Today was the Paul Bennett Memorial 25 mile TT organised by Hemel Hempstead CC on the F13/25 (A41) from Ambrosden towards Aylesbury. I train near these roads quite frequently – not on the A41, but the lanes surrounding it. I must go through Ambrosden 2-3 times a week.
Paul Bennett was a timetriallist from around this area who raced for many years. Amongst other things he broke the UK competition record for 25 miles in 1965 with a time of 53.31. The record took over half a minute off the previous record by M.J.V. Burrow and he became the first man under 54 minutes. By coincidence my time today was fairly close, just a bit slower – a time of 53.42 Of course times between the 1960s and 2010s are not comparable given modern technology. For point of reference the current 25 mile record is 45.43 (Matt Bottrill).
According to Cycling Weekly Paul ‘Porky’ Bennett had a lay off from cycling in the 1970s, but made a come back in 1979, initially weighing 18 stone – but still managing to beat many younger, lighter riders even on hilly courses.
With a HQ in Ambrosden village hall, I decided to ride out to the event – just 13 miles. It would be a good warm-up, save on petrol and mean I could leave the car in the drive. It’s a shame we don’t cycle to more events. These days we travel further and the car is pretty convenient for carrying stuff – especially when its raining. But, back in the day when people didn’t have cars, the riders thought nothing of cycling 100 miles on Sat, sleeping in a hedge – then getting up next morning racing 25 miles, and finally cycling another 100 miles to get home. “Try telling that to young people nowadays… “(Que: Monty Python and Four Yorkshireman.)
The big drawback of cycling to a race is the fear of punctures especially on light racing tubulars. I could have done with one of these wheel carriers – that’s a real throwback to the 1960s.
As it was, I wavered on waking up in the morning. There was a prolonged drizzly and the morning was much darker and damper than the weather forecast had predicted. Still I got on my bike and hoped for the best. I left it a little late getting to the HQ with barely enough time to pin on number and get to start. At least I didn’t need to worry about warming up on the turbo.
Although I like cycling in this part of the world, racing up the A41 isn’t the most memorable location for a cycle race. It’s mostly flat single carriageway – though to be fair the weather was so grim it would have been tough anywhere. But, the course is fairly straightforward and you can get into a good rhythm. The road surface is mostly OK, though there are a lot more potholes than the last time I was on here. There’s also a new roundabout I hadn’t seen before.
Unfortunately, my power meter was not working, as it would have been interesting to see (since last Sunday’s big drop off in power after racing Sat). Riding on feel, I felt better than last Sun morning, but not as good as last Saturday afternoon.
I was probably hoping for a faster time, but it just isn’t a quick course, and it was good enough for 1st place ahead of Luke and Ross Clarke. 1st lady, I think, was Jody Conibear Hemel Hempstead CC. The course could be best described as a ‘very fair test’, an ‘honest test’. No gift hills or dual carriageway buzz on here at 8am. On getting back to the HQ, I was damp and starting to get cold (so much for mid-summer…) I don’t usually drink tea, but really enjoyed getting a mug of hot liquid to warm the insides.
Thanks to Hemel Hempstead for organising, and to Paul Bennett’s family for generously sponsoring the event. It was nice to have quick chat after the race.
