Electronic Veteran Leaguer



Back in 1968 Mick Ives and Derrick Woodings became teammates in the Bantel team... 

Almost 50 years on they are still on the same team, this time Team Jewson -- MI Racing. This picture from the LVRC National Road Race over 70's Championship. All three versions of the famous Bantel jersey were designed by Mick the innovator.

Commentary from Derrick Woodings

The two photos are separated by 46 years. The B&W photo shows Mick pacing me back to the bunch after a puncture and wheel change.  I had also ridden the ’66 season with Mick in the Mottram/Simplex team along with Eddie White and Jim Hendry. In the ’67 and ’68 team we were joined by Bill Painter and Eddie White.

Mick designed all the three Bantel jerseys we used in ’67, ’68 and ’69. The  ’67 version was Purple/Yellow similar to the Mercier BP jerseys as worn by Ray Poulidor and Barry Hoban. In ’69 the kit evolved  to a black jersey again but with large white lettering  -BANTEL- front and rear.  In the ’69 team presentation photo it shows-Back row- L to R, Mick, George Halls, Barry Brandon, Steve Taylor. Front row, Vin Denson, John Clarey, Jim Moore and myself. I think the venue for the photo was the Bunny club in London.


The recent photo was taken in the EFGH champs using the Napton-Priors Marston circuit on the most  awful day this year. It started raining before the off and gradually got worse, with high winds lashing us as well. I got dropped on the first climb of Priors Marston, it was like riding along a river bed. Over the top I got going and caught Mick and Jeff Hardy and we chased hard for the rest of the lap but not making a lot of progress on the gap. Jeff climbed off going through Napton leaving just myself and Mick. As Mick had graduated to the H cat on that day he was in line to win his cat. So I was obliged to help him finish. If I had been alone I definitely would have abandoned with Jeff. So the debt from 1968 was repaid in spades.

 And this was the team launch in London for 1969 Mick top left, Derrick bottom right.





Bernard Pusey rode in Redhill CC colours between 1949 and 1955.

He then turned professional and went to France.He lived on the Continent for the next five hectic seasons, mixing it with the fastest riders in Europe and experiencing the hot-house pressure of riding the Tour de France:

In November 1995 he was invited to attend the club’s 50th anniversary dinner and afterwards he talked to Redhill CC club member John Leitch which he recently updated.

Of the six years spent in Redhill CC colours, Bernard Pusey describes 1954 as his best season as in that year he won the Tour of Ireland, collected a gold medal at the national track championships and represented England at the Commonwealth Games in Vancouver.

A fine reward for a rider who first joined the Redhill club in 1949 as a raw 18-year-old.Bernard lived in Tadworth, where he had been brought up, and from the age of 17 he worked as an apprentice to electrical engineers W Mackie based in Lambeth.

‘I cycled there and back every day,’ Bernard recalls. ‘It only really got busy once you were past Sutton. It was a 16-mile journey each way. The beauty of riding there and back was that you were left with more pocket money.

‘My first club was the Belle Vue, in Putney, as I worked with someone in that cycling club. I stayed with the Belle Vue for a year, then joined Redhill CC.’

Bernard had a couple of years of not doing much at all by way of results – his first 25-mile time-trial yielded a result of 1 hour 12 minutes – and it was only at the end of the 1950 season that he began to make heads turn.During 1949 and 1950, Redhill CC’s Alan Large and Dave Tubman were an equal match for Bernard. ‘It was a struggle to finish a lot of events,’ he says. ‘I was what you’d call a late developer.’

In 1951, however, he started winning and even though Bernard modestly calls his successes ‘just a few’ they were enough to get him noticed. As a result his name went on the 1952 Olympic short-list though he never went to Helsinki.However, his travels were about to begin.

In January 1952 Bernard joined the army to do his two-year National Service. He quickly became mates with Brian Robinson and 100-mile record holder Les Wilmott as all three – being outstanding sportsmen – got selected postings in Western Command. The seasons of 1952 and 1953 saw Bernard riding in the army and winning ‘one or two’.

Although away from Redhill CC at this time, he retained his club membership. 1953 proved to be the better year of the two, with Bernard winning a place in the line-up for the amateur world championship in Lugano, Switzerland.

