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Derrick Woodings - My Cycling Career (Chapter 8)

We hope you enjoyed Chapter 7 of 'Derrick Woodings - My Cycling Career'

Here is the last chapter from Derrick's memoirs:

Chapter 8 - My latter years in cycling

Finally during my latter cycling career from 1984 onwards I have had many more wins mostly in road races; From then I rarely rode time trials anymore! Much too hard, culminating in the last 3 years as national champion in my three main disciplines on the track, 2000 metres pursuit, points and scratch races. 2008, 2010 and 2011 (I didn’t ride 2009 due to a bad crash putting me out for the back end of that year). Also on the road that year, national circuit race champion.

In what sport can one meet such enthusiastic people of our vintage? Unfortunately, however, as with all sports, it does make us rather unique within the population. It is sometimes difficult to communicate with ‘normal’ (non-sporting) people and I often feel rather insular. I watched a video clip recently, forwarded to me by Nigel Whatmough, in which a cyclist in an office is trying to explain to a non-cyclist why he went through all the suffering and training. It put in a nutshell how I was thinking. The answer to many of the questions was “Because I’m a cyclist, it’s what we do” There you have it!

Belper News

So it can be seen that from starting racing in 1957, in two clubs before joining Derby Wheelers and then Belper BC and also racing for old colleague Mick Ives’s racing team for several years where I’ve had a varied and successful career thro’ to 1965 then taking out a professional license for 5 years until 1970, after one year out the rules then enabled me to revert to amateur status again with the Wheelers which lasted two years before stopping in 1974 until picking up again in 1984 as a veteran until I finally stopped in 2017. I’d had 60 years in total, racing through 6 decades.

Now I am able to dedicate the rest of my days to supporting my wife, after all she has been very supportive of me during our 55+ years together, perhaps leading a normal life. I’ll only stop riding when I’m unable to get up the hills.

In Reflection...

It was fitting to end my career on the new Arena boards in Derby. A period of approximately 60 years, with only a few years out of competition, (but still riding), during 1975-84.

Riding the scratch race in the LVRC track championships on Sunday 29th October 2017, I was determined to finish on a high, but couldn’t get round my old adversary Londoner Vince Freely, coming second with my good friend Roly Crayford 3rd. but I’m convinced he was not pushing too hard in that finishing sprint.

Rolling round afterwards I was asked to stop between bend 3 and 4 by old friend Martin Bush, sponsor of the Bush/Healthcare team He held me and then pushed me towards the finishing line, where I got the most enthusiastic reception from all the riders and spectators. It was unbelievable. I was presented with a signed card from all my colleagues and a unique framed testimony of my final number (165) and a bottle of champagne from Belper BC. Whilst I have had a reasonably successful 60 years, I do not consider that I have done anything much out of the ordinary. There have been many more talented riders than me during my time. What I have done is persisted with what talent I had during these years and in my book persistence is everything in this a very tough sport. I was finally presented on 3rd, November at my racing team’s (Jewson/Polypipe) annual dinner a splendid engraved plate listing many of my achievements.

During these years I’ve made many friends and come to meet some very good people. It vindicates my decision when I was about 16 to take up cycling seriously. I’d tried football, basketball, swimming and athletics but none of these sports could compare with cycling. In the last few years I’ve come to find for us veterans that the LVRC (the League of Veteran racing Cyclists) is the organisation and have enjoyed my time riding under its rules.

This send-off was well organised and extremely satisfying and I guess it had been set up by organiser Rob Muzio and Martin Bush.

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.

Sadly, this is the last chapter in Derrick's story! We hope you enjoyed reading these exerts, the full story can be found against Derrick's bio on the 'Club Officials' page on our web site:


Please take a little more time to read Derrick's amazing record of achievements below and view some more photographs and news paper excerpts in the members gallery:


Palmares (Record of Achievements): A brief resume of my better performances



2nd in my first time semi-open time trial for beginners (for riders slower than 1hour, 2mins, I had no qualifying time so was eligible).


