Preview – Victor Berlemont RR


Strong rider line up for the ‘classic’ Victor Berlemont Road Race on August 31st on the Woodcote course near Reading in memory of a Belgian cycle racing enthusiast pub owner!

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Preview – Victor Berlemont RR
(thanks to Patrick and Doug for the following)

NOTE: Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

The Victor Berlemont Road Race has moved from Surrey to the rolling countryside of South Oxfordshire and to the Woodcote(RG8 0QY) course with a 100 mile national B road race to be held on Sunday 31st August.

Victor Berlemont

Victor at work in his pub in Soho (London) well known to sportsmen of the time

The race was a classic in its heyday with a list of worthy winners and it has an enviable reputation in the sport.

The Berlemont family came over from France in 1900. Victor Berlemont ran the York Minster pub ( now the French House) in Dean Street, Soho. He was a Gaul who encouraged the Free French troops (including General de Gaulle) to drink there. “The French” as it was nicknamed by its regulars had a Continental atmosphere, with French spoken freely in the Bar, and the pictures on the walls were of French cyclists and boxers.

Berlemont introduced the rule of serving beer in half-pints after a group of French sailors chucked their pint glasses through the bar window after a heavy drinking session. Yet that half-pint tradition has not dissuaded some of their greatest drinkers, including he playwright Brendan Behan, the artist Francis Bacon and the poet Dylan Thomas, to sup there.

Victor was very sports minded and was associated with Southern Velo, hence the name of the race which was first run in 1951. His son, Gaston, also took a very keen interest in cycling and came out to many of the Southern Velo’s promotions, Gaston was very distinguished with a huge handlebar moustache and bubbling character. He was a Vice President of BLRC and President of Southern Velo. At one particular race he had his chauffeur drive a classic Paris bus to the event.

As it was a prestigous event with a long and colourful history and has always been considered a classic, I (Doug Collins) , along with Nigel Carpenter, on behalf of Southern Velo decided to resurrect the race and present the Victor Berlemont Trophy. This was in 2010, when it was won by Alex Higham of Wyndy Milla. In 2011 Tom Copeland of Sigma Sport won the race, and in 2012 it was won by Alex Higham and incorporated with the Masters Category A National Championship.

During its long history some notable riders have won the event, Dave Bedwell three times, Alan Jacob, Dave Nie, Brian Tadman, Les West three times, Gary Crewe in 1972 incorporating the National Championship, Neil Hoban and Dave Rayner.

The memorial  this year will be on the well known Woodcote course which is deceptive from its apparent mild profile. The races that have been run on the Woodcote course have been for pure road racers who have the stamina and determination to take on this course.

Riders will roll neutralised from HQ at 11.00 for 2kms where the race will be deneutralised onto a fast A road section that begins to drag upwards at Port Way to an open windswept plateau. The course moves to a hard left turn after the descent from Port Way to Goring on initially fast roads at North Stoke and South Stoke that become heavy and rolling to a climb approaching Goring.

A fast descent into Goring then approaches a left turn onto Flint Hill with a hard short climb from Goring that plateaus onto a leg sapping drag to the cross round at Crays Pond. The left turn at Crays Pond takes the course back into Woodcote for the first of eight laps. Finish on the 8th lap is after the climb from Flint Hill making it a course for the all rounder.

The many central region road racers who have tackled this course will attest to the leg breaking drag from Flint Hill to Crays Pond where many ambitions have been broken. The course is for determined road racers and provides challenging conditions that will pay tribute to the history of the Victor Berlemont road race.

So who’s riding …

Organiser, Doug Collins reports that entries had been initially quiet but in the weeks leading up to closing date some notable riders made the online transaction with rising youngster Elliot Porter of Rapha Condor JLT the star attraction.

Madison Genesis have Dominic Jelfs riding, winner of Nick Clark Elite Road Race this year organised by central club Kenton RC. Local favourite with central region riders is Ashley Cox from CC Luton who is in good form this year and will want to continue his good performances in this former classic event now run on the challenging Woodcote circuit.

Winner of the Thames Velo Elite Spring Road Race this year, Tom Neale of Team Corley Cycles, will provide a stern challenge for the Victor Berlemont Trophy and the under 23 prize that is offered on a prize list that include prizes for the top 10, as well as highest under 23 rider. Also, a combativity prize and a lantern rouge prize to acknowledge the history of the event.

Two names that race watchers will look out for are Adam Cotterill of WyndyMilla-Reynolds and Ben Carty of Felt Colbornes Hargroves who will be sure to be close to the moves. Team entries are a theme for the Victor Berlemont with CSE Racing, Spirit Racing, BH Solidor WAM Youth entering strong teams and also an entry from the Army Cycling Union. The 6 riders from the British Army fit in training between active service overseas and military exercises so the entry from the Army Cycling Union is most welcome by the organisers.

The organisers are working to deliver a national B race to the highest standards and hope this will build a foundation for the race to become established and gain a present day recognition its history already has.