'I broke my forks half-way through,’ he remembers. ‘There was a group of us, going fast, and the road hit a bit of pavé. It was crescent-shaped stuff, not all that bad. I saw my front wheel had gone wobbly so I stopped and as I undid the wheel the broken fork blade clattered onto the floor.’

The race was won by an Italian. Bernard had been one of six riders in the British team which included Fred Krebs and John Perks.Demobbed by Christmas 1953, and back home with his parents in Tadworth, Bernard reckons the following year was his best-ever and the highlight of that season was winning the 1954 Tour of Ireland, a seven-day stage race for amateurs.

Even though it was held in May, it wasn’t the Irish rain that Bernard remembers the most. He explains: ‘We set out on the penultimate day in sunshine but pretty soon it was snowing…. and in Ireland they are very long miles.‘Of the 76 who started, just 14 finished. I would have quit too, only I was leading on General Classification and the first prize of £50 was, in those days, more than exceptional.’

So despite the abysmal weather he stuck it out. Riding for the England team, Bernard had won the first stage by several minutes, had lost the overall lead in the middle stages but had regained the top slot just before the outbreak of cold conditions.

Redhill CC’s hottest property got even hotter after he scooped up a gold medal in the 1954 National Championships at Herne Hill in the tandem paced ‘50’. Even though Jerry Waters was acknowledged to be the master of this specialist event, it was Bernard who won on the day, with Eric Thompson in second place.

The event involves an individual rider staying close behind a tandem which acts in the same way as a derny in track racing events such as the kieren. It provides shelter for the rider following in its slipstream.During the course of the 50 miles, Bernard wore out three sets of tandem pacers.

The event took place in May and although things started well, Bernard got worried when sunshine gave way to drizzle. ‘Before the start I looked at the opposition and expected to win and once I was into the event I knew I was going well,’ he recalls. ‘My biggest fear was the weather and I got to thinking that I’d be lucky if the whole thing wasn’t cancelled as they don’t like riders out on the wet bankings at Herne Hill.

‘Jerry had won the event several times in previous years but he was getting to the end of his career so it was most likely to be fought out between three of us younger faces: Bill Best, Eric Thompson and me

That summer Bernard won over a dozen races, mostly in the south of England and the Midlands before heading off for the Empire Games in Vancouver, Canada.

‘I rode for England in the road race,’ recalls Bernard. ‘Eric Thompson turned the tables on me: he took gold while I got the bronze. The silver medal went to a New Zealand rider called Peter Baird.’

But silver was about to come Bernard’s way as well for in January 1955 he turned professional, joining the Hercules team. ‘It was the best UK team because Hercules put more money in than the others such as Viking and Wearwell,’ argues Bernard.

‘My weekly wage at the time was less than £12, so when Hercules offered £20 to do something I liked doing I had no hesitation in saying “yes”. I’d been wanting to go professional and was well pleased with the offer.

‘They had a grand plan of putting a team into the Tour de France so the whole team went, right away, to live and race in France. We were based in Rambouillet, near Paris.

‘There were 10 of us in the Tour de France team at the start, including Ken Joy the big time-triallist. We did a lot of racing in the months leading up to the Tour, most of it in France.’

Bernard was armed with considerable previous experience in the shape of the amateur Tour de France which he rode (and finished) two years earlier in 1953. That event was a 14-day stage race.Ahead of the 1955 Tour the Hercules team competed in seven or eight stage races, one of these being Paris-Nice.

With Hercules not having enough of its own riders to fill up the 10-man team needed for the Tour, it seconded a few individuals across from Viking and Wearwell.The team didn’t set out with a designated leader like they would today.

‘There was no organisation like now,’ Bernard points out. ‘You started by riding as best you could, the only plan being that once we were well into the three weeks and we could see who was going well, we would decide who was to support who.

‘How do I describe myself as a rider? Well I was no better than average on hills while I was a decent sprinter. That said, in my pool of riders back home I was known as ‘public enemy No 1’ but in terms of the Tour de France, with the French and Italian teams having all the big names, and having put in impressive performances ahead of the Tour, all of us in the Hercules team knew it would be an uphill battle and we were very much the outsiders.

‘In the 1955 Tour de France I was the team’s first rider to be eliminated. It was on the second day and it was my bad luck to suffer two punctures, the second being after the service vehicle had gone in front of us, and so I finished outside the time limit.

