent page on the website once everything has been published? I think this needs bookmarking for the future and not lost in other club news.

David Olney
David Olney
Jul 18, 2022
Replying to

Yes, when done, I planned to put everything together as a pdf and then against Derrick’s record on the club officials page. If you think of somewhere else too let me know.


Michael Lear
Michael Lear
Jul 18, 2022

These extracts make for fascinating reading of a different era of cycling. And we’ve still got the switch to derailleurs and technology updates to come. Loving it, thanks Derrick.

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