Tribute: John Parker 1958 – 2018

The sport of cycling is packed with stars of the road and one of them was John Parker (1958 – 2018) who passed away recently

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Tribute: John Parker 1958 – 2018

Southport Cycling Club committee, members and former members were saddened to learn this week about the passing of John Parker. John was a member of the club for many years as a junior and senior member.

World Amateurs’ Championship 1978, Germany. Copyright: Ray Green

John will have been familiar to many of Southport’s residents as the lead bike on many occasions in the Mad Dog 10k! As a 16 year old, John started racing cyclocross in Merseyside and in 1975 won the Alexandra Palace Junior Cyclocross race in London. His breakthrough as a road racing cyclist was when he finished in an astounding 3rd place as a Junior in the Eddie Soens in 1976.

He developed into an elite rider and from 1977 to 1980 won many important local, national and European races. John was National Hill Climb champion in 1977, winning in Castleton, Derbyshire; in the same year, he won the Grand Prix de Vaumas in France. In 1978, he represented Great Britain in the World Road Race Amateurs’ championships in Nurburgring, Germany. John rode the Milk Race in 1978 finishing 18th on GC and finished 5th in the Girvan Three Day race.

In 1979, John finished 8th in the National Championships for Amateurs at Bradford and won the Trophee Peugeot as an amateur in Cambrai, Northern France. During this time he also lived and raced in France in the company of such riders as Tour De France stage winners Stephen Roche and Sean Yates. Both Sean and John travelled together to Paris for the start of the 1981 season. It was Sean’s first time with the club.

He remembers, “John joined ACBB the year before me in 1980, I think, because when I went to Paris on the coach from London for the ‘81 season he was also on the coach which was very lucky because when we got to Paris there was nobody there to meet me. He told me it’s a test. It would have been if he had not been there with me because he took me on the Metro to the apartment.”

At this time, John rode for ACBB – Athletic Club de Boulogne-Billancourt – arguably the most influential amateur cycling club in the world. Prior to 1975, ACBB had limited the number of foreign cyclists who could race for them, but following a change in 1975, they set up their ‘Foreign Legion team’, which was composed of international cyclists. The club provided the new riders with bikes, clothes, and accommodation and expenses leaving the rider with the job of training and winning races – ground breaking at the time.

John also raced for Southport CC, Kirkby CC, GS Strada Lutz, Lejeune, US Creteil and Jack Parker Cycles. In 1980, John rode the Milk race again, finishing 30th and then the Tour of Ireland where he finished 4th but wore the leader’s jersey for a number of days. In 1981, he rode the Tour of Ireland again where he was the GC leader again for one day.

After his racing career, he worked for Falcon and Townsend bikes, and he went on to run a bike shop in Burscough which he had recently relinquished. SCC would like to pass on their condolences onto John’s family. Thank you for the memories and for helping to put Southport Cycling Club on the map, John!

Johns Funeral is at 4pm on Thursday 30th of August at West Lancashire Cemetery and Crematorium Pippin St, Ormskirk L40 7SP

1977 National Hill Championship




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