‘I wasn’t too upset when, later on, I saw how the rest suffered horrendously. Only two of the team finished that Tour: Brian Robinson and Tony Hoar.

‘Tony became the more famous of the two at the time because he caught the imagination of the French press through being the last rider on GC for the whole of two weeks and because Tony had a wonderfully humorous personality.’‘Even the winner Louison Bobet got peeved because Tony was getting more publicity than him.’

Bernard’s woes back on that second day of the 1995 Tour de France stemmed from him playing the role of a good team-mate.

Stage 2 took part in northern France, starting in Dieppe and covering 204km. The finish was in the stadium at Roubaix and the day’s route included several cobbled sections.

Fred Krebs, a Hercules team-mate, punctured so Bernard waited with him until he’d got a spare wheel in order to make it possible for Fred to chase-back onto the peloton.

‘We’d just about got into the back of the line of following cars when I got a puncture myself so I told Fred to carry on as he’d just make it back in thanks to our joint efforts.

‘We hadn’t passed our team car so I stopped and put the spare tyre I was carrying on my shoulders only I then had a second puncture and I had no more spares, so I was adrift some 30km from the finish. I simply had to ride the final sections of bad cobbles on a flatted tyre.’

And that resulted in Bernard missing the cut and being eliminated. Fred lasted another five or six days.

‘Today, race organisers are more lenient about riders taking pace than they were then as the rules have since softened a bit. Further back in time you even had to mend your own forks if they broke but we had moved forward from that era, though it wasn’t like today when they accept that making up lost ground in this situation is the result of you having suffered a misfortune rather than it being a case of taking advantage over the others.’

After Stage 2 Bernard parted company with the Tour and returned to base. ‘I raced in local events in the north of France and with the opposition being less formidable I won more in the remaining period of the Tour than the rest of them did in the Tour itself,’ Bernard reports.

‘The two of the team who finished, Tony Hoar and Brian Robinson, were both invited to ride the Tour of Spain afterwards. Brian was in better condition than Tony and this was a stepping-stone to him being adopted by a continental trade team and for him it all went on from there.’

Tony Hoar was the Lantern Rouge through to the very end, finishing 69th. His aggregate time was more than one hour more than that of the rider who finished next-to-last in 68th place.Bernard mixed it with the professional riders on the Continent for five leg-sapping seasons, 1955 to 1959, though the support from Hercules didn’t last very long.

‘After 1955 they withdrew all sponsorship,’ he says, ‘which left me high and dry. So I became a freelance rider for the rest of my racing days.

‘After making £1000 in 1955, the following years up to 1959 saw me existing on much less. It was fairly hand-to-mouth, in fact it was a bit desperate at times.’

Bernard lodged, mostly with two others, in a room above various Belgian cafes. The arrangement was that they paid for the room and then had free use of the café’s facilities such as the kitchen.

It was a fairly common practice in Belgium. The attraction, from the café’s point of view, was that having professional cyclists about the place brought the locals in for a drink or two, thinking they might get a chat with one of the riders.

He would have been delighted to join another team but recognised that a lot of riders were chasing only a few places.

‘If I’d come home I know I’d have got a start with a UK trade team,’ he reckons, ‘but Continental cycling was more attractive and I felt that if I was ever going to make it, it would be over there.’

There were others, such as Stan Brittain and Ian Brown, in exactly the same situation. Everything depended on winning races: most offered a £25 first prize, with £40 in bigger events. The beauty, though, was that they paid out money for all of the first 20 places.

Racing on in northern France and Belgium for another four years after the Tour, Bernard was in a professional world but with no tactics to the races he took part in.

‘That’s because there were only ever two or three of us at best, and we were rarely the same three UK riders anyway,’ he explains. ‘So there was no scheming to get a win for one of us and then share the prize, for example.

‘And in case you are wondering, we were never the subject of unfair tactics by others, such as being elbowed into the gutter. In all of that time the whole peloton rode fairly and riders didn’t infringe the rules,’

Only in 1959 did Bernard get a bit of regular help when Ernie Witcomb Cycles of Welling – the firm is still in business – stepped forward with the offer of two bikes and bonuses for winning.

