SOUTH ELMSALL SOCIAL CYCLING CLUB
Elmsall Road Club was born from a number of cyclists that had previously enjoyed membership with South Elmsall Social Cycling Club (SESCC). Unfortunately SESCC ceased to exist as a club in early 2015 after over 70 years of cycling history in the town. Below is some of the clubs history written by Barry Dawson, the son of Algy Dawson, one of the clubs founding members.
The South Elmsall Social Cycling Club was formed in February 1934, prior to this time the cyclists in the South Elmsall area had ridden about in small groups often meeting up for lunch and most certainly in the evening at one of the favourite hostelries surrounding the South Elmsall area. Quite often after a Sunday cycle ride the groups would meet at the Annie's Arms in Campsall to finish the day off.
Two of the main stalwarts who laid the groundwork for the formation of the club were Johnny Woodward and Algy Dawson. Algy along with his sister Hilda and elder brother Frank formed the South Elmsall contingent. Johnny brought with him cyclists from the Hemsworth and South Kirkby area.
The first official meeting was planned for February 1934 and took place at the Old Toll Bar cafe just outside Askern. As was usual on a typical Sunday the cyclists had been out for a ride before convening at the Toll Bar for tea. According to the records 22 people turned up for the first official meeting and among them were Johnny Woodward, Ernie Butler, Joe Torr, and Frank Dawson. Not at the meeting that day because of an injured foot was Algy Dawson so on a cold winters day in February 1934 the South Elmsall Social Cycling Club came into being.
By the end of 1934 the club boasted over 80 members, it was affiliated to the NCU Yorkshire district and remained in the Yorkshire district until after WW2.
The club started organizing monthly dances at Burgwallis church hall and the annual dinner dance the first one of which took place in Thurnscoe. Though primarily a Social Cycling Club members did take part in TTs bearing in mind that it was an offence in those dark days to cycle furiously so everything had to be done on the quiet. Riders would turn up at a given point and set off at intervals to another given point not dressed in bright club kits like we do today but in all black lightweight jackets and trousers. In 1937 the club organized the first South Elmsall to Goole and back TT under the title of The Goole Record attempt. Algy Dawson set the original record at just over 2hrs 45mins on his new Carlton Flyer, this bike incidentally is now being preserved by the Bygone Bikes club. Ken Scott is the current holder at around 2hrs 9mins and lucky for Ken this record cannot be bettered unless someone can run very quickly over the footbridge at Skellow.
In 1939 with war brewing in Europe some members of the SESCC decided to take a cycling holiday to South Wales the group including Johnny Woodward, Ernie Butler and several others with Joe Torr and Algy Dawson sharing a tandem got as far as Rugby when the announcement was made that Britain was at war with Germany, being patriots the group immediately turned round and headed for home. As with many organisations the war years proved costly for cycling and the SESCC lost several members during the war but the older members kept the club running and all members who joined the forces were given honorary membership for the duration.
In the late 1940s the club membership swelled to well over 100 the social side of the club resumed with runs taking place every weekend thoughout the year. Barry Dawson was born in April 1947 and was made a member the following January and have been a member ever since right up to the disbanding of the club in 2015. Barry's first rides out with the club was confined to a kiddie seat behind his dad but in 1950 Algy converted his tandem by putting a specially converted triple ring on the back with a chain running up to another bottom bracket halfway up the seat tube. Barry could then help with the peddling. Algy & Barry were a regular sight on club runs with the bracket getting lower as his legs grew longer until about 1953 when he could reach the peddles with only wooden blocks on the peddles.
Club runs in the late 40s and early 50s regularly had 80 plus turnouts and we also had a change of management the secretary was Dennis Fisher and the club captain was Alfie Pickersgill. On the club runs these two ruled with an iron fist. Alfie and Dennis would sit at the front all day at the standard club run pace of 10 mph, woe betide anyone who rode past them and any miscreants were put in the black book and brought in front of the committee. At that time the club also had an active Ladies section which because of the amount of riders on Sundays normally did a separate ride but always met with the main body of the club at the tea stop. Topsy Adams, Tats wife, was ladies captain at this time. The early 50s brought an influx of younger members , the Lowe brothers Alan,Eddie and Dennis, Aaron their father was a good club cyclist, the club also had a young chap called Ken Scott join as well along with such people as Jeff Micklefield, Colin Clayton, Derek Snowden, Johnny Ainge and Tony Hemingway. The club also had some good young ladies join as well Sylvia Annekin later to become Sylvia Scott and June Sykes, Laxton as she was to become.
The club had moved on and now organised a weekly 10 mile TT as well as the monthly Goole Record attempt in the summer months , both events starting and finishing at the 30 mph signs down the common end outside the firework factory. The course for the original 10mile TT went from the common end through Moorhouse onto the Wakefield road and dead turned between Upton crossroads and Royd Moor but due to an unfortunate accident involving one of the Hewitt brothers on the bends at Moorhouse the 10mile TTs were suspended until a new course could be found. The following year the 10mile TTs resumed but now on the famous Hampole course starting on the old railway bridge just on the Hampole side of the Red House and dead turning at the top of Royd moor at the lay-by, famous of course because of a young Wayne Randall making a statement to Cycling weekly (or Cycling as it was then) about how fast the course was and that a one legged man should be able to do a 23 on there.
The late 50s early 60s saw another influx of youngsters joining the club, Graham Lawrence and Brian Riley were two notables. Other classmates of Barry from Westfield Lane school joined the club including Clive Phillips and Mervyn Wright, then Clives cousin Stuart Baines and his little brother Graham and of course the one and only Peter Stirk joined in 1964.
Over the years the club has organised various open events, the open 25 mile TT, Road Races and Cyclo Cross at Grimethorpe Dell. In the 50s the club got heavily involved in the cyclo cross scene and we in fact had a team bus long before the professional teams thought of it, the first time Eddie and Alan Lowe and Ken Scott rode the 3 Peaks event we organised a bus trip to support them this proved so popular that for the next few years the South Elmsall team bus was regular fixture at Cyclo Cross events.
Club Dinners and prize presentations used to take place on the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday and over the years the club had some famous cyclists as the guest of honour the most notable being Beryl Burton, Tommy Simpson and Billy Holmes. The club has also produced some good riders of their own including Brian Beardsley, Jill Reames, Margaret Allen, Dean Norton and Allan Crookes who all went on to find fame after starting with the SESCC but the one constant throughout the clubs history from 1934 until his death in 2005, 4 weeks short of his 95th birthday was Algy Dawson. If anyone had any problems with their bikes it was always Algy they turned to for help from building wheels to building bikes, Algy was the man to turn to. Over the years with the club he has been Chairman, permanent committee member and club timekeeper he also taught many of the clubs youngsters the art of wheel building and turned out on club runs with a full tool kit and spares. The other thing about the SESCC was that from its formation in 1934 til its demise in 2015 there was always a Dawson on the membership list in the early part of this century there were actually four generations of Dawson's in the club.
This picture, courtesy of Steve Scott, shows an SESCC race skin suit the Steve used in the late 70's to early 80's.