Racing History 


The first report of races promoted by F.W.C.C. appeared in the ‘Northern Echo’ in 1929 . The races were the Club’s 10 mile T.T. and the 25 mile T.T. and the prize presentations took place at the first Club dinner. The results were:-

The first man home was C. J. Edmenson with fellow cyclists J. Fall and R. Lowe in 6th and 7th positions. The Auckland & County Chronicle remarked on C.J. Edmenson ‘who showed remarkable stamina and adaptability in negotiating fences and ploughed land, over which the cyclists had to carry their machines’

In the 1933 Rules the 10 mile T.T. had been dropped and the two events for the year were the 25 mile T.T. and a speed-judging competition. Archie Walton still has the medal he won for the 25 T.T. in 1938 with a time of 1-08-06.
A certificate was presented to Herbert Stanley Elleanor for a Reliability Tourist Trial in September 1935 when he completed 105 miles in 7 hours , with full touring equipment, between Ferryhill -Knaresborough - Ferryhill. (N.B. The name on the certificate is incorrect).

The Accounts for 1938 record an Open 25 which attracted 100 entries, realising £10.

The Northallerton Standard ride appears in the 1939 Accounts with Allan Fairless, Tom Mathews and J. Metcalfe entering for 2/6 each. The Minutes for October 1951 state that J.W. Barker broke the record for this event with a time of 2.33.16. Racing events were well documented in the Club’s Minute Books, 1942 -82. The following list indicates when events first appeared in these Minutes.:-

1944 15 R.R. (Entry fee 2/-) 1945 100 in 7; 15 T.T. 1946 Club 17 (Entry fee 2/6);

Club B.A.R. proposed. 1947 Ferryhill/Northallerton tandem record set at 2h 24m . The attempt on a single failed. 1948 Hill Climb (Jubilee Bank, Willington. Entry fee 1/6 - 50% for prizes, 50% for Club). 1950 25 T.T. 72 gear; Hardriders event (12 hours over 150 miles of rough country) 1951 15 T.T. to replace 17 T.T. Course Rushyford - Harrowgate Hill. 1963 10 T.T.(course measured between Rushyford and Sedgefield). 1964 2 up T.T.; Australian Pursuit (26 miles); 2 day sponsored road race ( then annually to 1992).

1965 50 mile T.T.; Hill Climb (Kildale Court Moor) . 1971 Royal Oak R.R. 1975 Open 30 T.T. 1977 Sadberge Criteriums. 1979 4 up T.T. 1986 Darlington Criterium ; B.C.F. National Junior R.R. Championship.

1992 Teesdale Mountain T.T. 2001 T.C.A. SPOCO 23 sporting course T.T.

In 1947 and 1949 Bob Edmenson and J.W. Barker were presented with certificates for the tandem ride between Ferryhill and Northallerton, the fastest ride being in September 1949 with a time of 2h 22m 27s.

The Hardriders 150 in 12 hours appears in the Minutes from 1950 to 1953.

Bob Edmenson’s certificate for 1 July 1951details the course ridden viz. Ferryhill- West Witton- Hexham- Carlisle-Penrith- Brough- Barnard Castle- Ferryhill. N.B. West Witton should be Whittonstall.

The B.C.F. National Junior Road Race Championship was held at Spennymoor on 24 August 1986.

It was sponsored by Sedgefield District Council, promoted by F.W.C.C. and lasted approximately three hours. The event H.Q. was Spennymoor Leisure Centre and prizes were: 1st - Gold medal and Championship jersey, 2nd - Silver medal , clothing, tyres and money, 3rd - Bronze medal.

In the Club’s early days grass tracks would have been used for racing, but as road racing became more popular members went along to other local clubs and rode in their events,such as Stockton/Yarm, Croft/Northallerton, Crathorne/Leake. Local courses were also used, usually based around Sedgefield, Sadberge and West Auckland. Hill Climbs were held, at first on the Jubilee Bank, near Willington and latterly The Kildale Court Moor. Before the advent of mobile phones, field telephones (and sometimes flags) were used for communications between officials during hill climb events. When only one watch was available, it went to the finish, where a get-ready flag signal to the starter followed by a 5 second countdown to a dropped flag, signalled the launch of the rider

Affluence in 1961 meant two watches could be used!

Sports Meetings/Carnivals

For 30 years the summer months of June, July and August generated a carnival spirit in Club events. In July 1943 the F.W.C.C. decided ‘ to assist the{Ferryhill} Parish Council Sports Committee to run their sports meeting’. In spite of recording a loss of £3.15.0., the Parish Council regarded this as ‘satisfactory in view of the weather’.

The Club helped the Ferryhill War Aid by organising a sports meeting at Mainsforth on Bank Holiday Monday the following year. Track events included were half mile Novice handicap; half mile Open; quarter mile Open; Australian Pursuit; Schoolboys’ Relay and five miles Scratch. From 1945 the cycling events for the Dean & Chapter Welfare sports meetings were organised by F.W.C.C. until 1952, when the events made a big loss.Refunds had earlier been made to riders for cancelled rides in 1951. Before these disasters the meetings must have been a popular attraction, since accommodation was provided in the Miners’ Hostel for visiting competitors. Nothing more is recorded in the Minutes until 1968 when the Ferryhill Carnival, organised by Ferryhill Youth Centre, made a profit of £149.16.6. The races in 1969 were 440yds, 880yds, 3 miles Devil take the Hindmost, 3 miles Point to Point, Schoolboys’ and 1000yds Scratch. The last of these summer meetings seems to have been in 1975 when F.W.C.C. organised 3 meetings - Grass Track at Ferryhill’s Dean Bank Recreation Ground, Carnival Road Race in Bishopton - Sedgefield area and a Hill Climb (Ferryhill Station to the Market Place) over 2 days. These 3 meetings attracted many riders from local and Yorkshire clubs.