So what, you might be wondering, were Bernard’s worldly goods during those five years on the Continent?

To get from place to place, a car was essential. Bernard drove a Citroen Light 15, as did the famous television character Inspector Maigret. The bike was carried on a roof rack that someone gave him. ‘I drove that car into the ground,’ says Bernard, ‘and then bought another one, second-hand of course, as I’d become conversant with the mechanics of the model.’

In his cycling department, Bernard had just a single bike, three pairs of wheels and a box of spares containing such things as sprockets. Like everyone else, Bernard raced on tubs. ‘No-one raced with wired-on tyres,’ he points out.

After driving back home in his second Citroen Light 15 and hanging up his wheels at the end of the 50’s (he did just two races in 1960), he took advantage of his Higher National Certificate in electrical engineering to find work in Apperley Bridge, near Bradford in Yorkshire, as an electrical draughtsman.

Married in March 1960, Bernard then lived in the Yorkshire town of Dewsbury, not more than a handful of miles from Ravensthorpe where his wife Patricia hailed from.

A few years later he had the urge to swap jobs and after a spell at the teacher training centre at Hollybank Road, Lindley, Huddersfield, found himself teaching at Bradford Tech.

Later, Bernard studied as a mature student for a degree in electrical engineering at Leeds University. The pay-off was the post of senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Derby from which he retired in 1985.



At the time of the Redhill CC 50th anniversary back in 1995, Bernard (then aged 66) had lived in the Derby area for 26 years.


He and Patricia have a daughter and two sons.


By way of an update in November 2014:


Bernard, now aged 84, still lives in the same house in Spondon near Derby. He watches the Tour de France every year on his tv and was back up in Yorkshire for this year’s start.


Bernard remembers to this day the manoeuvres during the latter stages of the event. Now aged 84, he recalls: “The Grand Prix Catox was quite a big event as Catox was the French equivalent of Oxo.

“The Frenchman called Francis Siguenza went away on his own some 15 miles from the finish. He rode for the La Perle team.

“Then with 10 miles left to the finish line I shot off from the bunch. His team-mate Bernard Bultel got on my wheel and did nothing to help. I caught Siguenza with just three miles to go, so then Bultel still being fresher than me jumped off on his own and got the win.I brought Siguenza to the line and that left him able to pip me.

“Bultel was most apologetic afterwards for winning after just sitting on my wheel all that time, but as his team-mate was in front he couldn’t help chase him down. That said, he was thankful it had worked out the way it did and he had a win.”



 1. Bernard Bultel (Fra)           2.  Francis Siguenza (Fra)       3. Bernard Pusey (Gbr)


1.  Seamus Elliott (Irl)             2. Jean-Marie Cieleska (Fra)   3. Raymond Elena (Fra)





Coupe D'Europe Des Veterans
Formies 1986

After being won by a team in the forerunner of the LVRC, the VCRA in 1986, it was donated to the LVRC by the late Bob Maitland in 1989. Bob had ridden the 1948 Olympics and rode in the GB team in the 1955 Tour de France.

It was subseqently awarded to the individual with best performance in an International Road Race. Realistically a podium position.

1986 Colin Moore 87 Ben Thomas 88 Jack Wright 89 Harry Hall/Bob Maitland

1990 Dave Orford  91 Bob Maitland  92 Ted Battersby  93 Dave Nie  94 Bob Maitland  95 Dave Orford  96/97 Dave Nie                            1998 Tony Woodcock  99 Ian Hallam

2000/01 Mick Ives 02 Jack Watson  03 Phil Axe  04/05 Tony Woodcock  06 Roger Iddles 07 Jack Watson  08 Sid Barras 09 Brian Dacey

2010 No Award  11 Mick Allen 12 Susan Shook  13 Pete Ryalls 14 Andy Eagers

20/01/2014 - OLD SCOTS PRO

John McMillan - Scottish Star of the 60's and 70's

By Ed Hood  

When I started cycling back in 1971 I quickly learned that there were five men I should stand in awe of; Belgians, Eddy Merckx - no explanation necessary - and Patrick Sercu, world sprint champion, Olympic kilometre champion and Grand Tour stage winner; Danish super stylist, world hour record holder Ole Ritter; British 25 mile record holder, Alf Engers and long term Scottish 25 mile record holder, John McMillan.

