Paul Bennett Memorial 25 mile TT

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.

paul bennett
Paul Bennett in National 25, 1964

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.)

Wheel Carrier

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.


1Tejvan PettingerSri Chinmoy Cycling Team00:53:42
2Luke ClarkeTMG Horizon Cycling Team00:54:45
3Ross ClarkeTMG Horizon Cycling Team00:55:54
4Matthew BondKenton RC00:57:32
5John LaceyHemel Hempstead CC00:57:43
6Adam BidwellKingston Wheelers CC00:58:05
7Peter OliverFairly United Cycling Team00:58:13
8Mark AvilA5 Rangers CC00:58:30
9Richard BerryTwickenham CC00:58:49
10Paul DemicoliBanbury Star CC00:59:13
11Tony MayTMG Horizon Cycling Team00:59:14
12Mike LogueFairly United Cycling Team01:00:16
13Darren PowellTMG Horizon Cycling Team01:00:44
14Trevor HookTeam Milton Keynes01:01:16
15Ian MarshallBicester Millennium CC01:01:24
16Michael ParkerTavistock Whs CC01:01:32
17Thomas DoranHemel Hempstead CC01:01:37
18Carl AdamsSpirit Racing Team01:01:52
19Steve JonesHemel Hempstead CC01:01:58
20Richard BoleyTMG Horizon Cycling Team01:02:17
21Joshua VindenTeam Milton Keynes01:03:05
22Jody ConibearHemel Hempstead CC01:03:33
22Andrew BradleyHemel Hempstead CC01:03:33
24Mick AtkinsonTeam Milton Keynes01:03:48
25Anthony NewlandBossard Whs01:03:51
26Scott TaylorAmersham Road Cycling Club01:04:34
27David PhillipsOld Portlians CC01:04:51
28Paul WoodhamBossard Whs01:06:25
29Paul DyettBossard Whs01:07:48
30Paul RileyHitchin Nomads CC01:09:01
31Bernard LambHemel Hempstead CC01:12:14
32Trevor WatsonBossard Whs01:13:50
33Annette LaceyHemel Hempstead CC01:14:37
34Thomas EvansWelland Valley Whs01:16:54
35John PickChronos RT01:27:00
36Nigel GoffinHemel Hempstead CC01:27:50

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”

  1. Dear Tejvan,

    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.

    Kindest regards,

    Chris, Pauline and Mark.

  2. Thanks, you’re welcome. It was perhaps appropriate an event to honour Paul “Porky” Bennett was won by a stick insect thin hill climber 🙂

  3. 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

  4. 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.


Leave a Comment