|1||Tejvan Pettinger||Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team||00:53:42|
|2||Luke Clarke||TMG Horizon Cycling Team||00:54:45|
|3||Ross Clarke||TMG Horizon Cycling Team||00:55:54|
|4||Matthew Bond||Kenton RC||00:57:32|
|5||John Lacey||Hemel Hempstead CC||00:57:43|
|6||Adam Bidwell||Kingston Wheelers CC||00:58:05|
|7||Peter Oliver||Fairly United Cycling Team||00:58:13|
|8||Mark Avil||A5 Rangers CC||00:58:30|
|9||Richard Berry||Twickenham CC||00:58:49|
|10||Paul Demicoli||Banbury Star CC||00:59:13|
|11||Tony May||TMG Horizon Cycling Team||00:59:14|
|12||Mike Logue||Fairly United Cycling Team||01:00:16|
|13||Darren Powell||TMG Horizon Cycling Team||01:00:44|
|14||Trevor Hook||Team Milton Keynes||01:01:16|
|15||Ian Marshall||Bicester Millennium CC||01:01:24|
|16||Michael Parker||Tavistock Whs CC||01:01:32|
|17||Thomas Doran||Hemel Hempstead CC||01:01:37|
|18||Carl Adams||Spirit Racing Team||01:01:52|
|19||Steve Jones||Hemel Hempstead CC||01:01:58|
|20||Richard Boley||TMG Horizon Cycling Team||01:02:17|
|21||Joshua Vinden||Team Milton Keynes||01:03:05|
|22||Jody Conibear||Hemel Hempstead CC||01:03:33|
|22||Andrew Bradley||Hemel Hempstead CC||01:03:33|
|24||Mick Atkinson||Team Milton Keynes||01:03:48|
|25||Anthony Newland||Bossard Whs||01:03:51|
|26||Scott Taylor||Amersham Road Cycling Club||01:04:34|
|27||David Phillips||Old Portlians CC||01:04:51|
|28||Paul Woodham||Bossard Whs||01:06:25|
|29||Paul Dyett||Bossard Whs||01:07:48|
|30||Paul Riley||Hitchin Nomads CC||01:09:01|
|31||Bernard Lamb||Hemel Hempstead CC||01:12:14|
|32||Trevor Watson||Bossard Whs||01:13:50|
|33||Annette Lacey||Hemel Hempstead CC||01:14:37|
|34||Thomas Evans||Welland Valley Whs||01:16:54|
|35||John Pick||Chronos RT||01:27:00|
|36||Nigel Goffin||Hemel Hempstead CC||01:27:50|
Saturday and a tale of woe
Yesterday, I was supposed to be at the National 50 in Manchester, but my entry didn’t work out. Instead I entered a 50 on the E2, not realising it was for Vets only. I’m nearly there (38), but I shouldn’t be too eager to join the ranks of the Vets prematurely. Still the organiser kindly told me I was ineligible in good time to enter another. It was a question of third time lucky as I entered the Hemel Hempstead 10 on the F11/10 course near Aston Clinton. I’m not a great fan of the course, but it is close to Oxford so seemed a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, just as I arrived, the organiser informed everyone the race had been cancelled due to an accident (not too serious from what I have heard).
Saturday was just not to be.
4 thoughts on “Paul Bennett Memorial 25 mile TT”
Thanks for your lovely comments regarding Paul it was an absolute pleasure reading your article.
It was a very emotional day for us yesterday and w would as a family like to extend our thanks to you regarding your blog and congratulations on the win and beating the Clarke brothers 🙂
We will be sponsoring the event the same again next year and we hope as a family you will participate.
Chris, Pauline and Mark.
Thanks, you’re welcome. It was perhaps appropriate an event to honour Paul “Porky” Bennett was won by a stick insect thin hill climber 🙂
Yes a very nice write up .
I think I`ve still got some sprint carriers somewhere around , probably last used in the late 70`s
I really enjoyed the event and hadn`t expected to go so fast . I rode on the tandem that Paul and Nikki set many age records that still stand . So I know the tandem we rode is capable of a 51 minute 25 and a 19 minute 10 !
Unfortunately Nikki was very ill last July/aug and the Dr`s have said it will take 2.5 yrs to get her health back
Nikki really wanted to ride this event in Pauls memory even though she is still quite weak – her first event with a pacemaker and mine on a tandem … a good day out (not sure Nikki`s cockatiel was happy at being woken at 4.45 though
Paul Bennett’s 25 mile time of 53m 31s is heroic, on a road bike, no aero trickery… must have been well over 400 watts for the duration.
I wonder sometimes if TT results should be split into standard road bike and modified/aerobars, TT bikes etc for comparison.