My first milestone: I beat the hour for the first time recording 59:32 in the Kesteven Aces TT August 1959. From then on I did it another 3 times that year ending up with a 59:10 in my last event of 1959.


First open 25 mile time trial win 1960 (57:59) now finally sub 58 minutes. West Bromwich CC June.


First open road race win, Easter 1961, followed up by winning the Coventry Godiva CC 25 TT next day. Island week (IOM) top five in the 25, then 2nd. in the Mannin Veg road race.


1st in the 4 Km Bantel pursuit, for novice track riders at the Butts Coventry 1962.

2nd East Midland division road race championships over 90 miles of the tough Turnditch circuit near Derby behind John Aslin (Nottingham), a star roadman who had just finished the Tour of Britain ‘Milk Race’ and was on top form. I mention in passing that I had ridden and won the Long Eaton 25 mile TT earlier the same day. So my potential as a long distance rider was already showing up although I didn’t realise it at the time.


First major track meeting win, International 4000 metre pursuit at the Butts track Coventry (I got the invite for this from my performance the previous year); Also 3rd. in the famous Muratti Gold Cup 10 mile race at the Fallowfield track behind Dave Bonner and Kevin Baensch (Australia)., plus a good international field. 1st,open senior (Pro-Am) road race win 1963

National 100 mile Time trial Champion


Selected for Great Britain to ride a 100km team time trial in Belgium alongside Les West, Graham Webb and Derek Harrison (All top internationals, Graham later became amateur world road champion 1967 and Les won the tour of Britain twice), an event where we finished 3rd. Derek turned pro later that year for a French team.

Also selected to ride for the GB ‘A’ team to ride a 100km. team TT at Crystal Palace which we won.

2nd place National 100 mile Time trial Champion

Member of winning team in the national 100 mile, 12 hour championship races.


Member of winning team in the national 100 mile, 12 hour championship races.

National 100 mile Time trial Champion


Rode and finished the pro Tour of Luxembourg stage race where former World road champions, Rik van Looy and Andre Darrigade were riding.

2nd in stage 8 and 10th overall Tour of the West


2nd in the Kirby & West GP (Leicester) pro road race. (This was a great event for our Bantel squad, Bill Painter winning and Eddy White finishing eighth to win the team prize as well.) When Bill attacked with 5 miles to go I followed Pete Chisman who was trying to pull him back, Pete asked me to work, obviously I refused but said that I would ensure we stayed clear of the other chasers.

1st in the Abercynon( Wales) pro race 1967, which culminated in my being placed 5th in the season long Golden Wheel competition for Professional riders. 1st English pro to win in Wales I believe.

2nd in the professional madison track race championship, with Steve Taylor.

1st stage 1 and 2nd overall 2day W.D. & H.O. Wills GP.

Shortlisted for the Tour de France team


1st stage 1 and 8th overall Tour of the west 1968. Twice runner up in the Weston GP time trial over 42 miles Weston to Bristol and back 1967 & 1968, to Dave Bonner (ex- national 25mile TT champion 1963) both Dave Dungworth and Peter Hill (both ex-National time trial champions) were riding.

Shortlisted for the Tour de France team

1984 -:

Finally during my latter career from 1984 onwards I have had many more wins mostly in road races; I rarely do time trials anymore. Much too hard! culminating in the last 3 years as national champion in my three main disciplines on the track, 2000 metres pursuit, points and scratch races. 2008, 2010 and 2011 (I didn’t ride 2009 due to a bad crash putting me out for the back end of that year). Also on the road that year, national circuit race champion.

In 1967 and 1968 I had been shortlisted for the Tour de France team which for those two years were being run off in national team format. I didn’t make the cut though, which was unfortunate, but after my Tour of Luxembourg experience the previous year was probably for the better. Being a part time pro I would probably have been shelled out early in the event, but who knows!

As an amateur during the early sixties with the Wheelers I had over 100 wins in various disciplines mainly in time trials.


Transport to events:

  • Using a scooter(Vespa), With home built rack strapped onto rear carrier

  • Company Box van

  • Friends’ vehicles

  • Car sharing

  • Own car

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