Where: Woodcote Village Hall, Reading Road, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, RG8 0QY
When: 31 August
Start: 11:00am
Category: National B
Distance: 160km / 100m
EoL: £35.00

Race brought to you by …


Promoted by Team Quest – The Bike Shop

Start List Victor Berlemont Road Race 2014

No. Forename Surname Club / Team Name Cat
1 Elliott Porter Rapha Condor JLT 1st
2 Dominic Jelfs Madison Genesis 2nd
3 Tom Neale Team Corley Cycles Elite
4 Ashley Cox CC Luton Elite
5 Douglas Coleman CC Luton 1st
6 Luke Morgan CC Luton 2nd
7 Anthony Gibb CSE Racing 1st
8 George Farrell CSE Racing 2nd
9 Henry Farrell CSE Racing 2nd
10 Ryan Visser CSE Racing 1st
11 Philip Peters CSE Racing 2nd
12 Alastair Luxford CSE Racing 2nd
13 Colin Parry BH-Solidor-WAM Youth Elite
14 Martin Smith BH-Solidor-WAM Youth Elite
15 Bevan Humphreys BH-Solidor-WAM Youth 1st
16 Rob Yeatman BH-Solidor-WAM Youth 2nd
17 Michael Cripps Army Cycling Union 1st
18 Steven Baker Army Cycling Union 2nd
19 James Bevan Army Cycling Union 2nd
20 Ian Cullen Army Cycling Union 3rd
21 Roger Theron Army Cycling Union 2nd
22 Cameron Campbell Army Cycling Union 2nd
23 Paul Elcock G.S. Henley 2nd
24 James Archibald G.S. Henley 3rd
25 Robert King G.S. Henley 2nd
26 Mark Baines Spirit Bikes Racing Team Elite
27 Jack Beezer Spirit Bikes Racing Team 1st
28 Christopher Dredge Spirit Bikes Racing Team 1st
29 Jack Waller Spirit Bikes Racing Team 1st
30 Edward Clemens Spirit Bikes Racing Team 1st
31 Martin Ford Private Member Elite
32 James Phillips Dream Cycling 1st
33 Richard Wood Arbis – Colbert Cycles RT 1st
34 Mike Wragg Arbis – Colbert Cycles RT 1st
35 Paul Londors Arbis – Colbert Cycles RT 2nd
36 Ben Carty Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves RT 1st
37 Adam Cotterell WyndyMilla – Reynolds 1st
38 Richard Collins Imperial Racing Team 3rd
39 George Kirkin Imperial Racing Team 3rd
40 Luke Merrilees WyndyMilla – Reynolds 2nd
41 George Gori Nuun-Sigma Sport-London Race Team 1st
42 Cameron Fraser Nuun-Sigma Sport-London Race Team 2nd
43 Symon Lewis Nuun-Sigma Sport-London Race Team 1st
44 Tim Carter Virgin Active 3rd
45 Campbell Noon Virgin Active 3rd
46 Liam Walsh VC St Raphael 2nd
47 James Wilson VC St Raphael 1st
48 Benjamin Allen Dulwich Paragon CC 2nd
49 Tim Allen Arrow Cycles 1st
50 Robert Attreed Maidenhead and District CC 3rd
51 Timothy Harkness Maison Du Velo 3rd
52 Callum Haseler Cambridge University RT – Hunter Gibson – Chain Reaction Cycles 3rd
53 Kris Jasper Falco Racing 2nd
54 Stanley Kennett GS Stella 3rd
55 Jamie Francis London Dynamo 2nd
56 Neil Wass TMG Horizon Cycling Team 2nd
57 Edward Watkiss Bonito Squadra Corse 2nd
58 Matthew Whelan Mickey Cranks CC 3rd
59 Joseph Wiltshire NFTO Race Club 1st
60 Benjamin Marks 2nd
61 Oliver Maxwell Windmill Wheels Cycling Club 1st
62 Adam Moore Team Dassi 2nd
63 Anthony Morris Cycle Club Ashwell (CCA) 2nd
64 Stephen Nunn Finchley Racing Team 2nd
65 James Davey Mid Devon CC 1st
66 Andy Davies High Wycombe Cycling Club 3rd
67 Max Brown Zappis Cycling Club 3rd
68 Jacob Loftus Zappis Racing Team 3rd
69 Ben Sumner Beeline Bicycles RT 1st
70 Wojciech Szlachta Cambridge University RT – Hunter Gibson – Chain Reaction Cycles 1st
71 Richard Unwin VC Meudon 1st
72 William Scott Bonito Squadra Corse 2nd
73 Richard Cartland Southdowns Bikes Cycling Club 2nd
74 Neil Edwards Private Member 3rd
75 Mark Yale VC Revolution 3rd
76 Harry Evans Cadence 1st
77 Andy Betts Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves RT 1st
78 James Lewis NFTO 1st


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