Over the years I’ve managed to get my picture taken with Eddy and Ole, interviewed Alf and have even had the odd chat with Patrick. John McMillan has eluded me – until today. He wasn’t just a ‘tester;’ he was an accomplished track rider, an international rider as an amateur and a UK professional in the days of Les West, Sid Barras and Colin Lewis. Here’s what he had to say to us.

How and when did you get into cycling and who were your Scottish and European role models back then?

"I got into cycling at the end of the 50's, simply because we moved house and I found a bike in the garden shed. "I liked cycling, joined the CTC and went Youth Hostelling. "A next-door neighbour, David Fairholme, got me interested in racing, and I rode my first 10 mile TT in 1960... and no, I'm not telling you the time...

"Scottish role models were Kenny Laidlaw, Ernie Scally (and there's a tale!).

"European-wise, Jacques Anquetil (I interviewed him shortly before his death in 1987) and Rik Van Looy - I even used handlebar controls to look like him..."

It’s 40 years since you won the Tour of the Trossachs - do you remember much about that day?

"Not a great deal, I was feeling pretty good that morning, but was apprehensive about the Duke's Pass. I flew up it, and can remember some of my club mates cheering me on halfway up. I had a "moment" on the descent, passing a Tour Bus, when some sheep decided to cross the road but felt really strong on the Braes of Greenock climb - and yes, Jocky Allan (the Velo Sportiv club’s fabulously eccentric manager, unfortunately no longer with us. ed.) was there shouting me on..."

"He even agreed that I had done; 'Not a bad ride.'"

When I started cycling in 1971, your 55 minute 25 record was the Holy Grail - do you remember much about that ride?

"Strange, as it was a midweek "25" on a lumpy course - Freuchie, in Fife. "I spent a lot of time on the small ring (44, back then), and I was convinced I was not going terribly well. It was one of those days when it hurt a lot, and I thought I was creeping, but it turned out that it hurt a lot because I was flying!"

My friend Stuart Smith remembers you as always having cool cars back in the 60's...

"I have been a lifelong friend and supporter of the British Used Car industry! "My 60's cars included a Ford Zephyr Convertible, Ford Capri, and a Jaguar 340 - the "Inspector Morse" version, not the most reliable of cars. My current mode of transport is a Porsche Boxster - I think only Roger St Pierre has had more cars than me."

Tell us about your 1970 Commonwealth Games eventual non-selection hassles, please.

"The main problem was that I had moved to London in late '67. I was doing really well on the track in London and Leicester, and was winning 10 mile races at 30 plus mph average. When I went to Edinburgh to take part in the training, I was having to take an overnight train then get to the track in the morning, or do the same by car. My performances were pretty rough, being conducted in a form of British Rail-lag. Also, Arthur Campbell (SCU supremo, ed.) and I didn’t get on well – Glasgow Communist used car dealer versus Edinburgh public school snotty kid..."

Four years a pro in the UK - what was the scene like?

"At once exhilarating, and other times depressing. Get up at 4.30am, collect like-minded other Pro's - Nigel Dean, for example, then drive three hours up the M1/M6 for a two hour criterium in the rain, then drive home and take part in the 30 mile tailback back to London, having won a prime, if you were lucky. Most of the Pro's were ex-National Champions, and I got an extra 2 mph from racing with them. They were also nice guys - off the bike. But then again, so was I?

"I had a bit of a short fuse; I lifted Brian Jolly off his bike during a race when we had a disagreement. Racing was never dull - even in the 275 miles London-Holyhead, there would be a mad dash to get in the early break. I remember Geoff Wiles and I sneaking off in the neutralised zone and getting 30 seconds up the road, before we looked at each other and said; 'Do we really want to do this?'"

"We all had the habit of getting clipped-in and leaning on each other, at the start of crits. One race, we all pushed off, leaving the man in the middle, Rhys Bateman, motionless and strapped-in, to majestically crash to the ground. He was still there when we came round at the end of the first lap.

And Sid Barras had one joke; he would put his jersey on and head for the door without shorts..."

You rode for Birds - what was the team like?"Initially, it was a single-sponsor deal with Terry Cronin of Bird's and Stan Rose of Alisian. We added Jack Kershaw and Tony Evans in 1976. The idea was that, if I didn't succeed in getting away, I would lead them out for the sprint. The only problem was that when I went back to look for them, they were right at the rear of the bunch.