2 Day Events, 1964 - 1992

Not content with organising Sports meetings/Carnivals in the summer months F.W.C.C. also promoted a 2 day road race in the month of May, for 29 years. A newspaper report described it as “a first-class fixture for riders intending to ride or are reserves for the ‘Tour of Britain’ race”.

Beginning in April 1964, the first H.Q. was next to the West Auckland coal washery. 1978, saw the venue moved to Sedgefield and in 1988 the H.Q.was at the Ferryhill Leisure Centre

The first stage ( a road race of 67 miles) started on the A688, one mile south west of West Auckland then Staindrop - Ingleton - Summerhouse - Legs Cross - West Auckland . The second stage (a Time Trial of 12 miles) started at the West Auckland turn and went out to Burtree Junction and Royal Oak.The third stage ( a road race of 62 miles) started half a mile north of West Auckland and thence to Morning Close - Woodlands - Folly Top - Staindrop - Evenwood Gate - West Auckland. The usual number of riders was between 45 and 50, until the 1980s when there were 60 - 70 competitors. A newspaper report on the 1st event recorded:-

“Ferryhill Wheelers’ British international rider George Bennett won the first 2 day event staged by the Ferryhill club over the weekend. He also won the King of the Mountains title”. Other riders attracted to the event were the ‘Tour of Britain’ winners - Peter Chisman and Arthur Metcalfe. Also, providing a little international flavour, a Spanish rider Valentin de Garay from the Ciclista Zaragosana Club, plus teams from Tyneside, Yorkshire and Durham. In later years teams came from Manchester, Cleveleys, Kent Valley, Hull, Coventry, Leeds, Merseyside and in 1982, a lone rider, Paul Campbell from Noarlunga A.C.C.(Australia).

Prizes were presented at all the 2 day events. Under the sponsorship of the second of the 2 day events, Gallaher’s Ltd. presented a silver cigarette casket to the winner and other prizes,exceeding £90. A variety of prizes could also include vacuum flasks, tubulars and subscriptions to ‘Sporting Cyclist’ or ‘International Cycling Sport’. The Burn Trophy was donated by Mr. Harry Burn in 1971 and presented annually to the winner. When the course was moved to Sedgefield in 1978, the local Hope Inn gave a tankard to be presented annually to the overall winner. The 1960s and 1970s were busy years for the Club and riders, involved as they were in organising Sports meetings/Carnivals and 2 day events , they still ran their own local events as can be seen from the 1964 events printed below.


For a calendar of racing events to be successful, training and keep-fit sessions are essential parts of club activities. Club runs were always on the agenda,divided into two sections - social and racing - and were decided at Club meetings between April and October. Apart from the 4 sets of rollers acquired in the 1940s, the first efforts at organised training came in 1948 when the Club approached Chilton Cricket Club for the use of their field. Fit class but This was refused but Ferryhill’s Dean and Chapter Welfare gave permission for the Club to use the perimeter of their cricket ground for one night a week. In 1952 Mr. Pickering attempted to start a Keep fit class but no record of success appears in subsequent Minutes. In 1963, training runs with other clubs were recorded and riders met at Darlington. 1964 saw changes when Willington riders were met at Binchester Road Ends for evening ‘chain gangs’ Early season training moved on to the Aycliffe Trading Estate in 1970 and since then training bashes have alternated between the Trading Estate and the Gretna Green Inn on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

.The Club colours have always been royal blue and white, although in 1949 an attempt was made to change them to red and white- a move that was rejected. The first set of Club rules appeared in 1933 and the A.G.M. Minutes for 1966 record that a ‘Committee Meeting be called to comprise a set of Club rules’.In 1981 the Club changed one of the rules by deciding to accept second claim members. Again in 1981, the Club constitution appeared on the A.G.M. agenda with the Club accepting a constitution that had changed very little from the previous one. Other racing snippets from the Minutes include: ‘Feeding to be organised for 100 miles races’ (1950); ‘the ban on sprints and tubulars is removed and it is now in order to use any type in any club event’ (1956 A.G.M.); new body numbers were bought with F.W.C.C. printed on them in accordance with R.T.T.C. ruling (1980 A.G.M.)

Newspaper cuttings headlines give a good indication of the Club’s fortunes,

the best years from 1957 - 1969 and part of the 1980s. Headlines such as ‘Ferryhill Wheelers make their mark’ (1957); ‘Ferryhill cyclists setting the pace’ and ‘Ferryhill Wheelers best ever season’ (1961); ‘Ferryhill race brings Tour of Britain stars’ (1965);

‘Ferryhill Wheelers land double’ (1967) and ‘One of the best (years) the Club has had’(1983) are but a few of the accolades.