Racing in the League with Gerald Tredwell
Posted: Saturday 22nd August 2020
Gerald Tredwell of Wolverhampton, still alive and strong at 84-years old, was a founder member of the BLRC.He competed in many war-time and early post-war races in the Shropshire and Midland areas. Below are some notes and memories which make interesting and nostalgic reading.
“The frame was bought off Jack Green (Bilston Street, Wolverhampton) circa 1941 and was probably one of his last pre-war frames. Bits were hard to come by and my first HP rims were bought off Ben Flavell at a “sort of auction” at Percy Stallard’s shop in Broad Street. These wheels were prone to breaking spokes and I always had spares taped to my frame!
The bike was used for going to work, touring (several years in the Lake District), and for racing. Percy Stallard rode it once for a short stint after breaking down on Jiggers Bank (Ironbridge, Shropshire). We swapped bikes and I had to limp his bike to the pits at the top. He did not like my toe clip settings and left mine at the pits where he took off on a spare bike more to his liking.
I was rarely a front runner and was what the French called an “ouvrier” – a worker for the team, in other words disposable! We were usually expected to attack right from the start to unsettle the opposition! The longest training run was with Percy Stallard, two others and myself, to Llandudno and back via Llangollen. Percy did his well known dying act on the Horseshoe Pass saying – “carry on lads I’ll be OK” – just as you had settled down to a nice easy climb he would go past like a rocket!
I stopped racing in 1946 when the lads coming back from the Forces proved to be too fit for us “civvies”.
Percy Stallard was a fairly ruthless team boss and was obsessed with the idea that if you are suffering then to attack makes the opposition feel even worse! On one or two occasions we ignored team orders (because we were dying!!) and had our b***s chewed off at Percy’s shop later.
I worked for Percy on Saturday mornings for a while, often hand drilling the forks on old bikes to take calliper brakes instead of pull-ups. My last job was to put new tubs on a pair of wheels. Sadly when the owner came to collect that afternoon one had deflated. PS’s blood pressure shot up and I was out of a job!
I have no precise memory of the details of any of the races I competed in, which include:-
- Circuit of the Wrekin
- Circuit of the Clees
- Shrewsbury Hospital Road Race
- Whitchurch 50 mile TT
- 25 mile time trial on the A5, my first race. I can recall the well-known one armed rider, Walter Greaves, passing me like I was dead!
- Midland Championships – in Shropshire.
There were many others I cannot recall, mostly in Shropshire. Most of the principal riders of the day are mentioned in the ‘Express and Star’ account of the 1944 Circuit of the Clees, won by Ernie Clements with Ron Kitching 2nd and Geoff Clark 3rd. I did finish this race!!