"Team organisation wasn't brilliant, Stan was always late, so the last 10 miles to the HQ was pretty hectic - getting changed while the car was rocketing round bends was not easy. And, during the first London-Holyhead I rode, Stan did not make it to the second feed... words were exchanged.

"When we added Bill Horne and Rhys Bateman in 1977, Stan wanted a team photo literally five minutes before the start of race.People always wondered why we were all scowling at the camera..."

What was the Ron Kit set up like ?

"Pretty rubbish. I turned pro in August 1974, at the instigation of my friend Morgan (The Organ) Jackson. I only met Ron once, to sign the Contract. I collected my kit from his office manager, and just started racing and even got some places. Not a word from Ron. Then, at the end of the season he called Morgan and I and suggested we look for another couple of riders to make up a "proper" team for 1975. Then, silence, until a letter arrived in February 1975, informing me that I was no longer riding for Ron Kitching, and should return my bike forthwith.And I had turned down an approach from Holdsworth a week earlier!"

Why move to the States?

"It was a career move; I was a Sales Manager in the Telecoms Industry, and the opportunity came up to join a start-up in Los Angeles, which I had previously visited on a number of occasions - and loved the place! It was a great move, I had a super job, International Sales Manager, travelled frequently and made lots of $$$. Needless to say, I bought a Corvette

Did you race there and what was the scene like?

"I started racing after a year or so, when the job had settled down. As I had limited time for training, I concentrated on the track (Encino Velodrome) and criteriums; training with either the Griffith Park or Rosebowl chain gangs. I got pretty fit, and won a number of races, all by sneaking away at five laps to go, and holding them off. Amazingly, the field would let me go, until someone came along with an old copy of "Cycling", with me on the front cover... next race, I made a move, and six guys were instantly on my wheel!

"Still, I made quite a few $$$ in some of the bigger crits, including one on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, by deliberately going for Primes and ignoring the finish. I took a Prime off Andy Hampsten in one race...Racing in the US was not as sophisticated as Europe, the flag would go down, and it was like the Ben Hur Chariot Race. As long as I could stay upright, I would be in with a chance at the death. The crowds were pretty good, too."

Why come back to Europe?

"Again, a career decision. I went into Partnership with a Swiss Businessman, and moved to Geneva....and continued racing!"

What are the biggest changes you observe between cycling in the 60's and now?

"It would be the professionalism which exists within the sport; from the top down. "Sky epitomises this, but other teams are catching up. Sky, by the way, still need a good brain driving the Team Car, their tactical knowledge is poor. "But also, in the amateur ranks, even with the veterans, people prepare much better, watch their diet, adopt new training methods, and generally take racing much more seriously. "And the equipment is in another world..."

Which amateur performance are you most proud of?

"It has to be the 1966 Scottish Milk Race, where I finished second, riding for the East of Scotland Team - which disintegrated after the second day - leaving me alone being attacked constantly by the Scottish Team with no love lost between Glasgow (them) and Edinburgh (me). A bit of nifty bargaining by Jocky (who else) resulted in my having the services of the North of England Team..."


And among the pros?

"Not my one win, in 1975, (Morecambe-Hull) but the points prize and seventh overall in the Circuit du Port de Dunkerque in 1976. I was in a long two-up break with Willy de Geest [then riding for Brooklyn], was caught then bridged across to the next break in the last 10 km - needless to say I was not well up in the Sprint, but had done enough for the points. The "Voix du Nord" wrote that I was built like a Breton Manor House, and had a style like a coal miner.... Humph!"

Looking back, what would you do differently?

"Difficult one, that. I've had a good cycling career, but also a good business one, too. Sometimes think I should have tried my luck in France when I was 21, but then I had a University Degree to finish, and pressure from my family to continue my studies and start a career. My business career has taken me to live and work in the USA, Switzerland and France, and I've thus had to opportunity to race there, as well. Maybe the only cycling thing I should have done better was work on my pursuiting; I knew I had potential there, but never trained properly for it."


2014 Articles

09/12/2014 - 
02/12/2014 - 
23/11/2014 - 
20/01/2014 - 
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