Early Season Classics: Spring Chicken & Roy Thame Cup


Just over a month until early season classics, the Spring Chicken & Roy Thame Cup road races (March 8) are held in the Claydons near Milton Keynes

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Whilst the events in the National Series (Senior men) don’t begin until April, there are thankfully still plenty of early season classics on the calendar. The season kicks off with the Perfs Pedal in February but its March when we’ll see a steady stream of races on the calendar including many of the long running races that sit happily out of National Series status.


These events see some of the top teams not competing in UCI races in Europe come along to find their legs before the likes of the Tour of Reservoir and CiCLE Classic in April.

A popular race is the Roy Thame Cup. The event is named after a man who was an integral part of the sport having worked for a household name in the 70’s, Holdsworth, which sponsored a pro team back in the day. Thame established and managed the dominant professional cycling team that the company co-sponsored with Campagnolo .

The Holdworth Team won more National RR and track titles than any other team in it’s 10 year existence. The team’s riders included Colin Lewis, who twice rode in the Tour de France, and the Tour of Britain winner Les West, both of whom are still active in the sport today. Other riders included Ian Banbury (also Hemel Hempstead CC), Phil Corley (who won the Nat Pro RR Champs in the teams last year), Bob Addy – who was the first Pro to be sponsored by Holdworth as a solo sponsorship from 1967, then the team was formed in 1969. Dave Nie was also amongst the first team members. Keith Lambert was in the team for several years too. The team won 6 National Pro RR Champs in total.

Roy did all this whilst running the Holdsworth shop from the late 50’s all the way until he retired in the late 90’s. He was also chair of the Hemel Hempstead CC up until the early 80’s. Apart from running the business, which he’d inherited from the Holdworth family during the 70’s, he took a back seat from much of the cycling world after the 80’s and immersed himself in the Rotary Club, where he was a leading voice and member until his death in 2006.

Roy was also a founder and chair of the original British Professional Cycle Racing Association – the group that represented the Pro sport in the UK to the BCF and ran the Pro races up until the merger with the BCF when the IOC and UCI abandoned the rules on amatuerism in the mid 80’s and effectively ended the need for a seperate Pro class. The fact he was chair of the BPCRA for most of it’s existance meant he was known as the father of UK Professional Road Racing.

Thame also managed the Great Britain teams in World Championships, served on British Cycling Federation committees nationally and acted as commissaire in domestic events.

Roy Thame died aged 85 in 2006.

2014_RoyThameCircuit map 2013

The event in his honour has been won by some notable champions including Olympic hero Ed Clancy in 2013. Others include Dan Staite, Liam Holohan, Justin Hoy, Aussie Darren Lapthorne, Tom Moses and Ireland’s Philip Lavery.

It’s early days for entries but those who have already signed up include Wouter Sybrandy, former winner Justin Hoy, Ashley Cox, local Roy Chamberlain and Tour of Britain KoM jersey contender Russell Hampton.

At this stage, the organiser Paul Thomson has plenty of room for more entries for both the Spring Chicken RR (Category 3/4) and the E/1/2 Roy Thame Cup but adds entries are arriving each day.

Each race has a limit of 80 riders.

The road races will be held on a (new) rolling circuit in the Claydons in Buckinghamshire. The Spring Chicken RR starts at 9:30am and is for 3rd & 4th category riders over 75km (just under 3 laps). The Roy Thame Cup starts at 1.30pm and is for Elite, 1st & 2nd cats over a distance of 125km (just under 5 laps).

The entry fee is £18 in advance for each event or £20 if you enter on the day or after the closing date. Typically, the races get over 200 entries over so for both events EoL is extremely limited.

The headquarters is still to be confirmed.

Online entry now open: | 2013 Race Report:

Other Hemel Hempstead Events – Sid Latchford Memorial Hilly Time Trial
Hemel Hempstead Cycling Club and organiser Sam Williamson are proud to introduce a new event for 2014 – ‘The Sid Latchford Memorial Time Trial’. An early season hilly event re-working some old time trial routes to create a course that starts and finishes at Great Gaddesden and takes in Bison Hill, Dunstable Downs and Ivinghoe Beacon. The route will be around 21.5 miles with approx. 430m (1300′) of ascent.

The race will be held on Sunday, 23 March 2014, starting at 8 am with the riders competing for the Sid Latchford Memorial Trophy – the event is Round 2 of the London North Millennium Series. The winner will also have the honour of holding the ‘course record’ for at least 12 months.

Entries now available on-line via the CTT website (http://cyclingtimetrials.org.uk).



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